Katherine Magbanua returns to court ahead of Monday’s jury selection
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - After years of pandemic-related delays, Katherine Magbanua arrived in the same Leon County courtroom where, in 2019, a judge declared a mistrial following a deadlocked jury.
Leon County deputies delivered Magbanua to Courtroom 3G Friday afternoon for a pre-trial hearing ahead of a retrial which is set to begin Monday with jury selection.
Magbanua is charged with murder, solicitation, and conspiracy following the 2014 murder of FSU Law professor Dan Markel. Triggerman Sigfredo Garcia was convicted by a jury in 2019.
Judge Robert Wheeler said Friday he asked both prosecution and defense teams to an in-person hearing to go over the procedure ahead of Monday.
Judge Wheeler said jury selection could take two days and would follow a similar procedure to the first trial.
Roughly two hundred jurors could be interviewed as they work to select a jury.
Judge Wheeler said potential jurors will be asked questions about how much they know about the high-profile case.
“What they know about the case, what their source is for that,” he explained. “And based on what they know, do they have an opinion about the guilt or innocence of the defendant? If they do, can they sit that aside, can they render a verdict based solely on the evidence presented?”
The judge also made a ruling that changes how jurors will observe important pieces of evidence.
The defense team objected to a transcription prosecution wanted to share along when presenting wiretap phone calls between Magbanua and Markel’s ex-brother-in-law Charlie Adelson.
The judge said he would stay consistent with a ruling he made days earlier, banning a transcription for a newly-enhanced video capturing a conversation between the same two people at a restaurant.
Judge Wheeler also said the jury would not be allowed to ask questions during the trial.
Stay with WCTV for updates throughout the trial.
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