Magdi Faiz Girgis Murder Plot Against Wife in 2004 Featured on NBC's Dateline TONIGHT

ryan-girgis_dateline-nbc.com.jpg
NBC.com
Ryan Girgis is shown after the then-17-year-old broke out of his ties on Sept. 29, 2004. He'd been bound by killers of his mother who had been hired by his father.

A cold-case murder plotted by a Westminster respiratory therapist who did not want to pay for his divorce from his wife in 2004 gets the NBC Dateline treatment tonight.

Here's the creepy trailer:

Magdi Faiz Girgis had a retraining order and pending domestic violence case against him by his 55-year-old wife Ariet Girgis, who was divorcing him and had forced him out of the family's Westminster house. Magdi Girgis did not want to pay for a divorce and he did not want to be convicted of a felony because it would cost the respiratory therapist his medical license.

So he had his wife bumped off.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2004, thugs who allegedly included 40-year-old Anthony Edward Bridget went to the Plum Street home of Ariet Girgis, who was there with her then-17-year-old son Ryan. Bridget allegedly bound and gagged the teen and forced him into a closet. At least one of the thugs murdered Ariet with a sharp object in her bedroom. The home was also ransacked before the thugs all fled.

Hearing a car driving away from the home, Ryan Girgis managed to break free and call Westminster Police. Homicide detectives had what appeared to be a home invasion robbery gone wrong, but the trail to the criminals eventually went cold. Meanwhile, if Magdi Girgis thought his wife's death would spare him the domestic violence rap, he was wrong. Ariet Girgis had testified at a preliminary hearing a few days before she was murdered, and he was convicted afterward.

The Dateline Friday report "The Man Who Was Not There," which airs at 8 tonight, details how James Wilson, a Westminster patrol officer at the time of the slaying, later investigated the cold case and discovered something didn't quite fit: Why had the home been ransacked without anything being taken?

Watch tonight to see how Wilson and other investigators cracked the case that--spoiler alert!--led to Magdi Girgis' arrest on Feb. 1, 2013. A jury in April found the now-62-year-old guilty of special circumstances murder, felony conspiracy to commit murder and found true sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain and murder to prevent testimony. He was sentenced in June to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Ryan and his brother Richard Girgis gave victim impact statements at sentencing, when they described living in fear of their father, who they know wished them dead, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA), whose Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste prosecuted the case.

Richard went on to describe how he now lives with a security system, dogs and sleeps with a gun under his pillow because of the actions of his father, reports the OCDA, adding that Ryan Girgis told of how he attends a number of weddings for his business and observes so many mother and son dances, knowing he will never be able to share that moment with his mom.

Bridget is charged with the same counts as Magdi Girgis plus felony aggravated assault and false imprisonment by violence as well as sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain, murder by lying in wait and murder during the commission of a burglary. He also faces life without parole with a conviction.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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21 comments
949girl
949girl topcommenter

I watched the episode.  The sons didn't have anything to do with their mom's murder.  It was all on dad.  I do think the one son had some shady drug dealings but I don't think that had anything to do with their mom being murdered.  Dad was dumb for falling for the setup though.  People don't carry out hits and then come out in broad daylight to blackmail you for a crime that happened several years earlier.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"80 percent of all cops are criminals and violate the laws while they are on duty and are being paid for violating those laws".

Angela Williams
Angela Williams

So sad for those two brothers. Their mom was their everything. Thank God the DA and detectives never gave jp on theur theory.

Califsurf
Califsurf

Yes, I too see the holes in this story loud and clear, and as far as I am concerned, this case has not been solved.  Throughout the entire Dateline episode the younger brother, Ryan Girgis, was emotionless with every question he answered and every statement he made, almost like he was a robot.  This was red flag number one.  Red flag number two was the fact that he ran out of the house without checking to see if his mother was safe and all right, something a seventeen-year-old boy should have done instinctively.  Although the older brother had more conviction in his responses to questions, his eyes were so bugged out it comes across suspicious.  As for the sting operation with the father, right away I wondered if he was trying to play detective.  Cops and detectives, along with that prosecutor who was so smug and constantly avoiding eye contact with the interviewer, are so hell bent on "winning" that they don't bother to turn every stone over in their investigations.  Yes, the father is a cold fish but being one doesn't make you a murderer.  And, why did the father carefully write down the serial numbers on each one hundred dollar bill?  What did he hope to accomplish?  Nothing can be taken at face value when it comes to people's lives; you can't send someone to prison just because you've come up with a belief. Every fact has to be considered.  I don't know who killed the mother but I see a lot of holes in this story; I especially see one brother who comes across very guilty in the face.  Hope they got it right.  But I don't think so.

