A Prominent Law Professor Was Killed In His Home, And Police Believe It Was A Targeted Attack
Markel, who earned a degree from Harvard Law School, primarily taught criminal law and launched PrawfsBlawg in 2005, where he wrote mostly in the areas of criminal law and the philosophy of punishment.
Police discovered the fatally-wounded 41-year-old in his Tallahassee home at 11 a.m. July 18. By Monday, the Tallahassee Police Department considered Markel the intended victim as it continues its investigation, doubtful that his murder was the result of a botched robbery.
"The initial investigation has provided no indication that this case is connected to a burglary or robbery and investigators are assuring residents there is no evidence this was a random act," the department said in a statement. "Neighborhood residents should continue to be vigilant but it appears at this time that Mr. Markel was the intended victim in this incident."
Police first responded to Markel's home after a neighbor reported hearing a loud bang, and he died of his injuries at a local hospital early Saturday morning, wrote David Lat on Above the Law, who described himself as Markel's friend and former college classmate.
Lat identified three possible origins for his mysterious murder, based only on the limited police facts and his own conjecture.
- Markel was murdered by a stranger in a robbery. Two of his neighbors said the upscale community has seen repeated burglaries and break-ins recently, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
- He was killed by a disgruntled acquaintance connected to his professional life, either a student or colleague.
- His murder had something to do with a "highly contentious" divorce plagued by ongoing legal disputes over finances and custody of their two young children, according to Lat. Markel's ex-wife Wendi Adelson is also a professor at Florida State University's College of Law.
The couple had two boys, The New York Times reported. Her lawyer, Jimmy Judkins, told The Times, "She's just devastated and scared to death."