Criminal Justice

Ex-wife and her family deny involvement in law prof's slaying

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The ex-wife of slain law professor Dan Markel and her family members have released a statement denying any involvement in his death.

The statement said that neither Markel’s ex-wife, Wendi Adelson, nor other Adelson family members “had anything to do with Dan’s murder.” The Associated Press, the Tallahassee Democrat, the Sun Sentinel and Above the Law have stories.

Any speculation as to the family’s involvement is “categorically false,” the statement says. Tallahassee police have examined “every shred of evidence” and “nothing has turned up that supports this fanciful fiction that the Adelsons were involved.”

Two Florida men—Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera—have been indicted on murder charges in the July 2014 death of Markel, who was a law professor at Florida State University.

Arrest documents said investigators believed the motive for Markel’s murder “stemmed from the desperate desire of the Adelson family to relocate Wendi and the children to South Florida.” The documents said Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charlie Adelson, was in a relationship with a woman whose children were fathered by Garcia.

Above the Law asked one of the Adelson lawyers, David Markus, whether police were hoping to “flip” Garcia and Rivera.

“Law enforcement is literally holding a needle to these guys’ arms: ‘Say this or we will get the death penalty for you,’ ” Markus said. “I can’t imagine a situation where testimony would be less reliable. But they have not flipped, because what would they say? They’d have to make up something that other evidence would disprove.”

Here is the full statement, issued by the Adelson family’s lawyers:

“On behalf of the Adelson family, we continue to send our deepest condolences to the Markel family. Dan’s death was a tragedy, and the loss is profound. Although Wendi and Dan were divorced, he was the father of their two children, who must now grow up without their dad.

“There has been a lot of unsupported speculation that the Adelsons had something to do with the murder. That speculation is categorically false. To be clear, none of the Adelsons—Wendi, her brother Charlie, or their parents Donna and Harvey—had anything to do with Dan’s murder.

“We respect the process and the enormous amount of work that the Tallahassee police department has done in this case. They have spent the past two years reviewing every shred of evidence out there—every phone record, financial record, text message, email, internet search, everything. We understand why the government has put the Adelson family through this type of severe scrutiny. But nothing has turned up that supports this fanciful fiction that the Adelsons were involved. The investigation has gone so deep that it employed FBI agents, undercover agents, and a tip line. There is a reason that the police have not arrested any of the Adelsons—they weren’t involved in Dan’s death.

“We are issuing this statement because the media continues to run stories suggesting—without any support or evidence—that the Adelsons were somehow involved in Dan’s murder. Again, this is simply not true. The Adelsons were not involved. We share in the hope that those responsible will be brought to justice.”

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