A 44-year-old man hired to help kill the estranged wife of a respiratory therapist in Westminster was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Anthony Edward Bridget, convicted in April, also was sentenced to 45 years to life on top of the life without parole punishment by Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley.
Jurors found true special circumstances allegations of financial gain and lying in wait, as well as conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Bridget restrained the teenage son of Ariet Girgis while another man killed her on Sept. 29, 2004, at the behest of her husband. The actual killer has never been found, Senior Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky said.
Magdi Girgis, 66, was sentenced in June 2014 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for hiring the hitmen to kill his 55-year-old estranged spouse.
The hired killers forced their way into the victim's home on Plum St. about 3:40 a.m. and Bridget tied up her 17-year-old son while his unidentified accomplice, who remains at large, inflicted 30 slashing and stab wounds on the Egyptian-born woman, who was "basically decapitated,'' Bokosky said.
Ryan Girgis had sneaked back into the home a couple hours prior after smoking marijuana with friends, the prosecutor said. He caught a glimpse of his mother -- his last look -- as she told the intruders to "take whatever you want,'' Bokosky said, "but they weren't there to take anything but her life.''
As the teen struggled with his captor, Bridget took the laces out of a shoe in the closet and used them to bind the boy. At some point, the youth sensed the attackers had left and made a run for it, passing by his mother's room because he was frightened the suspects might still be in the house and because he feared seeing what had happened to her, Bokosky said.
The teen dialed 911 from his cell phone while unsuccessfully trying to rouse neighbors to help him, she said.
The victim's husband liked to "hoard money'' and would have worked every day of the week if he could, Bokosky said. An argument with his wife about money in February 2004 led him to punch her in the face so hard that her sons brought her to a hospital, where the "ball got rolling'' on a domestic violence case, the prosecutor said.
Magdi Girgis, who was a respiratory therapist, feared losing his license if he got a felony conviction so he attempted to get his son, Richard, to convince his mother not to testify against him at a preliminary hearing so the case would get dropped, Bokosky said. But at that August 2004 hearing, "she didn't do what she was told'' and testified that her husband beat her and that she was scared of him, the prosecutor said.
"Lo and behold, two months later Ariet Girgis is forever silenced,'' Bokosky said.
The case went cold, but in 2011 Westminster police took another pass at it, the prosecutor said. She said DNA found on the shoelaces used to bind Ryan Girgis and on the teen's right index finger led investigators to Bridget.
In January 2013, police conducted an undercover sting pretending to blackmail Magdi Girgis, who negotiated a payment to the officers from $5,000 down to $1,500, Bokosky said.