Who Is Dan Markel? New Details About The FSU Professor Shot Dead In His Car And The New Podcast Detailing His Murder

His father spoke out about his slain son.

Who Is Dan Markel? New Details About The FSU Professor Shot Dead In His Car And The New Podcast Detailing His Murder Fox News

The father of an FSU law professor shot dead in his car in 2014 hopes that his family's participation in a podcast about his death will reunite him with his grandchildren. Phil Markel recently spoke out in Wondery’s “Over My Dead Body,” which details the "senseless shooting" of his son, a 41-year-old father of two.

After Dan's death, his ex-wife, attorney Wendi Adelson, was given custody of their children. Phil claims that since the arrests of Dan's suspected killers, his family has not been able to contact Dan's two kids despite many efforts to be a part of their lives. Phil says he hasn't heard from his grandchildren in over two years.


“We are devastated by this,” Phil told Fox News. “To us, to the Markel family, the word family has been a very, very important part of our relationships. And not to have two grandchildren… is very, very hurtful and it’s just unbelievable… Hopefully, they’ll contact us, or we’ll be able to contact them. We want them to know that they’re part of our family… We want them to know that we love them and we miss them.”

Phil hopes that his story will give his grandchildren a sense of what his father was like and encourage them to reach out.

“We desperately want to see the children,” Phil said. “We desperately want to have contact with them. We want them to know that there is a Markel family that they are a part of… They had a father who loved them dearly, tremendously…. Even as a law professor, he made a special effort every day to spend lots of time with them. I don’t know what they remember. I don’t know what they will remember. We just hope and pray there is another way of communicating with them.”


Dan's sister, Shelly Markel, feels the podcast will help keep his legacy alive.

“We want them to know of his amazing legacy,” she told Fox News. “And they were his world… We want to keep him alive in our memories.”

So who was Dan Markel and what happened to him? Here's what you need to know.

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1. He was murdered in 2014.

Dan was shot in the head at point-blank range on July 18, 2014, in his Honda Accord while parked in the garage of his Tallahassee home. Authorities said he was shot "execution-style." A neighbor found Dan's inside his car with "blood all over his head" and called 911. Authorities rushed him to a nearby hospital, where he died the next day.



2. He had just gone through a messy divorce.

Dan and his ex-wife had recently divorced and it was not exactly a friendly breakup.

"My ex-husband caused me a lot of grief, but I would never do something like this," Adelson told police.

Adelson moved to South Florida with their two kids against Dan's wishes. Police said that the couple's unresolved custody issues were likely a motive for Dan's murderers.


“Investigators believe motive for this murder stemmed from the desperate desire of the Adelson family to relocate Wendi and the children to South Florida, along with the pending court hearing that might have impacted their access to the grandchildren,” according to the document obtained by PEOPLE.


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3. Three people were arrested in connection with his death. 

Two years after Dan's death, Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera were charged with first-degree murder, PEOPLE reported. Katherine Magbanua, the mother of Garcia's children, was later arrested and charged with first-degree murder as well. Garcia and Magbanua also face conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder charges.

The suspected killers were part of a murder-for-hire plot, according to police. Their payout was $100,000.

"Investigators further believe Magbanua enlisted the father of her two children, Sigfredo Garcia, and his close associate, Luis Rivera, to carry out this murder, and they were all compensated for their actions," a police report obtained by the Sun-Sentinel read.


Federal Bureau of Prisons/Broward County Sheriff's Office

4. The trial is set for June 3.

According to court records, Rivera took a plea deal in 2016 and his testimony led authorities to arrest Magbanua. He later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Rivera, who was a South Florida Latin King gang leader and already serving time behind bars for other charges, was sentenced to an additional seven years.

Garcia and Magbanua pleaded not guilty to their charges and are scheduled to appear in court on June 3.


Fox News

5. He loved his kids.

Dan's family made sure it is known that he loved his kids with everything in him.

“He was so loving to his children, they meant the world to him,” Shelly told Fox News. “They were such an important part of his life and he just dedicated himself to them. He was so proud of them.”


Fox News

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.