911 Call Released in Murder Mystery of Law Professor Shot Dead
A man called 911 after discovering his neighbor, law professor Dan Markel, in his garage shot in the head.
911 Operator: “What's going on with him?”
Neighbor: “I dont know. The driver side window is all bashed in. And he's got blood all over his head. His head's kinda rolling around.”
Operator: “Is he breathing?”
Neighbor: “I can't tell that, I assume he's breathing if he's moving his head around.”
Dan Markel later died at the hospital, but the question remains, who killed the prominent Harvard educated law professor? That's the mystery baffling detectives.
Police want to know if the gunman drove off in, of all things, a Prius.
Officer Dave Northway told INSIDE EDITION, “Our investigators do not believe this was a random act. We believe Mr. Markel was the intended victim in this case.”
The 41-year-old Florida State University professor was a nationally recognized legal scholar.
His friend, attorney Reggie Garcia, lives a block away. He said, “I was shocked. Everyone who knew him was shocked. He had a good sense of humor. He was also a mild mannered law professor.”
The murder took place at Markel's ranch style home in suburban Tallahassee, Florida. The professor was shot in the head as he spoke to a friend on his cell phone after pulling into his garage.
Officer Northway says the puzzling murder does not appear to be a robbery or a botched home invasion but a cold blooded execution.
Northway said, “There was no evidence to show that this was someone breaking into the house or Mr. Markel came into the home and surprised somebody.”
One significant clue could be the hybrid Prius. It is popular with environmentally-conscious drivers and was spotted in the neighborhood at the time of the shooting.
Northway said, “It’s a car of interest."
So who would want the professor dead? Could it have been a disgruntled student? Although professor Markel was well liked, he was also tough.
Garcia said, “Did someone get a "C" and think they should have gotten an "A" and they went and killed him? Anything's possible. That in my mind is 99 percent unlikely.”
Markel was divorced from a fellow FSU professor, Wendi Adelson. Their wedding announcement was in The New York Times in 2006. The couple have two young boys. Markel and his wife were still battling over custody.
Wendi Adelson has been interviewed by police and is not considered a suspect.
Garcia said, “She's distraught. Nobody thinks she has anything to do with this."
So, for now, the mystery continues. Who would kill a law professor who friends say had no enemies, except, apparently, one?
Northway said, “We are confident we will make an arrest in this case. Our net is as wide as it needs to be so we can bring whoever did this to justice.”