Jury selection begins in Daniel Markel murder trial

South Florida residents charged in 2014 killing of FSU law professor

Katherine Magbanua (left), seated next to her lawyer, and Sigfredo Garcia are charged in the 2014 fatal shooting of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel.
Katherine Magbanua (left), seated next to her lawyer, and Sigfredo Garcia are charged in the 2014 fatal shooting of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of two South Florida residents charged in the 2014 shooting of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel.

Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Another man, Luis Rivera, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He is a key witness in the prosecution of Garcia and Magbanua.

Police said Garcia and Rivera traveled from South Florida to Tallahassee to kill Markel. 

A Tallahassee Police Department affidavit said Markel's death was the result of the 2013 contentious divorce from Wendi Adelson, a lawyer who has since relocated to South Florida.

Investigators learned that, at the time of the shooting, Adelson's brother, Charlie Adelson, was in a relationship with Magbanua, whom he regularly called. Garcia is the father of her two children, the affidavit said.

Markel had been involved in a bitter divorce with Wendi Adelson, who was also a law professor at FSU. She filed for divorce in 2012, and Markel later learned that she and their two children had moved to her parents' home in Coral Springs.

Wendi Adelson and Daniel Markel were in the midst of a bitter custody battle when the Florida State University law professor was fatally shot in July 2014.