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Lawyer for suspect in Markel murder case pushes for client's pre-trial release

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 18:28:52-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The woman accused of orchestrating the murder of Florida State University Law Professor Dan Markel is once again asking for her freedom as she awaits her next trial nearly a year after a jury was unable to make a decision on her fate.

In October of 2019, a jury could not decide if Katherine Magbanua was guilty of connecting the father of her children with her then-boyfriend to kill Dan Markel.

"She's been before a death-qualified jury who couldn't even come to a decision of conspiracy to commit murder," said Kawass. "She's presumed innocent and has been so for the past four years. She remains in custody. This is why this is considered a motion that the court has to take into consideration right away. That presumption of innocence and the evidence in this case."

Her attorneys say she testified truthfully, has cooperated fully, and is dealing with delays from COVID-19 while her brother raises her children.

"If you check it out, she is the longest incarcerated female in the Leon County Jail," said Kawass. "She has been in there for more than 1,400 days."

Now, they're asking for her to be released until her new trial date.

The release would include GPS monitoring but would allow her to return home to Miami.

A 31-page court document calling for the release states, "there is no evidence that Magbanua is a flight risk."

It pulls from other similar cases where bond and pretrial release are re-examined after an extended period of time in jail.

"There is not one piece of evidence where you can hang your hat on it and say, 'Yeah, she did it,'" Kawass contended.

In October, a jury found her children's father, Sigfredo Garcia, guilty of killing Dan Markel.

But that same jury couldn't come to a conclusion about Magbanua's involvement.

Markel's family issuing a statement back in July calling for more justice, saying in part, "We understand that due process takes patience. Our wait for justice has been long and continues. We pray that this next phase of the legal process moves quickly and that all those responsible for Dan's murder are held accountable."

Magbanua's next hearing is on Dec. 3. That's when a trial date is expected to be set.

The State Attorney's Office now has 30 days to respond to the request.