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Hey, everyone, just a quick thanks to one of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible Monday, dotcom success is not often achieved by the work of one person alone. It takes a team Monday. Dotcom offers a flexible platform to manage any team, project or workflow online, know exactly where things stand at any time with multiple ways to view the progress of any project. Whether you work with a team of five or 5000 Monday, dotcom is the easiest way to keep everyone aligned.

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It's the thing that most people would fear to be home asleep in your bed and have intruders come in and do the unthinkable. I felt like a hand being placed on my mouth. They started telling them, please don't kill me, please don't kill me. An attack in the night I was I really freaking out what's going on, what's going on?

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A mother murder looked like two girls had just committed the ultimate crime. She lived to tell police a harrowing story, was it true he's the only one who survived his practically unharmed?

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They treat me like a suspect or a witness. They are treating me like a suspected. Now, an undercover plan to solve the mystery is stepping out of the car right now.

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Who was the real mastermind? We all stopped breathing for about 10 seconds. I wanted to be wrong. I really wanted to be wrong.

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The American dream, so many of us wanted a loving family, the honest job. The home you can afford, the idea that you can start over here and in this new country, that better life will be yours. This is a story about that dream, about a family that worked for it, won it, and then what happened to them.

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However, this wasn't part of anyone's dream.

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So the other half, it broke in front of me and my mom.

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How could it happen in this safe gated community, in this home? They'd worked so hard to have everybody OK. I don't know a little bit about my mom and who deserved it less than this woman. My mom, Brown, and the heart to the family, Ryan Gergis was the baby of the family spoiled rotten by his mother, Ariete.

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He couldn't function without my mom. My mom was like the chef in the household, counselor at the full service. Mom. Oh, yeah, she did it all. Yeah, she was really, really nice. Sweet lady.

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She was one of those mothers who showed her love through food. Her cakes were legendary, making every birthday that much more special, says her older son, Richard. She made this really good upside down pineapple cake. It was phenomenal. I always remember cake and ice cream at the birthdays.

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Growing up, Richard was inseparable from his mom. Was she like the other moms that you're friends had? No, I think she was a bit more on the conservative side.

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Conservative because of where she came from, Harriet Gergis was born in Egypt and then came to the U.S. when she was 29 years old. Her family settled in northern California. Ariete led a comfortable, all-American life. But cultural ties are strong, and in 1980, Ariete was called back to Egypt to meet a nice young man named Magdy.

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When my mom went out there and meeting them, she like I mean, she really liked them.

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Years later, she would reminisce about how their romance blossomed in Egypt.

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You really can just go out like on dates and stuff. So they went together to the movie theater and then when it got real dark, my dad reached over and gave her like a kiss on the cheek, which was a very big deal. Yeah. For her it was. Yeah. I think that almost sealed the deal. It wasn't the American way of falling in love, but ARIAD seemed happy.

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She and Magda married just two weeks later in Egypt and moved together to California in 1981. Richard was born. Five years later came Ryan. Richard was delighted to have a brother to play with and to watch over. So you were his protector, big brother? Yeah, I was kind of to keep an eye on him. I love my brother with all my heart. How do you and your brother get along?

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Like best friends? I always looked up to him. Their dad was the classic working immigrant, Magda earned his license to become a respiratory therapist, then put in endless hours to keep a roof over his family's head and clothes on their backs.

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He came from a really poor country. So for him, it was like to come here. He was like working real hard to try to build things up and try to establish a life.

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Magda emphasized education, teaching both his son's math at an early age he strove and saved to help them all prosper, and they felt he would do anything to keep his family safe.

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He didn't want your family to get pushed around. Not at all. Not at all.

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It took many years of hard work, saving and investing. But Magney finally put together enough money to buy this home in a gated community in the city of Westminster, a quiet town in Orange County, California. The Gergis family was well on its way to living out the dream Magdy and Ariete had worked so hard to build. But then on September 29th, 2004, all of it came crashing down. Ryan Gergis, then 17, was out with friends and stayed out later than he was supposed to.

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When you get home like one to one 30. That night I slept the back door open and I went upstairs.

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His dad was not at home. His brother at work, his mom asleep.

