SANTA ANA  ( — A Westminster man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a murder-for-hire plot that killed his wife.

Magdi Girgis still maintained his innocence when he addressed the court.

“You are about to sentence an innocent man,” he said. “And God is my witness. I had nothing to do with the killing of my wife.”

He urged the judge to find his wife’s real killers.

CBS2’s Michele Gile was in the emotionally charged courtroom when the victim’s sons asked the judge to give their father the maximum penalty.

Girgis said he was by no means perfect but that he had nothing to do with the stabbing death of his wife, Ariet Girgis, in September 2004.

Girgis was convicted of hiring the men who killed the mother of two. She was nearly decapitated.

The couple’s youngest son, Ryan, was home with her the morning of the murder.

“I was bound and tied up in my closet after a struggle,” Ryan said Friday at the sentencing hearing. “I still feel distraught with my mother’s last words: ‘Take anything you want.’ ”

The couple’s other son, Richard, asked his father to tell the truth.

“I forgive you, Dad, for all you have done to me and Ryan. Confess. Repent,” he said.

Richard said he and his younger brother, who the defense tried to blame for the murder, fear that their father will have them killed, as well.

“I sleep with a gun under my pillow,” Richard said. “I have an alarm, dogs and cameras around my house.”

The prosecution called the Girgis home a house of abuse. They said Ariet was a victim of domestic violence.

Months after she finally got the courage to leave her husband, the prosecution said, she was dead.

Ryan wanted to end his letter to the court with a moment of silence for his mother.

In stark contrast, Magdi broke down as he spoke about his sons.

“I’m not a bad father,” he said. “Maybe I am strict. But I love them. I love my kids.”


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