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Former Respiratory Therapist Charges With Murder

February 13, 2013

Fred Thiagarajah

Mr. Magdi Girgis, a former respiratory therapist from Westminster, has been accused of hiring people to kill his estranged wife in the hope of avoiding divorce costs and losing his medical license.  Mr. Girgis has formally been charged with murder, since police are still searching for the murderers.

At a news conference on February 5, 2013, Westminster Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office formally announced the arrest of Mr. Girgis, 60, in relation to the murder of his wife Ariet Girgis.  Mrs. Girgis was stabbed to death at her Westminster home back in 2004 while one of her sons was bound and gagged in another room.

According to authorities, Mr. Girgis, was facing domestic-violence charges after being accused of assault by his wife, Mrs. Ariet Girgis.  Furthermore, authorities’ claim that Mrs. Girgis was attempting to file for divorce and that a restraining order had been issued against Mr. Girgis.  Prosecutors say that Mr. Girgis deliberately planned his wife’s murder in order to avoid divorce fees and avoid a felony domestic-violence conviction that would have been sufficient for the State to revoke his medical license.  Sonia Balleste, the senior deputy district attorney prosecuting the case said, “He wanted to keep all his money to himself.”

Police claim that in the early morning hours on September 24, 2004, at least two people entered the Girgis residence.  One of these individuals found, then 17-year-old Ryan Girgis and proceeded to bound and gag the teen.  Afterwards forcing him into a closet, police said. The other person entered Mrs. Girgis room, slashed her throat and proceeded to stab her multiple times.  By the time officers arrived via a phone call from Mrs. Girgis son (Ryan) the suspects were nowhere to be found.

According to Westminster Police Sgt. Cliff Williams, Mr. Girgis has been considered a person of interest since the start of the investigation.  However, it wasn’t until eight years after the murder of his wife, that he was taken into custody.  Since 2004 it is significant to note that Mr. Girgis had been convicted of the domestic-violence charge in 2005 and was sentenced to a year of jail and five years of probation.

While investigators declined to comment on what specific evidence they had to tie Mr. Girgis to the case, Sgt. Williams said that he feels very comfortable with the leads that they have.

Authorities say there is a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. They are asking anyone with information to contact Westminster police at 714-898-3315, district attorney investigators at 714-347-8492, or to leave an anonymous tip with Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS or

For the full story click here.


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