Criminal Justice

Vigilant rental car company may have thwarted earlier attempt on law prof's life

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A rental car company may have prevented two murder suspects in the death of a Florida State University law professor from carrying out the crime in an earlier attempt, prosecutors say.

According to Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman, murder suspects Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera traveled to Tallahassee in June 2014, the month before the slaying of law professor Dan Markel, report the Tallahassee Democrat and WCTV. The car was rented for local use only, and the GPS alerted the company that the men were in Tallahassee. They turned their car around.

Garcia and Rivera have been indicted on charges of first-degree murder for Markel’s July 2014 shooting death. Prosecutors have said the two men were “enlisted” to kill Markel in connection with his divorce from another law professor.

Garcia pleaded not guilty on Friday. His lawyer, Jim Lewis, said the only evidence against his client is circumstantial, according to the Tallahassee Democrat account. “All they’ve got is theories,” Lewis said. “No facts. No eye witnesses. No physical evidence. No confessions. No statements.”

Cappleman acknowledged that she is not aware of any DNA evidence at the crime scene and she has found no eye witness who will identify Garcia. “But there is a mountain of other evidence that I think will be sufficient to reach my burden beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” she said. How Appealing links to a probable cause affidavit (PDF) posted by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Judge Terry Lewis delayed a decision on bond.

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