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I remember I was fixing up my iPod dock and I fell asleep to music that night. Next thing I know, I hear a door open. And first instinct was that maybe it was my brother, his older brother, Richard, his best friend and protector, coming home, or so he thought. But it wasn't Richard kind of look back.

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And that's when I felt like a hand being placed on my mouth and it was a hand with some type of cotton glove.

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Can you see who this is? I of a black male that was heavyset. I was going for my brother on my mom to help me and I was really scared. Ryan says he fought the intruder a bit down on the hand. And I rolled off the bed and then I popped up and I was shoved into like the wall. And he's telling me that, like, to, like, shut up and calm down.

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The man put duct tape over Ryan's mouth and started taping his hands and feet together. And right after that, a second suspect comes inside and he starts making threats to me, like, don't get your mom's killed, don't get your mom's killed, don't get your mom killed. That had to be terrifying to hear. Yeah.

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Yeah, I was really terrified. What did you think was going on? I didn't know what was going on. I thought I thought maybe it was like a robbery or something.

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A terrifying situation was about to get much worse. Through the hallway. I saw my mom yelling, take anything you want, take anything you want. And then after that, I just noticed that the guy was taking my mom away, like towards her bedroom. Ryan's attacker dragged him into the closet, but then noticed the duct tape was slipping around Ryan's hands. I heard him taking like some shoe string off of one of my shoes using the shoelace.

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The man tied Ryan's hands behind his back through the closet door. Ryan pleaded with his attacker.

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I started telling him, please don't kill me, please don't kill me. And I started praying. And during that time, he was like, I know your circumstances. I know what you're going through. I'm not going to kill you.

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I know your circumstances. Strange as those words sounded, Ryan found them somehow comforting. And then after that, like I started feeling a little bit of a sense of relief.

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But then Ryan heard a sound that would come to haunt him. I heard like a cutting of a sheet. So I thought he was like cutting my sheets off. I didn't love, like, what was going on and what was going on was worse than anything he could have imagined. I have to tell you, I will kill you.

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A panicked call to 911, one and another to his brother.

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I was, like, really freaking out. I was like, what's going on? What's going on? What really happened inside that house? Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Ryan Gergis had just been through a terrifying ordeal, two men breaking into his home in a gated community in the middle of the night.

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Both bloggers and literally huge to me and like their whole persona and just was like gangsters and like thugs.

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You'd never seen them before. Never, ever.

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They tied him up, threw him in a closet, but not before he saw one of the men drag his mother into her bedroom. He says he thought he heard the man walk out, thought he heard a car drive away. But for a few more moments, Ryan sat in that dark closet, heart thumping, afraid, he says, to come out. It was now or never. Ryan says he managed to untie himself and grabbed his cell phone.

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I went down the hallway. I looked to the right really quickly. I noticed that the door was like in like a closed position to your mother's bedroom. To my mother's bedroom. Why didn't you check on her? I wanted to get out of the house as far as possible and then come back with help. You had to be thinking, that's my mom and I got to go see how she is. The whole time I was like, I need to get out of this house and come back with someone because I already got overpowered by myself.

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He ran outside the house and called nine one one happened.

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People just jumped in my car and they just can't get out there. Like, don't they have to carry out the killing? You have to kill you. I will kill you. Don't get your mom killed. Ryan called his dad McGeady. He was shocked and asked two things if Ryan was OK and where Ariete was and Ryan didn't know. Ryan also called his older brother Richard, who was working the night shift at the Queen Mary Hotel. What did Richard say when you called him?

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He questioned if I was all right. He questioned where's mom? He also questioned who do you think it is? Someone you know. Ryan, why would Richard think that you might know the people who had broken the glass?

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Well, he felt like I was the one that got tied up and things like that, and they came into my room. So he just was like questioning like Ryan. Is it something having to do with you? Like what? What's going on? Did they have a personal vendetta on you or anything?

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As you'll see, that's a question that would come up again. After Ryan's call, Richard left work and drove to the house, but the police tape was already up and they wouldn't let him through.

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I was like, really freaking out. I was like, what's going on? What's going on? And, you know, and I was asking him, I was like, where's my mom? Where's my mom at?

