People v. Girgis

Full title: THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. MAGDI GIRGIS, Defendant and Appellant


Date published: Apr 27, 2017


Ariet Barsoun, a Coptic Orthodox Catholic woman from Egypt, married Girgis in California in 1980. They had two sons, Richard and Ryan. Girgis was a strict and controlling father, particularly about money, and his relationship with Ariet was often strained.

Ariet worked in a factory and was the primary caregiver for her sons. In 2004, Girgis punched Ariet in the face, causing a bloodied nose and eye swollenness. The police arrested Girgis and placed a protective order on Ariet’s residence. Ariet asked Girgis for money for their sons but was denied. She compared Girgis to his brother, who paid for his children’s college expenses and took his wife out to dinner.

Ariet remained scared of Girgis after his arrest and discussed getting a divorce and moving to Northern California. Girgis tries to repair his relationship with Ariet by asking Richard to convince her to drop the domestic violence charges. Richard agreed, and Ariet signed documents recanting her earlier statements to the police. A proposed plea offer was made, but Girgis rejected it.

Girgis also expressed his willingness to kill Ariet and the deputy district attorney to get the case dropped. His brother sent anonymous letters to Detective Williams expressing concern for Ariet’s safety and the safety of the deputy district attorney.

Ariet testified that Girgis hit her and threatened to cut off utilities, not pay the mortgage, and empty bank accounts. Girgis filed a divorce petition, and Ariet planned to move to Northern California after Ryan finished high school. However, this plan was not to be. On September 29, 2004, Ryan entered the house through a back sliding glass door and fell asleep listening to music. He heard his bedroom door open and hit the backstopper, resulting in a violent confrontation.

Ariet, a woman who was murdered in 2004, was found dead in her master bedroom. The perpetrators, Bridget, were found to be gang members who were out of custody at the time of the murder. The family lived in a gated community, and the perpetrators did not take anything from the house or ransack it. The family had been active in getting publicity for their mother’s murder, regularly contacting the Westminster Police Department for updates.

In January 2010, Detective James Wilson was allowed to work on the case, and he identified Bridget as the killer. Officers devised an undercover operation to pose as gang members and approach Girgis for more money. In January 2013, Long Beach police officers Victor Thrash and Jerry Carter disguised themselves as gang members and approached Girgis outside of his home. Girgis handed Carter 15 $100 bills but was arrested and called Husein from the police station. Girgis claimed that the men threatened him and his children if he did not pay them $5,000 in 24 hours.

Girgis agreed to meet the officers at Home Depot and pay them the money, but he promised to call the police if he ever saw them again. Officers found about $10,000 cash in the master bedroom and downstairs bedroom, and Girgis had replaced a patch of carpet where Ariet had bled to death.



Finally, Girgis contends the trial court imposed a $200 fine under section 1202.45, which requires the imposition of a fine in a case where the court imposes a sentence that includes a period of parole. (§ 1202.45.) Girgis points out that he was sentenced to an indeterminate term of life without the possibility of parole, and thus, the fine was improper. (See People vOganesyan (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1178, 1184-1185.)

The People agree that a fine under section 1202.45 would not be proper here because of Girgis’s sentence. Nevertheless, the People claim that the court did not impose any such fine, but the court’s minutes and the abstract of judgment erroneously included one.

Here, the court ordered a $200 state restitution fine (among others). The abstract of judgment indicates a $200 restitution fine per section 1202.4, subdivision (b), and a $200 restitution fine under section 1202.45. The court’s minutes reflect the same two fines. Thus, the minutes and the abstract of judgment contain a clerical error and both parties agree that no fine under section 1202.45 should have been levied. As such, we will order the superior court to amend the minutes and abstract of judgment accordingly.

The superior court is ordered to modify the minutes and abstract of judgment consistent with this opinion. In addition, the court is to forward the amended abstract of judgment to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The judgment is affirmed as modified.

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