Florida dentist convicted of hiring hitman to kill brother-in-law is sentenced to life in prison

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Florida dentist convicted of hiring hitman to kill brother-in-law is sentenced to life in prison

A Florida dentist was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after a jury convicted him in the murder of his brother-in-law over a bitter custody dispute, court records show.

Charles Adelson, 47, was found guilty last month of first-degree murder, conspiracy and solicitation in the July 18, 2014, killing of Daniel Markel, a Florida State University law professor who had divorced Adelson’s sister and had two children with her.

The murder charge carries a penalty of life without the possibility of parole, according to a judgment from the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County.

Adelson asserted his innocence at a court hearing Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

According to prosecutors, at the center of the fatal shooting was a dispute over the two children: Charles’ sister — Markel’s ex — wanted to move them from Tallahassee to South Florida, but Markel refused, and a judge denied the request.

Prosecutors accused Adelson of arranging Markel’s killing and paying his ex-girlfriend $138,000 in cash to have her ex-husband and an accomplice carry out the murder.

In testimony, Adelson acknowledged paying the killers, but he said he did so because they’d threatened him. If he didn’t pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more within two days, he said, they’d kill him.

The ex-girlfriend and her ex-husband are serving life sentences after they were convicted of first-degree murder. The accomplice was sentenced to 19 years after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against the others.

Adelson’s mother was charged in the plot last month after authorities said she had the means to finance the killing and provide ongoing compensation to her son’s ex-girlfriend.

Tim Stelloh

Tim Stelloh is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.

Associated Press

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