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Woman Receives Life In Murder-For-Hire Plot To Kill Her Ex's Former Brother-In-Law

“She does think about Dan Markel every single day. She thinks about his kids every single day,” Katherine Magbanua's attorney said in court Friday before her sentence was handed down.

By Jill Sederstrom
Police handouts of Charlie Adelson and Katherine Magbanua

A Florida woman will spend the rest of her life behind bars for her role in the slaying of a Florida State University law professor.

Katherine Magbanua—a woman convicted of helping her ex-boyfriend allegedly arrange a hit on Dan Markel, his former brother-in-law—received a life sentence without the possibility of parole Friday for first-degree murder in Markel’s 2014 death, according to WCTV.

In addition, Magbanua, 38, received a 60-year sentence to be served consecutively for conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder.

Magbanua dabbed her face with a tissue as her sentence was read in court, but had no other visible reaction, according to Law & Crime.

Her attorney, Tara Kawass, read a message that the 38-year-old had for Markel’s family.

“She does think about Dan Markel every single day. She thinks about his kids every single day,” she said. “Justice is ongoing and has not been reached in this case. And she wants each and every person who had a hand in this … to be brought to justice.”

Magbanua continues to maintain her innocence, according to WTXL.

Before the sentence was handed down, Markel’s sister, Shelly Markel, also addressed the court to describe the devastating toll her brother’s death has had on the family.

“The order of our world has been cruelly reversed,” she said. “It makes me so angry.”

Markel, a university law professor, was gunned down July 18, 2014 at his Benton Hills home amid a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson.

Adelson’s brother, Charlie Adelson, is accused of enlisting Magbanua—his girlfriend at the time—to connect him to Sigfredo Garcia, the father of Magbanua’s children and the man convicted of carrying out the murder, as part of a murder-for-hire plot to get rid of Markel, Law & Crime reports.

Garcia and Magbanua were initially tried together, but while a jury convicted Garcia in 2019 they were unable to reach a verdict in Magbanua’s case. She was retried and convicted by a Leon County jury in May.

A police handout of Sigfredo Garcia

One of the prosecution’s key witnesses against her was a man named Luis Rivera, who served as the getaway driver of the car and quickly reached a plea deal with prosecutors shortly after his arrest in 2016, WCTV reports.

Charlie Adelson, who is still awaiting trial, was arrested in April for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder.

After the Magbanua’s sentence last week, attorneys Orin Snyder and Matt Benjamin provided a statement to Oxygen.com on behalf of Markel’s parents Ruth and Phil Markel.

“Dan Markel was brutally murdered more than eight years ago. Today’s sentencing of Katharine Magbanua marks another important step toward accountability and justice,” they said. “We are grateful for the efforts of law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office in advancing the criminal case against Charles Adelson and in continuing to pursue all those responsible for Dan’s murder.”

Also on Friday, Charlie Adelson’s attorneys filed a motion for his pre-trial release. A judge has yet to rule on the request.

Prosecutors are hoping he will go to trial next year.

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