Wife, relative guilty in dentist murder

March 10, 2009 9:43:36 PM PDT
A woman hatched a plot with a relative to kill her ex-husband over a custody battle, a jury ruled Tuesday.Mazoltuv Borukhova was found guilty of murder and conspiracy and her distant cousin Mikhail Mallayev was convicted of murder, conspiracy and criminal possession of a weapon in the murder of orthodontist Daniel Malakov.

Prosecutors argured that Borukhova chose a public park in Queens as the crime scene so she wouldn't be suspected and planned to tape the shooting in case she was double-crossed.

Malakov, 34, was shot in the back by a man in a dark coat with a makeshift silencer as he dropped off his 4-year-old daughter, Michelle, to his ex-wife.

Borukhova, an internist, and Mallayev had pleaded not guilty in the Oct. 28, 2007, death of Malakov. They each face life in prison without parole.

Malakov had been granted temporary custody of the child a week earlier after a judge said Borukhova was hindering their relationship. Borukhova had told her ex-husband's relatives, "He took my child. It's already been decided. His days are numbered," according to prosecutors.

Jurors had deliberated for less than a day.

The slaying rocked the close-knit community of Bukharan Jews from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. New York is the home of the largest Bukharan population in the United States.

The five-week trial was often marked by loud wails and outbursts from both families, lawyers banging on tables and arguments between attorneys and the judge about scheduling conflicts, vacations and keeping the Sabbath.

The prosecution relied heavily on the eyewitness testimony of a teacher who saw the shooting and identified Malleyev as the shooter, as well as evidence of $19,800 in bank deposits made by Malleyev the week afterward. The distant cousins had also exchanged 91 telephone calls in the three weeks before the shooting.

Borukhova's attorney, Stephen Scaring, argued that no direct evidence linked his client to the killing. Mallayev's attorney, Michael Siff, said it was impossible for the witnesses in the park to clearly see who shot Malakov.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 21.


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