At a police station in Southern California, Ryan Girgis sat in an interview room across from his father, Magdi Girgis, who had just been arrested for arranging the murder of his wife, Ryan’s mother.
Ariet Girgis had been killed nine years earlier in 2004, when two men broke into the Girgis home in Westminster, restrained Ryan and stabbed Ariet to death, almost decapitating her. One of the assailants bound Ryan’s hands with duct tape and a shoelace, then forced him into a closet. After Ryan heard the men leave, he emerged and called 911.
Police were initially suspicious of Magdi, who, at the time of his wife’s murder, was awaiting trial for allegedly punching her in the face. According to authorities, Magdi was concerned the domestic violence case would threaten his career as a respiratory therapist, and that he would lose money and property to Ariet in a divorce.
No physical evidence, however, linked Magdi to the murder, and charges were not brought against him until 2013. Investigators made a break in the case when DNA testing of the shoelace used to restrain Ryan came back with a match to Anthony Edward Bridget, a known gang member who was imprisoned for an unrelated crime.
When Bridget refused to talk, Long Beach police hatched an undercover operation to determine if Magdi had paid Bridget and another assailant to execute his wife’s murder. Two officers posing as friends of Bridget stopped Magdi outside of his home and demanded $5,000 in hush money. They claimed police had been pressing Bridget about his involvement in Ariet’s death, and that if Magdi wanted the contract killing to stay underwraps, he needed to pay up.
Magdi agreed to meet the two men at a Home Depot parking lot, and once Magdi handed over a portion of the payment, he was arrested by Long Beach police. Investigators then called Ryan and his older brother, Richard Girgis, to inform them of their father’s arrest.
Both Ryan and Richard had been estranged from Magdi for more than nine years, as they believed he might have had something to do with Ariet’s murder, but Ryan agreed to meet his father at the police station.
Magdi told Ryan he still loved him, to which he replied, “No, you don’t. You don’t love me … You had a choice not to hurt me and Richard. You had a choice not to hurt your wife. Why did you do that?”
Ryan urged him to confess, but Magdi claimed he did not “hurt anybody.”
Magdi eventually went to trial, and he was convicted of murder with special circumstances, according to “Murder for Hire,” airing Sundays at 7/6c on Oxygen. Magdi was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, reported the Los Angeles Times. Bridget was also charged in murder-for-hire, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to KTLA.
To this day, the identity of the second assailant is still unknown. If you have any information regarding this crime, please contact the Westminster Police Department at 714-898-3315.
Watch “Murder for Hire” on Oxygen to find out more about the case.
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