TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a dramatic turn of events, a South Florida dentist currently on trial for the murder of his ex-brother-in-law testified on Friday that he had never disclosed being a victim of extortion to authorities. Charlie Adelson, the defendant, claimed that he did not reveal the truth because he was never asked about it. Prosecutors, on the other hand, argue that Adelson orchestrated the 2014 murder-for-hire plot against Daniel Markel, a prominent Florida State University law professor.
According to the prosecution, Adelson allegedly paid for Markel’s murder after his sister, Wendi, lost a bitter custody battle. Adelson, however, vehemently denies these accusations, asserting that investigators misunderstood the situation. Adelson maintained that he refrained from speaking out about his ex-girlfriend’s friends being the killers because he genuinely believed his life was at risk.
During questioning by his lawyer, Adelson admitted that he had paid the killers a sum of money after the murder. Nevertheless, he claimed that it was solely due to threats made against him. Adelson’s ex-girlfriend, Katherine Magbanua, who was connected to the killers, visited his home shortly after the crime. She confessed to Adelson that her friends had killed Markel and demanded more than $300,000 within 48 hours, warning that his life was in danger. Despite this, Adelson insists that he did not believe Magbanua was orchestrating the extortion, but rather protecting him from the killers. He viewed the monthly payments he made to her as a form of life insurance.
Prosecutor Georgia Cappleman, however, sought to undermine Adelson’s defense. Cappleman questioned the legitimacy of Adelson’s claims, highlighting inconsistencies in his story. She pointed out that Adelson willingly gave Magbanua $138,000 in cash, spent the night with her, and even continued to give her expensive gifts and financial support after they broke up. Cappleman sarcastically questioned whether extortionists would typically send a girlfriend to collect their money, casting doubt on Adelson’s version of events.
Furthermore, Cappleman revealed that Adelson had maintained a sexual relationship with Magbanua months after the murder and had expressed love for her through text messages. These revelations raised doubts about Adelson’s belief that Magbanua was solely protecting him. The prosecutor also questioned why Adelson did not disclose the truth about the extortion, even when he was aware of Magbanua’s arrest and subsequent trial.
Adelson is facing charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation of killing. The trial has shed light on the complex dynamics between Adelson, Magbanua, and the killers. It has been revealed that Markel and Wendi Adelson were divorced and embroiled in a custody battle, with Wendi desiring to move to South Florida to be nearer to her family. Adelson’s family had reportedly offered Markel $1 million to relocate, but he refused. Adelson claims that he informed Magbanua about the proposal and the contentious custody battle, leading her to discuss it with Sigfredo Garcia, the father of her children, who is accused of committing the murder. Garcia, along with his childhood friend Luis Rivera, who also participated in the crime, has already been convicted.
As the trial nears its end, both the defense and prosecution will present their closing arguments on Monday before the jury begins deliberations. The outcome of this high-profile case will ultimately determine whether Adelson is found guilty or innocent of his ex-brother-in-law’s murder.