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Police took Richard and Ryan to the station. The boys were surprised to find themselves split up and sitting in separate interview rooms, Ryan's hands were back to preserve any evidence. But before detectives could ask too many questions, Richard asked one of his own. But my mom, before I go on this, I just days. So we have a murder investigation. Oh, no, she's not. No, she's not. I didn't hear that. I didn't hear that.

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Ryan says he didn't know what was happening right then, but he could tell it was bad.

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Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

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I just hear, like, a scream and I'm like, what just happened? It sounds like Richard, my brother, and he is screaming to the top of his lungs. No, she's not.

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She's not. You can't see Richard. You can just hear him.

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I could just hear him in another room and he's going hysterical. I've never heard him scream like that in my whole life.

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Oh, my God. That's my little brother.

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Not police told Ryan the same awful news that their mother, Ariete, had been murdered.

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The people that are now the cops started asking questions, and that wasn't all they did. Police took your fingerprints.

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Police took my fingerprints, cotton swabs, DNA, you name it. They did it. They treated you like a suspect or a witness. They are treating me like a suspect at this point.

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Did you have a chance to check on your mom before you ran to her mom? I didn't want to chase after me or anything, but I just ran out of the hours before your mother and the pass by. My mom had passed by your room downstairs. Yeah. Did you? I didn't even look, I just ran the back of that car.

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Richard was facing questions that were slightly different, but just as skeptical.

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What I'm asking is, why would someone figure out how to break in? I don't know, man. I wish I knew. I don't know.

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Cops to your fingerprints and your DNA. Yeah. Did you think to yourself they're looking at me as a suspect? Yeah, it was scary. I've never been in that situation with the police.

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But the detectives focus seemed to linger on his brother Ryan. This wouldn't be like directed against him that, you know, I don't know do. I don't know the first reaction I had when he called, as I was like when I was at one of your friends to sort of break into something, that was your first reaction?

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My first reaction was that as police continued their questioning, one question stood out. Above all, why would these two? Thugs come into your house, basically not hurt you, and then really brutally kill your mother and leave behind a witness. Yeah. This investigation was about to take a turn that no one expected. Look, like two girls have just walked in and committed the ultimate crime, DNA and CSI, what will the evidence reveal?

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Oh. Ryan Gergis was attacked in his own home and hours later, given the worst news imaginable, while he had managed to escape his mom, Ariete had not she was dead, all of which begged a pressing question, why would they kill her and leave me?

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Police and even his own brother were asking the same thing. How many murders you get in Westminster?

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Not that many, really, Sonya.

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But yesterday was a deputy D.A. in Orange County, California. The Arijit Gurgis case landed on her desk.

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It's a nightmare. It's the thing that most people would fear to be home, the sanctity of your home asleep in your bed and have intruders come in and do the unthinkable.

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Police found Aritz body near her bed. She'd been stabbed multiple times. That odd tearing sound. Ryan said he heard investigators believed it was the sound of the knife ripping through the mattress as Ariens killer slit her throat. Was that knife found at the scene and was not?

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James Wilson was a patrol officer at the time of the murder. Wilson says the details of the crime scene pointed to something other than a home invasion robbery, in part because nothing appeared to have been stolen.

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This was not a burglary in which she was sort of collateral damage.

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Definitely not. Cash was in plain sight.

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Jewelry to even Ryan's iPod and new doc all untouched. The house wasn't even rummage through the stuff. They were looking for something. What's more, this was a gated community.

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The killers would have needed a gate code to get in. To start getting more interesting as to who could have done it. Crime scene investigators collected mounds of evidence and surprisingly, with all that blood, not a single trace of unknown DNA, all the DNA results matched the people who lived in the house, Ariete, Magdy, Richard and Ryan, the witness who for some reason was left alive.

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Two guys came into the house, beat up Ryan, tie him up and then kill Ariete in a brutal hands on way and leave no trace.

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That's what I look like. Look like two girls have just walked in and committed the ultimate crime.

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It seemed improbable and it encouraged detectives to look closely at Ryan. He claimed to be a victim. But was he really? Police learned the friend he was with the night of the murder and offered Ryan a knife for protection just hours before Ryan's mother was brutally killed with a knife, a knife that had not been found. They also learned Ryan smoked marijuana and not just at the occasional party. He smoked every day. And he wasn't just smoking. I was helping out some like.

