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Sigfredo Garcia gets life in prison for murder of Dan Markel

Katherine Magbanua due in court Oct. 22
Posted: 9:05 AM, Sep 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-15 17:19:28-04
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — It's a day over five years in the making. Another person sentenced in the murder of former Florida State University Professor Dan Markel.

Those who knew Dan Markel the best and loved him the most say that it's a start. His family spent every single day of the trial in the courtroom. While friends from across the country watched and waited for justice in his death.

It only took the jury about 40 minutes to decide that Sigfredo Garcia will spend the rest of his life in prison.

For three weeks his family sat in court and where pictures of his autopsy were shown. Along with video of his last hours alive when Garcia and Luis Rivera followed his every move, before he was shot in his garage.

The day Garcia was found guilty of murder his family was very emotional in the courtroom..

On Tuesday, his mother Ruth didn't have much to say, but did leave us with this.

"We respect the process. There's a lot more work to be done and we look forward to it and hope that it'll be done soon," said Ruth.

We also talked to one of Dan's friend and former coworker Reggie Garcia about the verdict and sentencing.

"I think Dan would be happy that justice was done. Especially for his parents, his sister, and although they're very young now, eventually for his sons," said Reggie.

The state believes that Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia were paid by Markel's ex-wife's family to orchestrate and carry out Dan Markel's murder.

A mistrial was declared in Katie's case. So far no one in the Adelson family has faced any criminal charges.

Katherine Magbanua will have a case management hearing October 22.

The state attorney says the retrial could happen relatively quickly if she keeps the same attorneys.

Forty minutes. That's how long it took the jury of 10 women and two men to recommend life in prison for the second man convicted in the murder of FSU law professor Dan Markel.

MARKEL MURDER TRIAL | Everything you need to know | Watch trial LIVE | Read live updates | Recap of each day in court

Judge Hankinson has officially sentenced Sigfredo Garcia to life in prison for first degree murder. A few of the jurors were crying as they read that verdict.

Attorneys started the day with one final appeal to those jurors.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman argued that Sigfredo Garcia killed Dan Markel for money and that the murder was cold, calculated, and premeditated.

But Garcia's attorney argued that there are factors at play to make the jurors choose life in prison. Although the jury found Garcia guilty of first degree murder, Saam Zangeneh still maintains that his client wasn't the triggerman.

He says that Garcia was under mental and emotional distress when the murder happened. But he says the most important factor is that Sigfredo Garcia did everything under the domination of Katherine Magbanua.

After that sentencing, Saam Zangeneh said that his client was numb about the entire process.

"There's no winners here," said Zangeneh. "There's no winners in these types of cases. And the next portion of Mr. Garcia's ride is the appellate process."

Garcia has 30 days to appeal. His attorneys say he has no income, so finding representation might be tough.

The Markel family was in the courtroom for the entire process. They spoke briefly to us after the sentencing.

"There is a lot more work to be done and we're looking forward and hope it will be done soon," said Ruth Markel, Dan's mother. "We also appreciate all the support we got from Dan's friends in the Tallahassee community and respect from the media."

The state argued that Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua were paid to kill Dan Markel by his ex-wife Wendi Adelson's family.

However, the Adelson's haven't been arrested in connection to the murder.

In a statement, Charlie Adelson's lawyer, David Oscar Markus, had this to say about the outcome in the Dan Markel trial:

"My first reaction is that I hope the Markel family feels some sense of justice and relief that Garcia was convicted. This trial must have been so hard and taxing on them. My second reaction is that the prosecution couldn’t prove its theory on Katie after 3 years of really thorough investigation and preparation. This is why they have not charged Charlie and his family — the case simply isn’t there. We don’t charge people based on podcast and internet speculation. The prosecution rightfully understood that it couldn’t prove a case against Charlie before this trial. After the hung jury, its prospects have gone down not up."

To watch the trial live, click here . If you missed something in court, you can see our daily recaps here .