By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Hartley Brooks, Law Clerk, The Health Law Firm
On November 6, 2023, a jury convicted a South Florida dentist of conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation of murder, and first-degree murder in the killing of his former brother-in-law. After more than three hours of deliberations, the jury delivered the verdict in the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Tallahassee, Florida.
The Relationship Between the Dentist and the Professor.
The Florida dentist’s sister was previously married to the Florida State University (FSU) Law professor. The couple separated in 2012 and divorced in 2013.
The couple battled in divorce court and for custody of their two children. The proceedings were very contentious. They argued over every detail of their children’s lives. The parents had 50/50 custody, and there was a court order that prevented the ex-wife from moving away.
The prosecution argued that the ex-wife’s family was desperate to get her and the children to move back to South Florida.
The Schemes For Relocation.
The ex-wife’s family allegedly concocted schemes that would allow the wife and children to move closer to them in South Florida.
One reported scheme was to convince the FSU Law professor to move to South Florida with the children by paying him $1,000,000. The ex-wife’s parents allegedly agreed to split the payment of the million dollars with the brother, the dentist. The ex-wife’s mother allegedly also told the dentist to threaten the devoutly Jewish father that they would enroll the children in a Catholic private school if he did not relocate to South Florida. Unfortunately for the FSU professor, the scheme that would ultimately occur was a murder-for-hire.
The dentist was then dating a woman who had connections to a criminal gang in North Miami. The dentist’s girlfriend testified against him, stating that the dentist first asked her about connecting him with a hit man in October 2013. She also said that he pressured her to move forward with the murder-for-hire in June and July 2014.
Two men were hired to execute the hit on the FSU Law professor. One was the father of the dentist’s girlfriend’s children, and the other was a gang leader in Miami.
The gang leader took a plea deal concerning the murder-for-hire. He is serving 19 years concurrent with a federal racketeering charge he previously served. He testified in the dentist’s trial. He said that he and his accomplice drove to Tallahassee and stalked the professor on July 18, 2014. When the professor returned to his home, the accomplice shot him twice. The professor was transported to the hospital after a neighbor called 911 but he died the next day in the hospital.
The gang leader testified that the dentist paid $100,000 for the hit men to kill the FSU Law professor. The payment was split between the gang leader, the accomplice and triggerman, and the girlfriend.
The girlfriend was sentenced to life in prison in 2022 for her involvement in the murder. In 2019, the triggerman was also sentenced to life in prison for his role in the killing of the professor. The gang leader is serving 19 years in prison for his involvement in the murder.
In his defense, the dentist testified that he played no role in the murder-for-hire. He claimed that he was the victim of an elaborate extortion scheme masterminded by the girlfriend.
The prosecution argued that the dentist and his family were so desperate to have the sister and her children back in South Florida that the dentist masterminded a murder-for-hire scheme.
After only approximately three hours of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict to each charge: conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation of murder, and first-degree murder.
It is expected that the dentist will also lose his license to practice dentistry as a result of the conviction.
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Bridges, C. A. “FSU professor Dan Markel’s killing: Everything to know about the murder-for-hire case.” Tallahassee Democrat. (25 October 2023) https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/local/2023/10/25/dan-markel-florida-murder-case-brother-in-law-charlie-adelson-tallahassee-homicide-trial/71298187007/
Burlew, Jeff. “Man found guilty of murdering FSU law professor Dan Markel.” FSU News. (7 November 2023) https://www.fsunews.com/story/news/2023/11/07/man-found-guilty-of-murdering-fsu-law-professor-dan-markel/71487542007/
Royal, Denise. “Man charged in murder-for-hire of FSU law professor convicted on all counts.” CNN. (7 November 2023) https://www.cnn.com/2023/11/07/us/fsu-professor-charles-adelson-murder-conviction/index.html
Minksy, David. “Dentist Found Guilty of Murdering Fla. Law Professor.” Law360. (6 November 2023) https://www.law360.com/articles/1751533/dentist-found-guilty-of-murdering-fla-law-professor-
About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Hartley Brooks is a law clerk with The Health Law Firm. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free: (888) 331-6620.
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