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Charges upgraded against woman in Fla. prof's alleged murder-for-hire

Katherine Magbanua.  

CBS affiliate WCTV

Last Updated Nov 30, 2016 2:18 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A south Florida woman is now being charged with first-degree murder for her alleged role in the shooting death of a Florida State University professor.

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Sigfredo Garcia has been arrested in the murder of FSU professor Daniel Markel in 2014

WCTV

Court records show that a grand jury on Tuesday indicted Katherine Magbanua for the 2014 killing of Daniel Markel. Markel was gunned down in his Tallahassee garage in the middle of the day. Magbanua was initially arrested and charged with second-degree murder in October.

One of the alleged killers, Luis Rivera, was sentenced last month to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors. Video obtained by various Florida media outlets shows Rivera confessing to the murder during a police interview.

The other alleged killer, Sigfredo Garcia, is also facing murder charges and has pleaded not guilty. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

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Luis Rivera during an interview with detectives on Oct. 4, 2016, when he confessed to his role in the July 2014 murder of Florida State University professor Dan Markel.

CBS affiliate WCTV

In a June arrest report for Garcia, Tallahassee police allege the family of Markel’s ex-wife had motive for his murder after a bitter divorce and custody battle. Authorities allege Magbanua has ties to both Garcia and the family of Markel’s ex-wife. Detectives contend Magbanua had a romantic relationship with the brother of Wendi Adelson, Markel’s ex-wife, and lived with Garcia and had two children with him.  

Lawyers for the Adelsons have repeatedly denied any involvement and none of the family members have been charged with a crime.

Magbanua’s attorney Tara Kawass said in a statement released to CBS affiliate WCTV her client is innocent.

“Because Katie has maintained the truth, that she is innocent and had nothing to do with this, the prosecution has decided to tighten the screws a little more,” the statement read. “That’s how they broke Rivera and got him to lie. But Katie is much stronger than that thug. Plus, she has the truth on her side. That’s a powerful ally.”