Criminal Justice

FSU law prof Dan Markel died from gunshot wound to the head; police pursue leads from tip line


Updated: Tallahassee police are pursuing leads from a tip line and surveillance video in the fatal shooting of a prominent Florida State University law professor who founded PrawfsBlawg.

Police were slow to release details of the investigation into the shooting of Dan Markel, a criminal justice law professor who died last weekend after he was shot at his home. On Tuesday, police announced the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, report the Tallahassee Democrat and CNN.

Police are seeking information about a silver compact car caught on surveillance video, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Police did not say how they obtained the video. CrimeStoppers has increased its reward for information in the case from $1,000 to $3,000. Police established a local tip line and received several leads, Police Department spokesman David Northway told CNN.

Markel was shot at about 11 a.m. on Friday and died at the hospital early Saturday. Police didn’t confirm his death until it was reported by local media. On Monday, police said Markel’s death was a murder, he appeared to be the intended victim, and there is no indication his death was connected to a burglary or robbery.

Police have refused to say how many shots were fired, where his body was found at his home, and whether a weapon was found.

Northway confirmed a police meeting with law school officials on Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat says. Northway said the meeting focused on “information that was probably part of the case,” while school spokeswoman Jeanette Dediemar said the meeting was held to discuss safety policies related to Markel’s death.

Markel was recently divorced from another FSU law professor, Wendi Adelson, who is director of the school’s Public Interest Law Center. Her lawyer, Jimmy Judkins, told the Tallahassee Democrat that she is cooperating with police and she is “distraught, devastated, scared to death.” The couple has two young sons.

Markel’s articles had appeared in the New York Times, Slate and the Atlantic. Writing at Concurring Opinions, Temple University law professor David Hoffman said Markel cared deeply for his children and his friends.

“Indeed, Dan Markel knew more legal academics—by which I mean he had more meaningful conversations and was actually friends with more people—than anyone in the country,” Hoffman wrote. “Everyone knew him or had a story about him. Even in conversations he wasn’t a part of, at conferences he’d never attended, he was a common point of reference. He was our Kevin Bacon.”

Previous coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Shooting death of law prof who founded PrawfsBlawg is investigated as homicide”

ABAJournal.com: “Law prof’s shooting wasn’t a burglary gone bad; he was ‘intended victim,’ police say”

Updated on July 24 to provide additional details and news of police seeking information on a silver car.

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