Thirty-six hours before he was gunned down in his Tallahassee home, law professor Dan Markel was pondering the death penalty.
On that night, July 16, his thoughts drifted to the number of Death Row inmates whose sentences had been vacated in California. He posted an essay on the subject to his widely read legal blog before going to bed.
Around 11 a.m. on July 18, Markel, 41, was shot in the head. He died the following day.
Investigators say Markel was targeted by his shooter. He was killed in his garage, according to a police report released Friday. Markel’s black Honda Accord was being processed by the forensics unit, the keys still inside.
But police haven’t said much more about the crime, which happened in a quiet, upscale neighborhood known as Betton Hills. The mystery has rocked the legal community and spurred scores of blog posts and online tributes.
"It's not only gruesome, it’s spooky," said Doug Berman, a criminal law professor at Ohio State University whom Markel referenced in his final blog post. "He was someone who was constantly engaged with criminal justice ideas, and thinking about how to handle human tragedies in profound ways. His obviously criminal slaughter brings that all together."
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