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I felt like my car, what kind of marijuana?

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Police found small amounts of marijuana in Ryan's room, along with a bong baggies and tinfoil, and there was more like the description Ryan had given detectives about the two suspects, both male blacks there were large.

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He said that they acted like they were from a gang, but that was something that we still didn't know 100 percent sure if that was true or not.

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Claiming two black men committed the murder seemed almost too convenient and more troubling. If Ryan had been beaten by gang members much bigger than he was. Why didn't he look like it?

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There's no question that if Ryan had been in a serious duking it out fight with a couple of guys, that he would have ended up much more battered than he was if those guys wanted to hurt him worse than they did.

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Definitely so.

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Yes. And remember, Ryan had told police that one suspect said, I know your circumstances. I'm not going to kill you. The basis. Was that true? And if so, what did it mean? And then there was the issue of Ryan claiming to have left the house before he so much as took a peek into his mother's bedroom that struck anybody. I think so. As a detective, you have to consider why somebody would do that.

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Soon, detectives found out Ryan had more dark secrets than they'd realized.

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He's the only one who survived. He's practically unharmed. New questions for Ryan and a new clue. Had he received a warning before the attack popped up?

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I better watch your back. I know where you live. Investigators looking into the savage murder of Arijit Gergis naturally took a hard look at the only other person known to be in the house when she died, her 17 year old son, Ryan.

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He's the only one who survived. He's practically unharmed. He he was selling the small amount of drugs.

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We had to pursue that couple more things like police still had a lot of questions about Ryan's story, but they hadn't yet found any evidence to suggest he killed his mom. For now, at least, they had to take him at his word.

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Until you can find a reason not to believe that person, you kind of have to go with what they have to say unless they start lying to you. As far as you knew, Ryan was not lying as far as I knew.

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Yes, but the investigation was just starting and police could not discount another possibility. That area was killed because of Ryan. Detectives learned that a year before the murder, Ryan had confronted another kid at school who hadn't paid him for some weed. Later, that kid's friends jumped.

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Ryan doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would spark a homicide, but. I'm guessing you've seen homicides that were sparked by a lot less. It is typical for especially gang related homicides to be something just as small as that.

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Remember, Ryan described his assailants as sounding like gang members. And then there was this bombshell, a message Ryan received on his AOL Instant Messenger just weeks before the murder.

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About a week ago, he said he brought it to detectives attention during his interview and it popped up.

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I better watch your back. I know where you live. Like I never everyone to my friend, but I find him really pay attention to it, you know, keeps looking.

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Ryan told police he had chalked it up to a prank. Now it seemed like key evidence, except Ryan had not saved the message. No way to tell now who had sent it.

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Any idea who was wrong? No. AOL able to help you with any of them know a frustrating dead end.

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But by now, police were looking at other possibilities. They dug deeper into the American dream. The Gergis family seemed to be living and interviewed the man of the house, Magdy. How did you feel about your mother? That's the first day that we live together for 24 years. Is she the mother of my kids? He really didn't have any vices, he didn't spend any money on any hobbies of any sort. So he was a guy who went to work and went home.

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But their father wasn't just a hard worker, said his sons. He was more like a workaholic. I think my mom felt neglected. He wasn't affectionate towards her. It was like all he would do is just work. I played sports like all my life, and he never, ever came to watch any sports that I played a lot of the childhood, a lot of me growing up. I can remember a lot about my mom, but I don't remember a lot about my dad.

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And it's not because I don't want to. It's because he just wasn't there. He would come and go to sleep, get up, go back to work, go to sleep, get up, go to work.

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That was because for Magney, they said the American dream was all about the green. He was work, work, work, money, money, money. Exactly. After a rare outing to the beach one day, Ryan says he and his father dropped by McDonald's.

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I asked them if I could borrow a dollar so I could grab a 99 cent burger. And not only did he ask for that dollar back, he also asked for the tax money on it.

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What kind of father asks his 13 year old son to reimburse him for a one dollar hamburger? My father, he was always trying to, like, hustle someone for for some type of money.

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It didn't take prosecutors. Sunia, best a long to learn about Maddie's obsession. This is the United States.

