Granny accused of murder-for-hire plot forced to sit naked in jail

MIAMI, Fla. – A grandmother from Miami Beach, accused of conspiring to murder her ex-son-in-law, has pleaded not guilty in a Tallahassee courtroom on Monday. Donna Adelson, 73, was arrested on November 13 at the airport. She and her husband tried to board a flight out of Miami International Airport to Vietnam. The one-way plane tickets to Vietnam were purchased shortly after her son, Charlie Adelson, was found guilty of orchestrating the shooting death of Dan Markel in 2014.

Adelson is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and solicitation in what prosecutors allege was a murder-for-hire killing of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel, her former son-in-law.

In an emergency motion filed last week, Adelson’s attorney, Marissel Descalzo, alleges jail staff are forcing her to sit naked and eat with her hands in a small cell. Adelson was also allegedly denied medication and forced to go days without a shower by jail staff.

The motion argued the alleged treatment is a violation of Adelson’s Sixth Amendment rights since she has been unable to communicate with or assist her attorney. Descalzo requests the court release Adelson on house arrest or force the jail to improve her conditions, release her from isolation, and “place Donna in a unit where she can prepare for trial and speak to her family.” It also requests an additional alternative, asking the court to consider issuing Adelson a “psychological evaluation” to place her in a different unit.

During the hearing, Adelson’s request to be moved out of solitary confinement was heard. Her declining health was also brought up. However, jail officials stated that they needed to monitor her due to previous threats of self-harm closely. Leon County attorney Gregg Toomey informed the court about her prior statements, including a phone conversation in which she discussed a plan to take her own life using sleeping pills. Despite her request, the judge denied Adelson’s plea to be relocated.

Prosecutors have alleged that Adelson played a role in the murder plot, alleging that she signed checks to another individual who was later convicted in the case. The details surrounding her involvement have not been disclosed.

Donna Adelson’s trial date has yet to be determined. She remains in custody at the Leon County Jail until further notice.