A man was found guilty Thursday of murdering a Westminster woman in 2004 after being hired as a hitman by her husband, from whom she planned to file for divorce because of his abuse, according to prosecutors.
Magdi Girgis, 65, conceived of a murder-for-hire plot because he wanted to avoid the cost of divorce proceedings and held a medical license he did not want to lose if he were convicted, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
So he allegedly hired 44-year-old Anthony Edward Bridget to kill his wife, Ariet Girgis.
A jury convicted Bridget Thursday of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated assault. He was also found guilty of false imprisonment by violence after tying up the couple’s 17-year-old son in Ariet’s Plum Street home while he or an associate stabbed the 55-year-old woman to death, prosecutors said.
At the time, Ariet had already obtained a restraining order from her husband in conjunction with domestic violence case she had filed against him, DA’s officials said.
Magdi, who worked as a respiratory therapist, gave testimony in a preliminary hearing for the assault case in August 2004. The next month, in the early morning hours of Sept. 29, Ariet was brutally murdered.
One of the couple’s sons, Ryan, told KTLA in 2013 that his parents’ relationship was often abusive.
Ariet was at home with Ryan when two men entered the residence, bound and gagged the teen, then confined him in a closet, according to prosecutors.
They then killed Ariet, whose throat was slashed to the point that she was nearly decapitated, officials previously told KTLA.
The second man involved still has not been identified.
Ryan broke free of his ties once he heard a car leaving the home and immediately called Westminster police.
Magdi was not arrested in the case until nearly 10 years later, in February 2013, following a lengthy investigation. Ryan said his father had tried to contact him a few times before his arrest, but he chose to ignore him.
“We all along, we knew that he did it,” Ryan said.
The tragedy was very traumatic for the Girgis family, Ryan said, but he was glad justice had been served.
“I’m just happy he’s off the streets and there’s one less criminal out on the street,” he told KTLA at the time.
The 65-year-old is now serving life in prison without parole after being convicted in June 2014 of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The jury also found that he organized the killing for financial gain and to prevent testimony.
He had previously been convicted in the domestic violence case, DA’s officials said.
Bridget was charged with Ariet’s death following her husband’s arrest. But he was apparently already incarcerated, and transported from Soledad State Prison to Orange County Jail, authorities said.
The 44-year-old is expected to appear in court for sentencing on June 1 in Santa Ana, where he will face a maximum possible sentence of life in state prison without parole.