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Everybody goes to work. Everybody tries to make money. Everybody tries to provide for themselves or their family. He's different.

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Yes, he's very different. He's in a category of very few people who have an unhealthy. Relationship with money, it drives everything that they do. We're not talking about. Penurious or thrifty? No, we're talking about squeezing every dollar and rollerblades.

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Yes, his sons describe Magdy as not only obsessed with work and money, but also a strict disciplinarian. Did you love them? Yeah, they love him. Were you scared of him? Yeah. From when I was a kid, I felt like there was like a thin line and I didn't want to cross anything.

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The brothers say they saw what could happen when they crossed that line one night when Ryan was 14 and came home past curfew. They say Magdy simply lost it.

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They threw me on the floor and he started kicking me and my brother had to pull them off of me. Your brother kind of shielded you a little bit, then he. He did. He did. Sounds like you were closer to your brother than you were to your father. Very much so.

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Ryan rebelled, staying out late, smoking weed. Richard was more dutiful, but he too felt his father's wrath. A punch, a kick, you kind of name it depending.

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I would find that the sooner I would cry, the sooner that it would stop. It's a tough lesson to learn from your dad.

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He was a very harsh person, which has made it more fortunate to have my mom in my life because she was like the complete opposite.

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As tough as he was on his sons, they say Magdy was just as tough on his wife. Ryan and Richard say they never saw their father hit their mother, but they say they heard the yelling and they did see the bruises.

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We never, ever called nine one one. I was just like, we have that sense of fear that we didn't want to. We didn't want to cross the line. You were more afraid of what your dad would do to you if you did call nine one one than what might happen to your mom if you didn't. Yeah, yeah.

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So the boys stayed quiet, but a storm was brewing. In the end, Ariete would give investigators their best lead. I really felt like my mom was like empowered a transformation and a confrontation. There's no going back. And so the life you had before was never going to be the same.

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As investigators worked the murder of Ariete Gergis, they heard disturbing information from her son's most disturbing by far was what happened seven months before the murder in February 2004, on the eve of Magney and Ariete 24th wedding anniversary.

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So she starts talking to Maddie. Can we go out to dinner? That's what starts this fight doesn't sound like it was a very long fight. No, he punches her in the face.

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Richard remembers arriving home that evening and seeing his mom. She looked very subdued. Her face was swollen. Her nose was still like bleeding. So I went upstairs and I confronted my dad.

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What was his response? He told me to stay out of it.

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But Richard, in nursing school at the time, worried his mom could have a concussion or worse. He rushed her to the emergency room.

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They had kept their family secret for so long, but that was about to change. The nurse asked her, like, what happened?

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And your mom said, My mom told her that, you know, he punched me in the face.

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That started the whole cascade.

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Police went to the gergis home and arrested Magdy. That was really scary. That was scary.

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Not thrilling. It was terrifying. Not not the moment you've been waiting for.

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No, no, no, no, no, no. There was no point of return. Somehow, I knew immediately after that that it was like, there's no going back. There's no going back.

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And so the life you had before was never going to be the same.

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A court issued a protective order and Magney moved out of the house he'd worked so hard for to an apartment complex he and his brother owned nearby.

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After more than two decades of marriage, it seemed Magni and Ariete were headed for divorce. It was a thought that seemed to terrify Ariete.

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I think she was scared and had a lot of cold feet about striking out on her own in the world. Exactly. The area was totally dependent on McGeady.

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She'd never written a personal check, didn't even know their mortgage was paid off.

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She had expressed to me like, you know, I wish others would just not be here or I was, you know, everything could go back to the way it was maggoty to seem frightened and perhaps chastened.

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He was definitely trying to get back with my mother. Did it seem like your mom was. Wavering at all? Yeah, there was a limbo period where my mom was considering taking back. Richard, who had stepped up during his father's absence as the man of the house, overheard a strange conversation between his parents. He was like, Oh, you know, I love you.

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Had you ever heard your dad say, I love you to your mom? I can't really recall that until that conversation when he needed something from our. Yeah, what did Magney need? It turned out he was more worried about himself than anyone else, a domestic violence conviction might cost him his respiratory therapist license, which would cut off his income. And Magney knew a divorce would force him to split his hard earned money with Ariete goes back to the law.