tarheel39
tarheel39

The father has been found guilty and a man named Anthony Edward Bridget was one of the black thugs who  actually committed the murder.  So far the second murderer has not been caught. 

Neither son had anything to do with his mother's murder.. 

MapleLeaf6
MapleLeaf6

Did anyone else see the holes in this story? An intruder comes in the house and after he leaves the son does not check on his mother? What son does not check on their mother after a home invasion? He instead calls 911 stating the intruder said, "Don't get your mother killed." Still after 911 call he doesn't check on his mother? He doesn't check on her because he knew she was dead because he was involved! How about the interviews after the murder? Neither son or the husband seem shocked or even upset! Their responses were fake and unrealistic! Even on Dateline I did not find their statements to sound very believeable. The sons worked together or the father worked with them. It was all set up to look like a thug came in and killed this Ms. Girgis to make them look innocent. The son makes it a point to tell police that the thug took his gloves off to tie him up. The authorities miss this for many years which leads the sons to continue calling the department until they discover it. Dad probably wanted authorities off his back so he had the sons keep calling the station until they discover the one link to the gang member whio is supposed to clear the dad. Finally, an investigator realizes prints are on a shoelace and finds a match to a lifelong criminal and Crips gang member Anthony Bridget who of course matches the son's description. Ok so let me get this straight...a seasoned criminal came into the house with no sign of forced entry, did not wear a mask so he could be identified, tied the kid up with a shoelace and duct tape. Why do you need a shoelace if you have duct tape and you're twice the size of this kid? What Crips gang member uses shoelaces to tie someone up? These guys are hard core criminals! They don't use shoelaces as weapons! That's laughable! If this really was a hit the boys didn't know about this Bridget guy would have made this look violent and real. He would have been prepared, not strolling in the house with no mask and a shoelace in his hand! Give me a break! And leave the shoelace and duct tape lose enough for the kid to free himself? Yet he butchers the mother? Sorry doesn't add up! This kid had gang drug related connections and was able to somehow get this guy's shoelace and use it as the only DNA evidence besides family members to connect someone else to the scene. Then there's the knife his friend gave him at school, the strange emails no one could trace etc. all to make it look like some home invasion by a drug dealer. So why would the boys get involved with a plot to murder mom? Well, abusive, greedy dad told them if he gets a felony charge he loses his medical license meaning no money for them. So he forced the older one to make mom recant her statement. She gets on the stand and tells on her son and recounts years of abuse filing for divorce at the domestic violence hearing. Now the older son has grounds to be mad at mom. Dad tells the boys the divorce will cost him, he will lose his job, and therefore the boys will have no money. There goes the American dream he worked so hard all of his life to achieve! The father probably threatened to cut them out of the will or blackmailed them into helping. in some way. Who can we pin it on? Oh yes! One of your gang member cronies! Perfect! In the sting operation dad admits to some guilt of paying off some gang members, then meets to pay them. He could be paying them for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps one of these gang members caught wind of their plan, or he paid someone off who had a grudge against Anthony Bridget and would help implicate him by getting ahold of his shoelace. What they didn't anticipate was authorities always suspected pops, so they arrest him, and the boys throw him under the bus so they can remain free and live off pops cash. Thus, finally being free of his abuse! At trial, the dad cannot admit the sons were involved because it will implicate him as well, and he will have no chance at a not guilty verdict. The other possible scenario is the boys plotted out the murder themselves, maybe told dad it was a hit and got cash from him through a middleman. Or didn't even use a hitman and just planted evidence as if there was one. Then they work tirelessly to link it all back to dad as revenge for years of abuse!! There are many different scenarios here. But no matter what way you slice it these boys were involved! I just cannot get past the shady details of the home invasion, not checking on your mother first thing after a home invasion knowing you could possibly safe her life if she was wounded, the suspicious 911 call, and the unemotional reactions of the boys and their father when told of her death. A dysfunctional household, drug-related activity, domestic violence, greed and a tight bond between brothers who suffered abuse together all played a role in this crime! I guarantee you have not heard the end of this case! There are plenty of unanswered questions, and perplexing details that just don't add up!

