Dan Markel worked hard and led a blessed life, until he didn’t. Toronto born and raised, the 41-year-old graduated with a degrees from Harvard, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Cambridge, capping his academic achievements with a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He practiced white-collar criminal law and civil litigation before he became a tenured professor at Florida State Law School teaching criminal law. He wrote for academic journals and crafted controversial opinion pieces for prestigious publications including the New York Times, Slate, and The Atlantic. Mr. Markel was an impressive man who was revered by his colleagues.
He was married to Wendi Jill Adelson, also a lawyer and professor at Florida State, and had two young sons. But his happy life began to crumble when his marriage floundered, followed by a bitter divorce in 2013. But the worst was yet to come.
In July 2014 Dan Markel pulled into the driveway and garage of his upscale Tallahassee, Florida home, just about to end a call on his cell phone, when he advised the caller that another vehicle was in his driveway. Those were likely Dan Markel’s final words before he was shot in the head. He died the next morning.
At first the police believed his death was related to online criticism he had received or from his legal consulting practice. Almost immediately rewards totalling $125,000 were announced for information leading to the arrest of Mr. Markel’s assailant, but the case went cold, until last month.
On May 26, 2016 Tallahassee police arrested Sigfredo Garcia in connection with Dan Markel’s death. A “probable cause” affidavit unsealed by the Court indicated that Garcia did not act alone and that as a “hitman”, his involvement likely stemmed from the contentious child custody matters that lingered from the Adelson/Markel divorce. Court proceedings were pending which could have prevented Ms. Adelson’s parents from carrying on with their grandparent relationship with the couple’s children, based on allegations they were badmouthing Mr. Markel. As well, Ms. Adelson’s desire to change the children’s residence from Tallahassee to Miami was at issue.
Authorities have not yet suggested that Wendi Adelson is a suspect in her ex-husband’s murder, but have indicated that further arrests should be expected. Friends of Dan initially refused to speculate on Ms. Adelson or her family’s involvement in his tragic death, but news of the arrest has prompted several to confirm that all along they believed the high-conflict custody dispute played a part in his murder.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang