Donna Adelson, the fifth person arrested in the conspiracy to kill Dan Markel, her former son-in-law, has arrived in Tallahassee to face charges in the nearly decade-old murder.
Adelson, 73, who had been held in a Miami jail, was transported Monday to the Leon County Detention Facility, where she is being held without bond after spending a week in the Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. She was booked early Tuesday, according to online jail records.
She was arrested Nov. 13 after she and her husband tried to fly out of Miami International Airport with one-way tickets to Vietnam, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.
Her attempted flight came one week after her son, Charlie Adelson, was convicted in Markel’s murder and less than 48 hours before a Leon County grand jury indicted her on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation.
After an eight-day trial at the Leon County Courthouse, Charlie Adelson was found guilty Nov. 6 of the same three charges. He faces a mandatory life sentence in the murder of his former brother-in-law.
Markel, a 41-year-old law professor at Florida State University, was fatally shot July 18, 2014, in the garage of his Trescott Drive home. The murder occurred amid a nasty court fight between him and his ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, over their two sons and other issues. Wendi Adelson, whose motion to relocate with the boys to Miami had been denied by a judge, is Donna Adelson’s daughter and Charlie Adelson’s younger sister.
At the time of Donna Adelson’s arrest, law enforcement was aware that she was thinking about going on the run. She and her son had spoken multiple times after his trial ended on jail calls and she was recorded mentioning possibly committing suicide or fleeing to a non-extradition country, according to arrest records.
In 2016, the FBI sent an undercover agent posing as a blackmailer to rattle her outside her South Beach condo and get suspects talking on recorded lines. He handed her an article about Markel’s killing with his phone number and $5,000 written on it.
She had long been a target of both Tallahassee police and the FBI and featured heavily in both her son’s trial and earlier trials of Sigfredo Garcia, one of the hit men, and Katie Magbanua, the mother of Garcia’s kids who was dating Charlie Adelson at the time of the murder.
Moments after that encounter, dubbed the “bump,” Donna Adelson called her son to tell him she had been handed some “paperwork” and that they needed to talk in person. She said it involved “probably the two of us. So you probably have a general idea of what I’m talking about.”
She also signed dozens of checks totaling $18,000 from the family’s dental practice that were given to Magbanua over a period of months after the murder despite the fact that she never actually worked there.
The probable cause affidavit says Donna Adelson and her husband, Harvey Adelson, a retired dentist, spoke with the Tallahassee Police Department’s lead investigator at Markel’s local memorial in 2014 and promised to call him before returning to South Florida to arrange an interview.
“Harvey and Donna Adelson left Tallahassee with Wendi and the grandchildren the day after the memorial service without speaking with the investigator as promised,” court records say. “Since leaving, no one in the Adelson family contacted TPD or inquired about the status of the investigation. In July of 2015, Wendi had her children’s surname changed from Markel to Adelson.”
Contact Jeff Burlew at [email protected] or 850-599-2180.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Donna Adelson booked in Tallahassee jail for Dan Markel murder plot
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