Ron Aglio
Ron Aglio

Someone actually was found guilty of murder In Orange County ?

Donna Zdanowski Manio
Donna Zdanowski Manio

Yeah, I just turned on the tv and couldn't believe I recognized the younger brother. So, of course, I had to watch the whole story.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

a theory is a guess by the DA and the prosecutors and does not include the truth. T-Rack LOST the Kelly Thomas case and is a joke.


:The DA's complaint against you and the police report had all sorts of holes in it". - A public defender to me.

MapleLeaf6
MapleLeaf6

Totally agree! A lot of suspicious details!

Califsurf
Califsurf

@MapleLeaf6 I like the way you think!  Did you notice how on the 911 call the younger brother sounded as if he was trying to convince the operator of his "story?" His "acting" was awful.  I agree with you.  We have not heard the end of this case!

MapleLeaf6
MapleLeaf6

Something is not right with this story. Things do not add up. The son doesn't check on his mother after the intrusion! What son does not check on his mother after an intrusion? She could have still been alive! He could have saved her life! Still didn't go in after the 911 call! Why? He already knew she was dead because he was part of the plot or knew something about it. Also, the 911 call is fishy, only DNA evidence is fingerprints on a shoelace which the son reports in the interview, what gang member uses a shoe lace to tie someone up? This guy was a lifetime criminal. He wouldn't go in without a mask, leave prints, use a shoelace to tie someone up, and not even tie them tight enough to stay bound. Was Anthony Bridget even there? Or did the younger brother have connections to him through his drug sales and was able to get his shoe and use the laces as DNA evidence to turn authorities away from himself? Were the brothers and father working together? After all, the father was the provider and could have cut them off financially if they did not comply. Likewise, did you all see the reactions to Ms. Girgis death? Neither brother or the husband seemed shocked or upset. Their reactions were extremely fake and completely unrealistic! The whole thing was setup with the strange emails, the warning and the knife given to the kid at school, no forced entry, gang member to pin it on etc. I believe all three had some hand in this murder and the boys turned on the father in the end to get his money and lock him up for years of abuse. The father could not implicate his sons in trial because that would show his guilt and he would have no chance at a not guilty verdict. You have not heard the end of this case! If the father was working alone on the hit, he would have the wife killed when she was alone with no witnesses, and his son unharmed.

MapleLeaf6
MapleLeaf6

CaliSurf! Thank you! Finally someone else who is observant enough to see how suspicious that whole home invasion story was. The boys definitely were acting in their interviews. The 911 call was a huge red flag! There are several obvious pieces of the puzzle that totally fit together if someone were to do some real investigative work and consider the facts, along with the staged gang related home invasion. The son made a point of telling officers he dealt narcotics! He was planting the seed for the gang related intruder. He also stated on the 911 call that two blacks who looked like thugs or gang members were in the house. If you had just been attacked in the blackness of night, how could you be so sure of that? Just so many things that don't make sense! Bridget pleaded not guilty and is going to trial. It will be interesting to see what his connection is and what information he offers up!

Tina
Tina

I think you've made some very good points. Did you notice how when the interviewer asked the detective if he had any idea who the middle man might be, the detective said yes and started laughing in a knowing way? I immediately thought "they think Ryan (the younger brother) was the middle man!" The police and the prosecutors probably felt they didn't have enough evidence to convict Ryan, so instead used him as a witness against his father to get a conviction against the surer bet and the one who most likely instigated the murder plot.

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