Fla. dentist Charles Adelson accused of hiring hitman to kill sister’s ex-husband in 2014

A Florida dentist has been charged with orchestrating the shocking rubout of his sister’s ex-husband -to help her get custody of her two children, officials said.

Charles Adelson, 45, was being held Thursday in Broward County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder in the killing of Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel in 2014.

In a case that has gripped the Sunshine State for nearly a decade, Markel was ruthlessly shot dead in the garage of his Tallahassee home.

The Harvard graduate’s death came amid a ruthless divorce and custody war with his then-wife, Wendi Adelson, also a law professor at Florida State at the time.

Adelson, who is Wendi’s brother and a Fort Lauderdale dentist, was indicted Wednesday for hiring assassins to murder Markel amid the highly contentious divorce, Leon County prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the Adelsons tried unsuccessfully to force Markel to allow the estranged couple’s two children to move to South Florida with their mother.

Daniel Markel was a law professor at Florida State University along with his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson.
FSU College of Law

When those attempts failed, David Adelson had his then-girlfriend and dental office assistant Katherine Magbanua contacted a potential triggerman, prosecutors have claimed.

She floated the lethal plan to Sigfredo Garcia, a former boyfriend with whom she shared two children.

Garcia was convicted of murdering Markel along with an accomplice, Luis Rivera, in 2019. Garcia is serving a life sentence while Rivera received 19 years in exchange for testifying against his fellow gunman.

Magbuana’s initial prosecution ended with a mistrial and she is set to face a retrial next month.

A chart prepared by prosecutors shows the web of relationships the murder suspects have with family members of Dan Markel's ex-wife, whom he was engaged in a custody battle with.
A chart shows how the Adelson family, Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua allegedly collaborated to murder Daniel Markel.

Prosecutors said Adelson’s abrupt arrest was enabled by the recent enhancement of faint audio collected during an FBI recording of him speaking to his mother about the crime in 2016 at an Italian restaurant.

Markel’s family and supporters have long clamored for the Adelsons to face raps in the case, which has fascinated true crime buffs and been profiled on Dateline and 20/20.

“A major step toward justice,” read a post on a Facebook page dedicated to Markel, who wrote opinion pieces for the New York Times and Slate among other publications. “Kudos to law enforcement and prosecutors for their relentless dedication.”

Sigfredo Garcia
Sigfredo Garcia is currently serving a life sentence.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office
Katherine Magbanua
David Adelson allegedly used Katherine Magbanua to hire a hitman on Daniel Markel, according to prosecutors.
Leon County Sheriff’s Office

Adelson now faces first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit murder charges after being handcuffed at his home by U.S. Marshals.

His attorney ripped the charges, arguing that there was no compelling new evidence.

“Prosecutors have no new information that led to this arrest,” David Markus said. “The timing sure does stink, doesn’t it? On the eve of a long-awaited trial of (Magbanua), this move has the smell of desperation.”

With Post wires