Trial continues in murder-for-hire plot of FSU professor

Katherine Magbanua was denied bond Tuesday in Leon County.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Katherine Magbanua is on trial again for the murder of FSU law professor Daniel Markel in 2014 after the first case ended in a mistrial.

In the retrial that began Wednesday, Magbanua faces charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder in connection with Markel’s broad-daylight shooting in July 2014.

Magbanua, 31, was arrested by Davie police in October of 2016 on a charge of first-degree murder.

Markel was shot in the head as he sat in his car inside his Tallahassee garage on July 18, 2014.

Police said Sigfredo Garcia of Miami and Luis Rivera traveled from South Florida to Tallahassee to kill Markel in a murder-for-hire plot.

Garcia, the father of Magbanua’s two children, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in October of 2019. The same jury as Garcia’s deadlocked on a verdict for Magbanua. Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said Magbanua was a lynchpin for the murder-for-hire scheme.

Cappleman argued that Magbanua enlisted Garcia to take part in a hit financed by Markel’s in-laws.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of's DigiShorts.