March 22, 2023

Who is Katherine Magbanua? Her Connection to Dan Markel Murder; Bio, Wiki, Age, Husband, Children, Sigfredo Garcia, ABC 20/20, Arrest & Charges

Kathy Magbanua Bio, Wiki

Katherine Magbanua is a 34-year-old  woman with Filipina roots who police in Florida believe facilitated the murder-for-hire plot of Dan Markel, a prominent Florida State University law professor back on July 19th, 2014. Jurors deliberated for 11 hours on Thursday and Friday (Oct. 10th and 11th) before convicting Sigfredo Garcia, the man who fatally shot Dan Markel in 2014 and deadlocking on Kathy Magbanua, the woman prosecutors tried to prove was the go-between in the murder-for-hire plot.

Tonight, Friday October 11th,  ABC News’ 20/20 will investigate Markel’s death.

Katherine Magbanua had a romantic relationship with Wendi Adelson Brother

Kathy Magbanua at the time of their arrest back on October 1st, 2016 was reported to have been in a romantic relationship with Wendi Adelson Brother and lived with Sigfredo Garcia with who, she had two children with.

Kathy Magbanua at the time of their arrest back on October 1st, 2016 was reported to have been in a romantic relationship with Wendi Adelson Brother and lived with Sigfredo Garcia and had two children with him.

Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia Trial

A panel of 10 women and two men found Sigfredo Garcia guilty of first-degree murder at about 2:50 p.m., following two weeks of testimony. After briefly continuing to deliberate on the fate of the mother of his two children, Katherine Magbanua, it became clear they could not reach a decision and a mistrial was declared.

Magbanua burst into tears as the verdict against Garcia was read. He leaned across the defendant’s desk and said, “I love you, Katie.” When their work was done, some jurors also wept.

Magbanua will, however, remain in jail as a charged co-conspirator and the state will try her case again. A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 22nd. Garcia faces the death penalty; the sentencing phase begins at 10 a.m. Monday.

Magbanua’s attorneys Chris DeCoste and Tara and Kristen Kawass contended she was innocent and prosecutors did little to prove any actual connections to the murder.

Garcia’s attorney Saam Zangeneh said that while prosecutors put his client in Tallahassee in the days around the murder, he wasn’t the gunman. He said Rivera, a hardened gang member, was the one who pulled the trigger.

The Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, who led the prosecution, said she was disappointed in the mistrial. But she added, “We’re going to regroup and try to do it better next time.”
She noted that Markel’s family members, who attended the trial, were pleased with the presentation of the case.

“They know we made our best efforts,” Cappleman said. “Sometimes jurors just can’t reach a unanimous conclusion. We’re all willing … to do it again if that’s what needed.”

State Attorney Jack Campbell said he was “incredibly proud” of the hard work by the trial team, the Tallahassee Police Department, the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He said he couldn’t comment on the jury’s actions other than to say, “I appreciate their hard work and they still have some work to do.”

The verdict marked the second conviction won by the State Attorney’s Office in the case, which drew national attention. Rivera, a gang leader who accompanied Garcia from Miami to Tallahassee to kill Markel, is already in prison as part of a plea deal that led to his testimony against the two.

Signs of trouble convicting Magbanua emerged early Friday, October 11th as jurors asked about the possibility of a hung jury.

Campbell declined to say whether the conviction of Garcia got prosecutors any closer to charging members the Adelson family, whom they believe hired Garcia and another man, Luis Rivera, to kill Markel.

“The only thing I can think of is that they thought my client committed this murder out of his love for Ms. Magabanua,” Garcia’s attorney Saam Zangeneh said. “If he’s not doing this for money, he must be doing this for love.”

Dan Markel was found the morning of July 18th, 2014, shot twice in the head in garage of his Trescott Drive home. He had gone to the gym that morning and dropped his two sons off at daycare.

Investigators later found footage of a Toyota Prius following Markel around the Premier Fitness parking lot, and the car was spotted by a neighbor at the house and later recorded by StarMetro bus cameras driving to and from the crime scene.

Police say a light-colored Toyota Prius was tailing Markel that day, from the time he dropped his children off in daycare then stopped by a gym for his morning workout
Police say a light-colored Toyota Prius was tailing Markel that day, from the time he dropped his children off in daycare then stopped by a gym for his morning workout

The footage led them to Garcia, Rivera, and Magbanua, who Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said carried out a grisly plot to kill Markel paid for by the family of his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson.

Cappleman contended Adelson’s brother and mother, Charlie and Donna Adelson, paid $100,000 to have him killed in the fallout from his contentious divorce and their push to have her and their two kids move to South Florida.

The new episode of 20/20 takes viewers inside the courtroom for the trial of Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua. They were charged in the murder of Dan Markel, a Florida State University law professor.

ABC writes:

’20/20′ cameras go inside the courtroom as Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua approach the end of their trial for the murder of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel, found shot in his garage following a bitter divorce and custody battle with Wendi Adelson, his ex-wife and a clinical professor at FSU’s College of Law. The trial comes after Sigfredo’s friend Luis Rivera pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Luis told police that Sigfredo solicited him to help Katherine, the mother of Sigfredo’s children, in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Dan. “20/20” also reports the prosecution’s allegation that Charles Adelson, Wendi’s brother, spearheaded and funded the plot. Chief national correspondent Matt Gutman reports for “20/20,” airing Friday, Oct. 11 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.

“20/20” features the first television interview with Matthew Shaer, host of the popular podcast “Over My Dead Body: Tally,” on Dan’s murder. The two-hour “20/20” includes interviews with Tova Walsh, Wendi’s best friend; Georgia Cappleman, state prosecutor working on the case; and Michael Weinstein, Charles’ attorney; as well as police interviews with Wendi and her ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Lacasse on Dan’s murder and footage from Luis’ confession tape.

Wendi and Dan finalized their divorce about a year before Dan died. After the murder, police followed a clue from an eyewitness who reported a green Prius fleeing the scene. Through detailed detective work, police traced the rental car to Sigfredo and Luis. After combing through call logs and financial transactions, authorities connected Sigfredo and Luis’ actions to Katherine. Luis received a reduced sentence in exchange for cooperating with the state’s investigation. Luis and Katherine pleaded not guilty. Authorities have not charged the Adelsons in connection with Dan’s murder and the family denies any involvement in his murder.