Toronto-born lawyer killed in Florida working on kidnap conspiracy case: report

Daniel Markel, the Canadian law professor working in Florida who was killed last week, was working on a conspiracy case involving rabbis who were allegedly planning a kidnapping, a report states.

Tallahassee news station WCTV reports that Markel was hired “as a consultant in a New Jersey case involving four Orthodox rabbis. They’re accused of conspiring to kidnap and force Jewish men to grant their wives religious divorces. According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, two of the rabbis were recorded discussing plans to kidnap and torture victims. For one particular target, those plans included kidnapping the victim in a van and assaulting him with a cattle prod.”

Police have said Markel was the target of a premeditated murder.

He was found bleeding from a gunshot to the head in the driver’s seat of his car in his garage on the day he died, a 911 call released Monday revealed.

The 911 call to the Tallahassee Fire Department was made by a neighbour who was the first to find the Florida State University professor, who was shot July 18.

Markel was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The father of two did not respond to the neighbour but was moving. The keys were in the car, a window was smashed and the door was unlocked.

The neighbour saw what appeared to be a white or silver Toyota Prius driving away.

Police have asked for help in finding the vehicle of interest, though they had declined to confirm whether it was a Prius.

Markel was born in Toronto and was a 2001 graduate of Harvard Law School. He practiced white-collar criminal defence and civil litigation before joining the Florida State law school as a faculty member in 2005. He was tenured in 2010.

Police are attempting to contact anyone with a connection to Markel or anyone that saw him in several areas of Tallahassee the day of the shooting or the previous day.

CrimeStoppers has offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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