Woman convicted in murder-for-hire plot is looking for pen pals

Katherine Magbanua, who is serving life in prison for her role in the 2014 murder of Dan Markel is described on her profile as a ‘foodie’ who is up for ‘lots of laughter’

Andrea Cavallier
Thursday 01 February 2024 21:42 GMT

Katherine Magbanua is looking for love in prison

A Florida woman who was sentenced to life in prison for helping her ex-boyfriend Charlie Adelson carry out a murder-for-hire plot is now hoping to find a connection while behind bars.

Katherine Magbanua, who was convicted in the 2014 murder-for-hire of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel, has a profile on Meet-An-Inmate.com that describes her as a “foodie” who is up for “some type of entertainment and lots of laughter.”

On the site, which offers pen pal opportunities with inmates all over the United States, Magbanua writes in her profile that she’s a former bartender who likes yoga and who is open to receiving letters from both men and women.

“Hey y’all! My name is Katherine but everyone calls me ‘special k’ or ‘kay’ for short in here. I’m originally from the Philippines but grew up in the beautiful city of MIAMI! I love the beach, a big FOODIE, and watching movies (gotta love those action packed and chick flick comedies) it can get very hard in here physically and mentally so I’m ready for some type of entertainment and lots of laughter. Hit me up if you have something interesting to talk about… until then ‘live it up like it’s your last!’ Stay blessed <3… xoxo.”

The 39-year-old is incarcerated at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Tampa, Florida where she is serving out a life sentence for her role in the murder-for-hire plot.

Magbanua writes in her profile that she’s a former bartender who likes yoga and who is open to receiving letters from both men and women

Magbanua was the point person between Sigfredo Garcia and Luis Rivera, two men whom her ex-boyfriend and wealthy Florida periodontist Charlie Adelson had hired to kill his brother-in-law. Markel was gunned down in the driveway of his Tallahassee home.

At Magbanua’s 2022 retrial, she was found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation to commit murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Adelson himself was convicted in November 2023 and his mother Donna Adelson was arrested just last month at Miami International Airport as she attempted to flee the country. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A new video of Donna’s arrest that was released last month marked the latest twist in the 2014 killing that was carried out by Garcia, who was the triggerman.

Magbanua and Garcia, who are both serving life sentences, were never married, but sometimes said they were, and had children together.

Magbanua’s life sentence is listed on her Meet-an-Inmate.com profile, but there are no details about her crime.

The website accepts all applicants regardless of crime, so they suggest that users research their potential pen pals’ crimes on their own before initiating contact.

Meet-an-Inmate.com has been helping inmates connect with the outside world since 1998, according to its website, which claims that it’s an “easy way to brighten up an inmate’s day.”

“Inmates who establish and maintain positive relationships with people outside of prison are less likely to return to prison in the future, also improving the inmate’s chances of successfully reintegrating into society when released. Becoming prison pen pals is an excellent way to do that. It’s amazing how a small amount of communication with the outside world can improve a prisoner’s outlook on life. Your letters are sure to remind them that they truly deserve a second chance.”

Newly released bodycam video shows Donna Adelson’s arrest at Miami Airport

Meanwhile, Rivera is serving a 19-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and testifying against the others.

Markel had been involved in a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, lawyer Wendi Adelson, and had gotten a court order barring her move from Tallahassee back to South Florida with their two young sons.

Authorities say the Adelsons considered offering Markel $1 million to let his ex-wife and sons move, but then Charlie Adelson and other members of the family began plotting his death.

The Adelsons immediately became suspects in Markel’s slaying after his ex-wife Wendi Adelson told detectives that the killing could have been arranged on her behalf, saying her parents were “very angry at Markel.” She told them that her brother had joked about hiring a hitman to kill Markel as a divorce gift, but he bought her a TV instead.

During his trial, it was shown that Charlie Adelson paid Magbanua $138,000, which she split with the killers, and the family then gave her a no-show job at their dental practice and other payments totalling more than $56,000. Charlie Adelson also gave her a used Lexus.

Wendi Adelson and her father, dentist Harvey Adelson, have not been charged. They have denied involvement.

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