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Monday, February 4, 2019

The Dan Markel Murder-For-Hire Case

     Raised in Toronto Canada by well-to-do parents, Dan Markel graduated from Harvard University in 1995 with a degree in philosophy. Upon earning his undergraduate degree he studied political philosophy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and continued his studies at the University of Cambridge in England. In 2001 he graduated from Harvard University Law School.

      Dan Markel, after practicing law in Washington D.C., joined the teaching staff at Florida Statue University Law School in Tallahassee in 2005. A year later he married Wendi Adelson, a graduate of Brandeis University and the University of Miami Law School. After acquiring her law degree in 2005 Florida State University hired her to run their public outreach program. Markel and Adelson were married in 2006.

     In 2010 Markel, now a tenured associate professor making $193,000 a year, resided with his wife and their two young sons in the upscale Betton Hills community in Tallahassee. He had become a renowned author, teacher and scholar in the field of retributive justice, the study of punishment in proportion to the crime. He also published a popular academic law blog called, "PrawlsBlawg" that helped recent law graduates find careers in the field.

     In January 2012 Professor Markel's life took a turn for the worse when his wife Wendi blindsided him with the news she wanted a divorce. Moreover, she wanted to take their sons, ages three and five, with her to south Florida. This led to a bitter child custody battle. The divorce became final in September 2012.

      In 2012 Professor Markel became the target of derision on a blog called "Insidethelawschoolscam," a site devoted to the proposition that law schools, by promising applicants jobs in the field, were knowingly lying about the dwindling career opportunities in law. The followers of the blog were mostly recent law school graduates saddled with huge education debts and no prospects of finding positions in law.

     Visitors and contributors to "Insidethelawschoolscam" idolized a like-minded University of Colorado law professor named Paul Campos. Campos and his admirers believed that law schools, through false advertising and misrepresentation, were swindling students.

     "Insidethelawschoolscams" enthusiasts considered Professor Markel and his blog part of the problem. In defending his good name, Dan Markel began to engage his detractors by posting messages on the blog. In return, he received responses like this: "Do you have the empathy to compare the terror that goes through a 26-year-old's life when a student loan bill comes due and you can't pay it? When he can't even get a job at Walmart because the education you sold him under false pretenses is so worthless that it won't even advance his candidacy at retail? Now compare that terror, the terror of having your life and financial future pass before your eyes, to the minor annoyance you felt at having your "name" sullied. Get over yourself."

     Over time, name-calling on "Insidethelawschoolscam" turned to the posting of messages that caused Professor Markel to feel under threat of physical harm. He had become the face of the problem and the target of his detractors' wrath.

     Many of Professor Markel's FSU law students considered him abrasive, arrogant and unhelpful. They complained online that they couldn't find him in his office. When they did find him he was difficult to talk to.

     The year 2012 had been a tough one for Dan Markel. He had been through a bitter divorce, had developed enemies in the blog world and incurred the anger and frustration of some of his students. What had been a sweet life had turned sour.

     At eleven in the morning of July 18, 2014 Professor Markel pulled onto his driveway and into his garage while talking on his cellphone. The moment he stopped his vehicle a person who had followed him into the garage shot the 41-year-old in the head through the driver's side window. The killer drove off in a white or silver Toyota Prius-type vehicle.

     A Betton Hills neighbor heard the gun go off and called 911. When police and paramedics arrived at the scene Professor Markel was still alive. A few hours later he died at a nearby hospital.

     Homicide detectives believed that the killing was not a random murder. The killer had marked the professor for death and had carried out the murder plot.

     On May 25, 2016 detectives with the Hallandale Beach Police Department arrested 34-year-old Sigredo Garcia for Markel's murder. Officers booked Garcia into the Broward County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and possession of cocaine. Garcia had a criminal history that included strong arm robbery and burglary. A month later the authorities charged Luis Rivera with first-degree murder.

     According to a police spokesperson the murder of the law professor was being handled as a murder-for-hire case.

     In October 2016 police  arrested Katherine Magbanua, the mother of Garcia's two children, for her alleged role in facilitating the murder of the law professor. Investigators believed that Magbanua was the link between the mastermind in the case and the two hit men. Following numerous procedural delays, her murder trial was set for the summer of 2018. However, when of of Magbanua's attorneys fell ill the trial was postponed to the summer of 2019, five years after Professor Markel's death.



  1. None of us are perfect, although Dan Markel offered so much positive to so many people. Did he deserve to senselessly lose his life over some trivial disagreement or because of a law graduate not being able to timely find a position? If the murderer had no conscious in killing Dan, it seems he/she could have least given up on the murder plot by merely thinking of his two little sons who were going to be left behind without a loving and doting Father. So traumatic for these little innocent young boys that probably don't understand the meaning of death and will forever be impacted by having lost their one and only real Abba. Dan would have always been there for them. If this violent crime is ever solved and discovered to have been a contract killing, I pray not only the murderer, but all those involved, will be tried and convicted for first degree murder. This was truly a heinous act that begs for justice for Dan.

  2. This one is so simple and so obvious. I'll be glad when they get enough evidence for the arrest - and it will be two: the hirer and the hiree.

  3. Are you of the possible belief that the Tallahassee Police Dept. needs to be doing more investigative work on the Dan Markel homicide case away from Tallahassee and down further towards South Florida?

  4. His wife filed contempt sanctions against him during their very long divorce? Geez. Everyone should enlarge the photo recently released of the Prius that the killer drove. Look at the face of the driver. A passenger's face can also be seen.

