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Friends of Dan Markel hold toy drive for Toys for Tots

Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-10 13:17:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — On what would have been Dan Markel's 49th birthday, friends of Markel, Jeremy Cohen and Karen Cyphers held a special community give back in his name.

Toys collected at Markel's favorite park, Winthrop park, Saturday will be given to Toys for Tots in Leon County.

The famed Florida State University law professor was murdered in his driveway July 19, 2014.

While his friends give back to the community, just like how Markel used to, they still wait for justice to be served.

"We're happy that two of the people found responsible have been brought to justice," said Cohen.

In 2016, Luis Rivera accepted a plea deal for his role in Markel's death. In October of 2019, a jury found Sigfredo Garcia guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

In that same trial, the jury couldn't agree on a verdict for Katherine Magbanua.

"We would have been in the middle of the most recent trial just now, which was delayed, but we didn't want this day to pass by unobserved and thought you know, what better way to honor Dan Markel than to give back to the community in some way," said Cyphers.

In September, just weeks before Magbanua's retrial, a Leon County judge granted the defense more time to prepare for new elements in the case.

"We're looking forward to the next trial happening in February and we are very hopeful that everybody who is behind this is eventually brought to justice," said Cohen.

Prosecutors believe Markel's ex-wife's family hired Rivera and Garcia to drive from Miami to Tallahassee to kill Markel.

The link between the two and the family, Magbanua, then-girlfriend of Markel's ex-brother-in-law and former girlfriend of Sigfredo Garcia.

For now, friends like Jeremy Cohen said they're going to keep fighting for Dan and his name to make sure his story is never forgotten

"I do think that he's happy to see continued conversation and people around the country remembering him," said Cohen.