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    Local and State News...

    Question is whether Adelson family was involved in Markel murder, and motives of the suspects

    June 08, 2016
    By: Michael Abrams
    Tallahassee

    Opinion

    The arrest of a suspect in the Dan Markel murder case raises as many questions as it seems to answer as law enforcement tries to find out who else may have been involved in the shooting death of the prominent young law professor in Tallahassee.

    There has been some speculation as to whether the case is being handled carefully. In releasing the information from the sealed probable cause affidavit,  the state gave the opportunity for people who may have been involved in the case to seek to flee, according to Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo, who was clearly unhappy about it.

    At the same time, DeLeo, justifiably proud of the work of his staff in collecting evidence for the arrest of a suspect in the July 2014 murder,  was asked about the whereabouts of the Adelson family.  “We aren’t on speaking terms,” he said, with what reporters deciphered as a smirk.

    Suspects in any case have a right not to talk. To say they are “not talking” imputes, however, that they may have something to hide. This may impede the process of allowing a fair trial.

    Both of these events, small as they may seem, may give defendants more ammunition to challenge the activities of the prosecution, if the day ever arrives when someone else is arrested. Whether the case has been compromised in any way is the big question.

    Weaknesses in the case?

    The failure to arrest others who may be involved in the murder, may signify a weak case.

    In addition, the fact that a murder weapon has not been found is an obvious factor.  Was it tossed into the canal that runs at the end of Markel’s street? Was it taken back to South Florida? 

    That no one saw the murder happen, is a second factor.

    Sigfredo Garcia, 34, a small time criminal from South Florida, has been arrested. Most of the evidence is linked to cell phone locations during the murder.

    The probable cause affidavit — http://www.talgov.com/uploads/public/
    documents/tpd/pdf/MarkelProbableCause.pdf —in the death of the law professor points to dentist Charles Adelson, the brother of Markel’s ex-wife Wendi, as having a relationship with a former girlfriend of Garcia.

    Garcia and a gang figure from Miami allegedly drove up from South Florida to Tallahassee and perpetrated the murder. The second suspect Luis Rivera, 33, of North Miami, a leader in a national gang syndicate,  is currently serving time in prison on other charges.

    Police say that dentist Adelson, the brother of ex-wife Wendi, had a close relationship with the former girlfriend of the accused murderer and father of her two children.  One is tempted to ask about the connection between Garcia and his former girlfriend. If a man were to hire a hitman for his brother-in-law, why would he hire a girlfriend’s former boyfriend?

    Law enforcement suggests that the motive for the murder was tied to the bitter Markel child custody case in which Donna Sue Adelson, the grandmother, was a vocal figure against Markel’s interest in keeping the children in Tallahassee.

    Wendi Adelson and Markel had gone through a hotly-contested divorce and it was no secret that the two families were alienated from each other. Markel charged in court documents that Wendi’s mother, Donna Sue, was interfering with the custody arrangements. 

    More motives

    What other basis for the murder exists? 


    Perhaps some sort of extortion or blackmail

    Assume the suspects acted on their own, and no one in the Adelson family acted to “hire” them.

    The dentist brother’s alleged relationship with Garcia’s ex-girlfriend could have generated a factor of jealousy. After all, the woman Adelson was seeing was the mother of two children by Garcia, according to the affidavit. Murdering Markel would be more logical than taking out Charles Adelson.

    If Garcia knew that Adelson with access to money disliked Markel, getting rid of Markel could set up an extortion or blackmail scheme.

    Garcia and Rivera may have been persuaded that it was possible to get money from Adelson. If the suspects were caught, they could always claim they were paid or hired. If they were never caught, Adelson could be on the hook for money.

    Was it possible that the girlfriend of Garcia/Adelson is linked some kind of extortion plot against the dentist and his family and persuaded Garcia and his friend to act?

    Is there a money trail?

    The marriage

    In this marriage,  character may have conspired with ambition. Most of the ingredients for happiness diminished as as the six years of marriage passed. The couple seemed like a perfect match at the outset, intellectually,  by breed and circumstance, with stars aligned, encomiums, blessings and much congratulations. Markel remarked on how lucky he was to be married to Wendi Adelson. 

    When life settled into routines,  the couple apparently could not negotiate with each other or find comfort or satisfaction in the relationship.  Markel said that he was surprised when she stole the two children out of the house and fled to South Florida. He compared it to a “Pearl Harbor” attack.

    She and her lawyers viewed his reaction in terms of what would happen in any divorce. 

    Wendi Adelson wrote online in a writing class that she felt no passion for Markel at the outset of the marriage. Markel and she were not matched by temperament. He would not read her book on her female clients and human trafficking because he was not interested in fiction. She says online that her expression was one of smiling and happiness to the outside world, and did not reflect how she really felt.

    Half of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce.  It must have seemed impossible that this one would have.

    They were married in 2007 in Boca Raton by a rabbi, a friend of Markel’s,  who came down from Manhattan. The announcement appeared in The New York Times. 

    Markel and his wife, both lawyers, taught at Florida State University. Markel, from Canada had been an editor at The Harvard Law Review and was a prolific scholar. She was a graduate of Brandeis University, with a law degree from the University of Miami. She led a special program at the FSU law school and her book had been posted for required reading for students.

    Both were stellar academic achievers and were on a fast track to more success until the stars in the heavens came crashing down.