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Yeah.

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So McGeady came up with a plan, a letter in which Ariete would say she wasn't sure what happened, that her injuries could have resulted from a fall. Magney and Ariete weren't speaking at the time. So Magney convinced Richard, the dutiful older son, to transcribe the letter and persuade area to sign it, thus getting her husband off the hook.

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Do you feel bad at all trying to get your mom to change her story of something that you knew she was telling the truth about? Yeah, back then I kind of felt like like I was just trying to help. And maybe the price of saving your family is. Convincing your mom to lie about something that you know is true, he really just manipulated me. He knew his mother had mixed feelings about the breakup of her marriage. Richard told himself he was doing the right thing.

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I was trying to support my mom. At the same time, I still thought that he was my dad. I felt really pulled.

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Ariete agreed to sign the letter. Magney no doubt breathed a sigh of relief. But then came his preliminary hearing in which Ariete did something quite unexpected. She took the witness stand and she told the truth. She felt that enough was enough. So she went and she really laid everything out, not just about the night Magda gave her a black eye and bloodied her nose, but about abuse Ariete described as stretching over two decades. Did your dad feel betrayed?

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My dad was like, I can't I can't believe what she said up there.

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Arijit Gergis had finally stood up for herself. It might have been the manifestation of her own American dream. ARIAD hired a divorce attorney and began planning a new life.

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I really felt like my mom was like empowered. She just wanted to be happy, you know, that she felt like those happiness, like coming.

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Instead, the next month she was murdered. And to investigators who heard Ariete story, it now seemed obvious her husband, McGeady, was the prime suspect. Everything pointed at Baghdad except for the fact that phone records prove that Maddy was at his own apartment when Ryan called him that night. And according to the only witness, two black men committed the murder.

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And there was still the question of why that witness, Ryan, was left alive. And just a few days after his mother was killed, the rebellious son, Ryan, received another anonymous message on his computer. How did you like your gift? Hello. Well, hello. Well, how did you like your gift? Yeah. An aha moment for police, a new look at that old interrogation of Ryan. You say you beat this guy. Yeah.

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You have to take off the gloves to put on the tape.

[00:35:06]

Could it lead to the break they'd need for. Investigators were zeroing in on Magdy Gergis as the prime suspect in the murder of his wife Ariete, the two had been going through a domestic violence case and were divorcing.

[00:35:34]

You know, he's an obvious suspect, but that doesn't mean he did it no matter how noxious he may have been during the marriage.

[00:35:41]

Maybe he's not the guy that you're looking for.

[00:35:43]

Sure.

[00:35:44]

You have to explore every possibility, especially after the couple's son, Ryan, received a taunting message on his computer days after the murder. How did you like your gift? L l l l l l you didn't make any sense to me. Police looked into it. But just as with the threat Ryan received weeks before the murder, they weren't able to track down the sender of those messages.

[00:36:10]

In hindsight, you wish some more work had been done on that? Yes. Older brother Richard also came under scrutiny.

[00:36:17]

Richard had sort of stuck up for maybe even covered for his father during the domestic violence investigation. Did you guys think he might be doing that again?

[00:36:28]

Initially, they believed there was a possibility, yes. Soon after the murder, the brothers left Westminster and moved to Northern California, and they did so without telling Magdy. As police continue to dig, Richard and Ryan say they worried whoever killed their mom was still at large and knew Ryan was a witness to the crime. I have recollections.

[00:36:55]

I have nightmares. I also get chills. I don't like to be at home by myself. I have trouble sleeping. I mean, the list goes on. Ryan and Richard say they had a growing suspicion their father was responsible for their mother's murder. They said they were too scared to confront him. But in the months that followed, the investigation seemed to stall things like you had a lot of leads, that kind of. And going anywhere. We had a lot of paths that we went down.

[00:37:28]

Yes, remember, there was no physical evidence linking Magdy to the murder. Ryan said it was two black men who'd broken into the house and killed his mom. Police had never found those men or any trace they ever existed. And those threatening messages to Ryan. Still no idea who sent them either.

