Dan Markel’s divorce involves bitter custody battle over kids: Part 2

Markel’s wife Wendi Adelson wanted to relocate with the kids to South Florida to be closer to her family. The Adelsons were incensed when a judge denied that petition.
8:10 | 10/12/19

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Transcript for Dan Markel’s divorce involves bitter custody battle over kids: Part 2
Imagine that you're Dan Markel. You're on a short business trip to New York. You get a call from your wife. She tells you she's leaving you. You cut your trip short. You get the first flight home. But as you open the door, you notice the house is weirdly quiet. In September, 2012, Dan Markel returned from a business trip to his home in Tallahassee. He came home to an empty house. Effectively a house that had been stripped of its belongings. She took half the chairs and half the furniture. You walk into your bedroom. The bed is still there. And on it, you see a stack of divorce papers. She had moved money from savings accounts. She had taken his uncle's diamond engagement ring. That was a big deal for him. It was a unique way of being served. They seemed like the perfect couple. Wendi was happy and smiling, they had beautiful children. I am pretty good at detecting these things, more than most people. So I was shocked. But in that podcast she later recorded, Wendi made it clear the marriage just wasn't working. I do believe he loved me the best way he knew how. I mean, he didn't like fiction so why read my novel? In the marriage, there seemed to be a competitive element. Dan Markel was a tenured professor. Wendi was not a tenured professor. You know, things that maybe at first she thought she could live with, it kind of became clear how unhappy it was making her. She felt that she was being asked to keep the home while he engaged in his professional pursuits. And she felt that that was holding her back, in fact. Danny used to tell me that everyone thought I was such a nice pson and such a good person, but he was the only one that knew the truth about what a bad person I was. He was convinced I had deluded everyone but him. I was worried that he was being emotionally abusive towards her. Belittling her in a way and making her question herself in a way that I thought was really unkind and that extended over a long period. For probably a year after it happened he was focused on just trying to win her back in some way. He found Wendi and bought flowers and kneeled before her, asking her to take him back, and she said no. He did everything he could until she said, absolutely no chance I'm ever coming back. She had been talking to him for a long time about her unhappiness, thinking about divorce. He told her that if she ever did that, she'd never see her kids again. She'd be penniless. She left in the way that the lawyer judged safest for her and Things turned sour quickly. They were fighting over custody of their kids. Wendi was desperate to get the children out of here. She did not want to live here and would've like to have moved to south Florida to be closer to her family. She filed a motion to relocate the children. The acrimony and the fighting over the two boys was extreme. It could not have been more personal, more nasty. Dan was almost panic-stricken about not being a father to his he would give up almost anything if could just get an agreement where he could go hug his children and kiss them good night every night. And she basically played every card she could, she made every argument she could, and the court rejected it. The way that the marriage settlement had been arranged was they split custody. So the children were going to stay in Tallahassee. And there was a sense that Wendi was really stuck. It was all adversarial from that point. Donna, who is Wendi's mother, grows incensed when she learns that Wendi and her boys won't be able to move closer to her in south Florida. Danny made it clear to me that Donna did not like him. He would do a lot of Skype with the children, and one time one of the sons said, grandma called you stupid. According to emails between Wendi and Donna, really became unhinged, Donna writing these really long, 8,000, 10,000-word emails about how to circumvent this judge's ruling. This is one of the emails from not long after the judge ruled. Donna refers to Dan Markel as jibbers, which is clearly a derogatory term, and I'm not quite sure of its origin. It says, it's time to take control of your life and not let jibbers think he just won anything by having you remain in Tallahassee. Let's show this What will make him absolutely miserable. You know his weak points. Money, religion, control. A woman who's really staying up too late thinking about this too much. She was a little bit obsessed. Let jibbers know your children will be baptized in the catholic church. Take control from him. He's going to want you to stop this. Donna actually suggests to Wendi that they convert the grandkids to christianity because she thinks, well, Dan is such a devout Jew that he would prefer seeing his kids be moved away from him to Miami then keep them in Tallahassee as Christians. That gives you a sense of how desperate Donna seemed to be. Dan was pushing for only supervised visitation with the grandmother. It was bitter. They argued over seeing the kids, when they would see the kids. At some point it starts to taper off a little bit, at least stabilized to the point where Dan and Wendi can both get on with their lives. And for both of them that did mean dating. So Wendi was introduced to a social work professor at FSU, Jeff Lacasse. This is one of the first things that people point out about Jeff, is that he looked a little like Dan, strangely. Dan is dating as well. He found a new girlfriend that he really, really liked. And that relationship had kind of taken off. I said, you're having fun in life again. You're smiling a lot. The divorce no longer defines you. You have to start celebrating those things and walk away from this negativity. And he walked away from that conversation saying, you're right, and I really need to do that. July 18th, 2014. It's a little after 11:00 in the morning. A neighbor heard a loud pop at Dan Markel's house. He was parked in his black Honda in the garage. He happened to have been on the phone with a friend of his. So his friend was hearing muffled. He heard a voice, and then he heard the shot. A neighbor saw a car pulling out of the driveway and speeding off down the road. 911, what is the address of your emergency? We heard a loud bang and a car pulled away from next door. The driver's side window is all bashed in and he's got blood all over his head. He had been shot at close range. His face was completely obliterated. The dreaded phone call came in and they tell me some cockamamie story that my son's been shot. This was way beyond my dreams even. There was a lot of speculation about who could've been involved. Who would do this? I don't know. That's why I'm -- that's why you're here. And that's why we're talking.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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