  5. TPD should be comparing this crime to other similar AND unsolved crimes in the Tallahassee area. There could be SEVERAL.

    Another Tallahassee resident who's cause of death is still unknown had an INTRUDER; shortly after the death while family members were in town for funeral etc., who was dropped off (or drove up) in a "WHITE CAR" according to a neighbor. The intruder(s) escaped or left through a back door when/while the family member arrived home. (White car not in driveway when/while family member arrived home. Most likely intruder still in home ...as evidenced by particular circumstances. *Thus, the intruder was most likely dropped off...and picked up later.)

    Also, family members in town of the deceased that passed of "unknown causes" ...may have seen the car described in the Markel crime on Tharpe Street back in 2013. Thus, (shooter) may or may not be a resident of Tallahassee.

    What do ALL THREE crimes have in common??!!


    Dan Markel; being a lawyer, was not a resident of Frenchtown (subdivision in Tallahassee), BUT his children ATTENDED DAY CARE in FRENCHTOWN.

    For readers not familiar with Frenchtown ...these similarities may seem insignificant. But, to locals they should not. This is a high crime area. Recently invaded by gangs and drug crimes. Followed by increased homicides in that area for at least 3-4 years.

    Also, a few months after the death of the resident who died of unknown causes; possibly murder,... a triple homicide was committed down the street from this victim's home. Those murders have also gone UNSOLVED.

    By this time family members; in town for a funeral, had set up security cameras after their (three of more) break ins. The car seen on home security cameras at approximately 4 in the morning (10-15 minutes after triple homicide) looks very similar to the "silver or white prius" leaving the Markel crime scene. The car was seen almost nightly - same time - for almost 2 weeks after the triple murder....doing a slow drive by of the home of the recently deceased who's cause of death was unknown (and multiple recent break ins). (The body of this victim was NEVER examined, clothes never removed nor was an autopsy ever performed ...presumed "natural causes" by TPD and coroner because of age...middle aged.)

    Another high profile unsolved crime (murder) during this time was of a doctor's wife. The doctor worked in Thomasville Georgia but, lived in Tallahassee. It is being investigated as a domestic violence case, but it should also be noted that a neighbor did see an unfamiliar car the day of the murder in the neighborhood close to the home about the time of the crime (many hours after the doctor had left home) AND a neighbor testified they SAW THE WIFE ALIVE WALKING DOWN THE STREET ...AGAIN, several hours after the doctor had left their home.

    There has also been some talk/speculation that someone had a home key; after the crime, as evidenced by belongings being disturbed *AFTER the doctor was locked up.

    House keys were also missing/taken from thee home of the deceased who died of unknown causes. It is believed ...That's how the intruder(s) were able to gain access into the LOCKED home on MULTIPLE occasions ...following the resident's death.

    All FOUR crimes involved victims who contained recent court records and or Attorney involvement/knowledge to the deceased.

  6. Also,

    In addition to the similarities of the 3-4 unsolved homicide cases in Tallahassee at that time it should also be pointed out that Dan Markel lived approximately 0.1 miles from Winthrop Park ...just across the street from the Betton Hills neighborhood. Once a friendly and family oriented clean and crime free park area ...may not have been so at the time of his murder.

    Suspicious people noted along with suspicious activity. Again, a car was seen at Winthrop park possibly matching one of the two cars seen on Tharpe Street. *One of these cars matched the description seen leaving Dan Markel's home after the homicide.

    The two cars on Tharpe Street were seen in 2013 ....possible road rage. Blowing horns loudly ...no reason.

    Police asked residents/community if anyone saw Dan Markel in the area of Tharpe Street or Thomasville Road if he was involved in road rage with another car the day of or the day before his death????

    Could the same car seen in 2013 on Tharpe Street involved in road rage ...then parked at Winthrop Park (across the street from his home)and driver acting suspicious ...be one in the same??

  7. It is very possible the shooter is a non local drug dealer (and may even be in a borrowed or rented car).

    Could have been as simple as he spoke with or asked some drug dealer to ...move along or be more considerate in his activities.

    And, let's hope he wasn't working with the police to help solve a crime. *For many that too has not worked out well for witnesses and or informants ...recently....in Tallahassee.

  8. That ex-wife and her family are going down!

  9. Would somebody arrest an Adelson already!

    1. Try to be patient. That action will hopefully come one day. The State Attorney needs to be able to feel he can get a conviction. (Agreed, the public feels enough evidence is currently available to get convictions of several co-conspirators, including two or three members of the Adelson family and an ex-girlfriend of Wendi's brother). There is no statute of limitation to a murder charge. So, one or both of the hit men may begin to talk and let the police know who hired and likely paid them to kill Professor Dan Markel, we may ascertain more info during the upcoming trial of Garcia and Rivera, or one of the other guilty parties hiring the hit
      men may become so rattled causing them to screw up and give further indications of their guilt. I would like to see them all get life without any chance of parole and ultimately learn the two little sons of Dan Markel have been adopted by their paternal grandparents who will make every effort to love and raise them in the same manner as they raised Dan Markel. No doubt....if such a scenario happened, Dan's two sons would have their last name changed back to Markel and the oldest one would have his middle name given to him at birth by Dan back. I remain as anxious to see any guilty Adelson tried and convicted for this heartless, despicable
      and cold blooded murder of a fine gentleman,
      gifted legal scholar, wonderful friend to many and doting loving Father to Benjamin and Lincoln. Their forever missed and loving Abba.