Magbanua takes the stand in Markel murder trial

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Wednesday would have been slain FSU law professor Dan Markel’s 47th birthday.

The trial is currently underway for the murder of former FSU Professor Dan Markel. (Florida State University College of Law)

Instead, the defendant who had the most to gain from taking a plea deal took the stand in Markel’s murder trial.

Rumors swirled around the courthouse Wednesday morning. A plea deal in the murder was in the works.

Those rumors were quashed when defendant Katherine Magbanua took the stand.

She’s accused of being the conduit between her co-defendant and ex-husband, and the family of the slain professors ex-wife.

“Did you have anything to do with the murder of Dan Markel?” asked Magbanua’s attorney Tara Kwass.

“No ma'am,” Magbanua replied.

"Did you get the father of your two children, Mr. Garcia, to commit a murder on behalf of Mr. Charlie Adelson?” Kwass continued.

“No ma'am,” Mabanua again asserted.

Her lawyers tried to lay the defense that accused trigger man Sigfredo Garcia could have been selling drugs to Charlie Adelson and didn’t need her as a go-between.

“Did Mr. Adelson ever do illicit drugs in front of you?” asked Magbanua’s second attorney, Chris DeCoste.

“Did Mr. Adelson? Yes,” replied Magbanua.

When it was the prosecutor Georgia Cappleman's turn, she drilled down on why Magbanua might not have taken a plea deal.

“Isn’t it true you've been offered some kind of big payoff if you refuse to cooperate against Charlie Adelson?” asked Cappleman.

“If I refused? No ma'am,” replied Magbanua.

“Has anybody offered you some money?” asked Cappleman.

“No,” Magbanua replied.

“Do you remember telling anybody that you would be able to stay home after you get acquitted and have a tutor for your kids to be homeschooled at the house?” asked Cappleman.

“No,” Magbanua again replied.

The lawyer for Katherine Magbanua said it was her client's decision to take the stand.

Wednesday was the first day Dan Markel's parents have not been at the trial since it began as they observed Yom Kippur.

Before the jury went home Wednesday afternoon they were told to pack a bag. Deliberations are expected to begin on Thursday.