Ex-Wife of Slain Law Professor Dan Markel Speaks Out

The ex-wife of slain law professor Dan Markel is speaking out about her husband’s death in a very unusual forum — a room full of writers and editors.

“It felt unfair that I couldn’t at least tell my own story, that the story got told for me,” said Wendi Adelson on her decision to break the silence around her former husband’s mysterious and gruesome death.

Markel, who was shot and killed in July 2014, was a prominent law professor at Florida State University who left behind his ex-wife and their two sons.

An arrest affidavit from the June 2 court hearing revealed that investigators believe that Markel’s death was a murder for hire and related to his divorce from his wife, Tallahassee Democrat reports. Charles and Donna Adelson, Markel’s brother- and mother-in-law, are also mentioned in the affidavit although the police has avoided identifying them as suspects.

This spring, Adelson decided to share what she went through after the murder of her ex-husband at the Writing Class Radio course in Miami. Her writing was repackaged into an episode and a follow-up of the class’s podcast, hosted by Miami writer Andrea Askovitz.

“I only found out this information when the police picked me up from a lunch date I was having with two girlfriends and insisted that I come with them back to the station and then interrogated me for eight straight hours — because it’s usually the ex-wife,” wrote Adelson for the “How are you really?” prompt.

Police arrested and charged suspect Sigfredo Garcia in connection with the murder in May 2016.

But that still wasn’t enough to keep Adelson quiet. Having lived with her parents for a year now, she wants people to know that she is tired of being treated with suspicion rather than compassion in the media. While the investigation on the causes of the murder is still ongoing, she revealed that she found it particularly painful to tell people she was Markel’s ex-wife and then see them lose some of their former sympathy.

“It feels sacrilegious these days even to suggest something less than heroic about my late husband because he was murdered,” said Adelson. “He died violently and young and likely at the hands of a professional killer. And the media had a field day in response.”

The affidavit reveals that Markel fought with the Adelson family about their decision to move their sons away to South Florida and filed documents asking that his mother-in-law not be allowed alone with her grandchildren.

Still, Adelson misses the life she had before becoming tangled up in Markel’s murder coverage. She rues having to give up teaching and being a commencement speaker at FSU, where she was also a legal professor, or taking her aging father on a trip to see the Machu Picchu.

In the same episode, Askovitz said that they were not the “Serial” podcast — their class focused on critiquing Adelson’s writing rather than examining or questioning her story.

“It was hard to not ask personal questions and it was hard to not ask detailed questions about the crime like who murdered her ex-husband and why,” she said. “Our job as editors is to give feedback on the writing, to tell her what hit us and what we want to know more about.”

Adelson said that although her kids are doing well and she began a one-year clerkship with the federal Eleventh Circuit, she is “not really okay” after her ex-husband’s murder.

“And I don’t get to complain that I didn’t do anything of those things because I am alive,” she wrote.

Contact Veronika Bondarenko at bondarenko@forward.com or on Twitter, @veronikabond.

Slain Law Professor Dan Markel’s Ex-Wife Wendi Adelson Speaks Out

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