NewsLocal News


Dan Markel Murder Trial: Attorney looks back on first week of trial

Posted at 6:21 PM, Sep 30, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Monday marks the beginning of week 2 in the Dan Markel Murder Trial.

The first week saw drawn out jury duty, and a couple of key witness testimonies.

Every step of the way, we have been inside the courtroom to see what will happen to co-defendants Sigfredo Garcia and Katherine Magbanua. It's a high profile case that's garnering attention across the world.

The doors to court room 3G remained closed Monday for Rosh Hashana.

But last week, hours were spent behind those doors trying to seek justice for FSU Law Professor Dan Markel.

"As far as a case of this magnitude, the number of witnesses is going to be large because this was an open investigation for a number of years and the prosecutors are going to want to show the juror that they did a thorough job and dotted all of their I's and crossed all of their T's," said attorney John Leace.

We already heard from one key witness in the first week, Dan Markel's ex-wife, Wendi Adelson.

And now we're waiting to hear from the third person charged in Dan Markel's death, Luis RIvera.

"You have a person who is purporting to have firsthand information. So their testimony is going to be key to the jury making decision," said Leace.

The defense is telling the jurors not to trust Rivera's testimony.

"Seven years. Seven years in Florida State Prison. That's what Luis Rivera got in exchange for his participation in a first-degree murder case," said Saam Zangeneh, attorney for Sigfredo Garcia.

Leace says that plea deal could make Rivera seem more credible to some jurors but less credible to others.

After watching the way that week one went, here's how the case stacks up against other similar cases in Leace's mind.

"I don't think it's that dramatically different or unuique," said Leace.

But he says there is something playing at the back of the attorneys' minds.

"When they know a case is getting national exposure, they don't want to look bad on TV," said Leace.

Court picks back up Tuesday morning. The expectation is to put Luis Rivera on the witness stand.

Defense attorneys spent Monday reviewing Rivera's attorneys in order to be prepared for them to take the stand as well.