A Filipino American mother of two in Tallahassee, Florida has been sentenced to life in prison with no probation or parole for her role in the murder of university professor Dan Markel.
37-year-old Katherine Magbanua was also sentenced to an additional 30 consecutive years for solicitation to commit murder.
"On count two, which is a conspiracy to commit murder, you have been found guilty by a jury. You will be adjudicated guilty and you will be sentenced to a consecutive sentence of years in the Department of Corrections," Hon. Robert Wheeler of the Leon County Circuit Court said.
At trial, the prosecution laid out how Magbanua was involved in the murder-for-hire plot.
"Back in 2014, the defendant had a rich boyfriend named Charlie Adelson. And Charlie Adelson’s family had a big problem. And that problem was Dan Markel. The solution to the problem was this defendant. This defendant was the solution because she had connections with the type of people who were willing and capable of pulling a gun at a stranger, someone they never met and pulling the trigger," prosecutor Sarah Dugan noted.
Prosecutors added that Magbanua recruited the father of her children, Sigfredo Garcia and his friend Luis Rivera to carry out the murder for Adelson. Adelson supposedly wanted Markle dead over a child custody battle with his sister.
On the stand, Magbanua insisted that she knew nothing of the plot to kill Markel. "I see why I’m in the middle. I’m smack in the middle. I see it. That’s why I’m fighting for my life," she said.
When asked by the prosecutor what the link between Garcia and Adelson was, Magbanua answered, "they knew each other; that they spoke to each other." Pressed how, she replied, "I don’t know. Apparently everything is being done behind my back, that’s why."
Garcia was found guilty in October 2019 for killing Markel outside his Tallahassee home. Rivera is serving a 19-year sentence as part of a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against the others. Adelson, the alleged mastermind, was charged in April with murder and solitician to commit murder and is scheduled to go to trial next year.
Meanwhile, Magbanua was given 30 days to file an appeal.