Sigfredo Garcia, 37, and Katherine Magbanua, 35, stand trial in Leon County, Florida in the 2014 shooting death of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel, 41.
The victim was shot twice in the garage of his home on the morning of July 18, 2014, and he passed away the next day at a hospital.
Who did it? The alleged answer is messy and fraught, even by the standards of a typical murder case. Markel had had an ugly divorce from his ex-wife. Police have said that they think Magbanua was the link between at least one of Markel’s in-laws and the murder.
She used to date the brother of the victim’s wife, and cops said that she had begun receiving checks from the family’s dentistry business, according to The Tallahassee Democrat. She also has children with Garcia.
Luis Rivera pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Markel’s shooting death last year. He told cops that Magbanua helped set up the murder, and that she hired Garcia for the killing, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Garcia, in turn, allegedly recruited Rivera for backup.
Police believe the ex-wife’s brother and the mother possibly played a role in the plot. None of them have been charged, however. State Attorney Willie Meggs cited lack of evidence, saying that the allegation was speculation.
Rivera, who is already spending 12 years in prison for a federal racketeering case, is set to spend another seven years for the Markel murder. This February quote from Magbanua’s attorney Christopher DeCoste likely foreshadows how the defense will attack Rivera’s story at trial.
“The prosecution created a theory fit for a soap opera, built a case around that preposterous plot using the wholly unreliable word of a thug as mortar, and peddled it through the media without mentioning any of the massive inconsistencies,” he said, according to the Sentinel. “Before they turned Luis Rivera, a lifelong gangster, into their snitch, the threadbare circumstantial evidence wasn’t even enough to arrest Katie.”
[Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua via Broward County]