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A dentist in Florida has been convicted of hiring hitmen to kill his former brother-in-law over a custody dispute with the dentist’s sister.
Charlie Adelson, 47, was found guilty on Monday of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and solicitation of first-degree murder, according to People Magazine. A jury deliberated for just three hours before finding him guilty, The Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Adelson reportedly mouthed the word “no” and lowered his head to the table after the first guilty verdict was read. He showed little reaction to the other verdicts.
Adelson was found guilty of hiring hitmen in 2014 to kill his former brother-in-law, Florida State law professor Dan Markel. Markel and Adelson’s sister, Wendi, were locked in a contentious child custody dispute at the time the professor was murdered. Wendi had wanted to take the couple’s two children to Miami after their divorce to be closer to her family, but was told she couldn’t make the move unless Markel consented, which he didn’t.
Markel had pulled into his garage on July 18, 2014, and was promptly shot twice in the head by unknown assailants. He was taken to a hospital but died 14 hours later.
Years later, it was discovered that the murder was part of a plot devised by Charlie and his mother Donna, who used a woman named Katherine Magbanua as an intermediary to hire two men, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, to murder Markel.
At the time of the planning, Charlie was dating Magbanua, who hired Garcia, the father of her children, to kill Markel. Garcia enlisted Rivera to help him, according to prosecutors. Garcia and Rivera drove to Tallahassee from Miami in a rental car to conduct the murder. This rental car was tracked across the state of Florida and was even captured on bus cameras, placing it in the vicinity of Markel’s home just after the murder.
Rivera pled guilty in 2016 to the crime and was sentenced to 19 years in prison. In 2019, Garcia was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for the conspiracy. Magbanua was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Her first trial resulted in a hung jury and she is appealing her conviction.
During his trial, Charlie claimed he had nothing to do with the plot to murder Markel, WPLG reported. He claimed Magbanua, who became his ex-girlfriend, had planned the murder with Garcia and Rivera all on her own and then extorted him. This was Charlie’s attempt to explain away the $100,000 paid to Magbanua.