WESTMINSTER, Calif. (KTLA) — A man has been arrested in the cold case murder of his wife, who was stabbed to death and nearly decapitated nine years ago.
Ryan Girgis was 17 years old when, on Sept. 29, 2004, home intruders tied him up in a closet and then murdered his mother, slashing her throat.
While detectives believe it may have been a professional hit, they say Magdi Girgis organized it.
He was arrested for the murder of his wife, 55-year-old Ariet Girgis, last Friday.
“He contacted me a couple times, but I chose it was best not to talk to him at all, especially with the suspicion of him murdering my mother,” Ryan told KTLA.
“In one light, I’m happy that the case is getting solved, but it’s really sad just that our dad had something to do with it,” the couple’s other son, Richard, said.
The sons say their parents’ relationship was often abusive.
Their mother sought and was granted a restraining order against their father, who had served time for domestic abuse.
“We all along, we knew that he did it,” Ryan said.
But it took a while to break this cold case — more than eight years.
“We’ve been very patient with the information and the evidence out there, and very careful to make our move,” said Westminster police Sgt. Cameron Knauerhaze.
The O.C. District Attorney’s office says the motive is about money, and lots of it. The couple reportedly owned several properties in Orange County.
“The murder was committed for financial gain,” said Sonia Balleste, of the district attorney’s office.
“Mrs. Girgis was intending on divorcing Mr. Girgis, and he didn’t want to sacrifice any of that income.”
Now, Magdi Girgis may be facing a death penalty case.
He’s charged with conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder with special circumstances and false imprisonment.
Meantime, his sons say that they feel they already lost their father the morning their mother was killed.
“It was really traumatic. I’m just happy he’s off the streets and there’s one less criminal out on the street,” Ryan said.