Dentist Hired Hit Men to Kill His Ex-Brother-in-Law

Charles Adelson found guilty in 2014 Tallahassee slaying
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2022 12:29 AM CDT
Updated Nov 7, 2023 1:30 AM CST
Florida Dentist Charged With Hiring Hit Men to Kill His Ex-Brother-in-Law
This photo provided by Broward County Sheriff’s Office shows Charles Adelson. Adelson, a Florida dentist has been arrested on charges that he hired hit men eight years ago to kill his sister’s ex-husband, a prominent law professor.   (Broward County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
UPDATE Nov 7, 2023 1:30 AM CST

A Florida dentist was on Monday convicted in the 2014 murder-for-hire death of his former brother-in-law. Charles Adelson was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder, WPBF reports. Two other people involved in the plot—Adelson's ex-girlfriend and the father of her two children—are currently serving life sentences and a third, a friend of the other two, made a plea deal and is serving 19 years on a second-degree murder conviction. The New York Times reports Adelson "likely" faces a life sentence himself.

Apr 22, 2022 12:29 AM CDT

A Florida dentist was arrested Thursday on charges that he hired hit men eight years ago to kill his sister's ex-husband, a prominent law professor, so she could move back to the Fort Lauderdale area from Tallahassee with her two children. Charles Adelson, 45, was being held Thursday without bond at the Broward County jail on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder after being arrested at his home by US marshals, the AP reports. His attorney said Thursday he is innocent. Adelson and other members of his family have long been cited by prosecutors and investigators as potential suspects in the July 18, 2014, killing of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel by two men in broad daylight outside his Tallahassee home. Markel, 41, had been married to Wendi Adelson, who had been unable to return to South Florida because Markel had joint custody of their young children after a highly contentious divorce.

Leon County State Attorney Jack Campbell said in a statement that Adelson was indicted by a grand jury after technicians were able to enhance the sound on an April 2016 video recording made secretly of him talking to a former girlfriend and employee, Katherine Magbanua. She was charged six months later with organizing the killing. Adelson had been under surveillance. "This recording includes statements by Charles Adelson which can be heard clearly for the first time," Campbell said. Magbanua is scheduled to be retried next month on a first-degree murder charge after a jury hung in 2019. David Markus, Adelson's attorney, said his client is innocent and tied the arrest to Magbanua's retrial.

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Prosecutors say Magbanua hired Sigfredo Garcia, the father of her two children, to commit the murder and that he enlisted the help of his childhood friend, Luis Rivera. Prosecutors said the two men drove from South Florida to Tallahassee to execute the plan, stalking Markel on the morning of the shooting as he dropped off his children at day care and stopped at the gym. When Markel returned home, Garcia shot him as he sat in his car talking on his cellphone. Garcia is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder in 2019. Rivera is serving a 19-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for testifying against Garcia and Magbanua. (Click for more on the recorded exchange between Magbanua and Adelson.)

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