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OC Man Allegedly Hired Hit Men To Kill Wife To Avoid Costly Divorce

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WESTMINSTER (CBS/AP)— Prosecutors said a Westminster respiratory therapist hired hit men to murder his wife nine years ago so he could avoid a costly divorce.

60-year-old Magdi Girgis was arrested Friday and charged with three felonies in connection to the Sept. 2004 death of 55-year-old Ariet Girgis.

Officers said two intruders fatally stabbed Ariet in the family’s Westminster home.

Detectives said Girgis was always a person of interest.

KCAL9’s Serene Branson reported that the couple was going through a divorce and the victim testified in a domestic violence hearing against her husband days before she died.

Girgis was convicted in that case after his wife’s death.

“The suspect that we did arrest was always in the back of our minds, even though we didn’t have enough evidence at the time,” said Chief Kevin Baker of the Westminster Police Department.

The couple’s sons, Ryan and Richard, told Branson they’re still reeling from their father’s arrest.

Ryan, who was 17 when he was bound and forced into a closet by his mother’s killers, said the situation was bittersweet.

“I share good memories with (my father) in early childhood. (But) all along, I knew he had something to do with it,” he said.

Richard added, “We’re happy the case did get solved, but it’s sad because our dad had something to do with it. (Our mom) was a sweet woman who didn’t deserve any of this at all.”

Prosecutors said additional arrests are imminent in the ongoing investigation.

If convicted, Girgis faces a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole.

He’s also eligible for the death penalty.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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