A 62-year-old Westminster man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for conspiring to kill his wife so he could avoid the cost of a divorce.
A jury found Magdi Faiz Girgis guilty in April of murder and conspiring to kill his 55-year-old wife, Ariet Girgis, for financial gain, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. He was sentenced Friday.
The couple’s two sons spoke during his sentencing and described how they lived in fear of their father, prosecutors said. One of the couple’s sons said he now sleeps with a gun under his pillow and has stepped up his home security.
“I forgive you dad for all that you have done to me and Ryan,” the couple’s son, Richard Girgis, said, according to footage of the hearing carried by KCBS-TV Channel 2. “Confess, repent.”
During the hearing, Magdi Girgis remained defiant, telling the judge he had “nothing to do with the killing of my wife.”
His wife had obtained a restraining order against him before she was killed. He was also facing assault charges in a domestic violence case.
Prosecutors say Magdi Girgis, a respiratory therapist, solicited one person to kill his wife because he didn’t want to pay for a costly divorce and feared a felony conviction would harm his professional license.
Days before Ariet Girgis was scheduled to testify during a 2004 preliminary hearing in her domestic violence case against her husband, prosecutors said Anthony Edward Bridget and other suspects entered the couple’s Westminster home.
Bridget reportedly bound and gagged the couple’s 17-year-old son on Sept. 29, 2004, and then forced him into a closet. During the break-in, Ariet Girgis was killed with a sharp object.
After Bridget and the other suspects fled, prosecutors said the couple’s son was able to break free and called police.
Magdi Girgis was ultimately convicted in the domestic violence case, prosecutors said.
Bridget was later arrested and charged in connection with Ariet Girgis’ death. He is scheduled to appear July 18 in an Orange County courtroom for a pretrial hearing.