[00:37:53]

Was there a point where you thought maybe this won't ever be solved? It's hard to think that way when you desperately want to solve it. But yes. And so the years rolled by, Richard became a critical care nurse. Ryan, the self admitted Stoner, says he stopped smoking, he was working toward a bachelor's degree in business and it started his own events. An entertainment company, McGeady, would have been proud of his boys if he knew how far they'd come.

[00:38:24]

But Richard and Ryan say they never once got a call from him in all those years and they made no effort to contact him. The brothers did call the Westminster Police Department again and again, urging detectives to investigate their father and each time they heard the same response.

[00:38:45]

You know, we're still looking into it, but we don't have any new leads. There's nothing depressing.

[00:38:51]

It was they made endless calls enlisting family and friends to write America's Most Wanted, and they raised a 55000 dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. All of it led to nothing. How many other cases you do in those years?

[00:39:11]

A lot of murders, but something about this one stuck with you? Absolutely. There's something about ARIAD that made you not want to quit. You don't ever want to quit on any case. But I think that. The fact that she came so close. To being an independent woman, to standing up for herself, to being the kind of mother that she wanted to be to those boys and she did everything right and she died on our watch. It was terrible feeling.

[00:39:43]

Terrible feeling, it was 2010, nearly six years after the murder, when Richard made another of his many phone calls to the Westminster PD.

[00:39:55]

This time it was James Wilson who answered he'd been a patrol officer at the time of the murder. But in the intervening years, it worked his way up. The detective. I really didn't have very good answers for him.

[00:40:08]

What's going on with my mom's case? What are you guys doing on my mom's case? And I know there's nothing really going on his mom's case, so I just started looking into it out of guilt. I think an obligation, really, you know, this is one of the reasons that you become a police officer is to help people like that.

[00:40:22]

And as Detective Wilson pored through the mountain of evidence on the case, he came across that interview detectives had with Ryan right after the murder. Reading through the transcripts, he saw a key detail that no one had noticed.

[00:40:39]

You say you beat this guy on the head with it on the hand or through a glove or I think I threw a glove. He had to take off the glove to put on the table.

[00:40:51]

Ryan was telling detectives the intruder took his gloves off before handling the duct tape and also the shoelace used to tie him up. You know, have to be a detective to think, well, maybe that might have some DNA on it. Detective Wilson checked to see if the shoelace had ever been tested. It had not. So he sent it off to the county crime lab. And sure enough, one afternoon, eight years after Arian's murder, Detective Wilson's phone rang.

[00:41:23]

Crime lab did call me and told me that they got a hit and no one could have predicted the name. Police were given. It had to be our suspect wasn't even in our computer, a whole new suspect was this guy.

[00:41:40]

Did you know where he was? I knew exactly where he was.

[00:41:46]

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[00:43:44]

Oh. It was 2012, eight years after the murder of Ariete Gergis, when Detective Wilson got his first solid break. Home invaders had tied up Ariat son Ryan with a shoelace. The detective submitted the shoelace to the crime lab, hoping for a long shot. DNA hit and now the results were in. It had to be our suspect or at least one of our suspects in the name the crime lab gives you for the DNA.

[00:44:22]

It is Anthony. Bridgitte, was that name in any of the case files? No, not someone who had been talked to at any stage in this investigation.

[00:44:30]

Wasn't even in our computer. Our in-house computers has ever been a person that's been contacted by a police. And yet the DNA proved Anthony Bridgitte was the attacker who had tied up Ryan.

[00:44:42]

Detective Wilson entered Brigid's information into a computer.

[00:44:46]

So who is he? He's a member of the Trece five seven Crips, the Crips, one of the most notorious and violent gangs in the U.S. and Mr Bridgitte street name Little Shotgun was by any standard a professional criminal.

[00:45:04]

He had numerous violent conduct, including prior conviction for manslaughter. So this was No. Navis long violent rap sheet, absolutely, Bridgitte also had a drug conviction, and remember, Ryan Gergis admitted he sometimes dealt weed. Could Ryan and Anthony Bridgitte have known each other? Is that why Richard immediately wondered if Ryan was the target of the attack? Police considered that theory and dismissed it. In fact, for police, Anthony, Bridgitte and his gang affiliation confirmed Ryan's story.

[00:45:45]

For one, Bridgitte matched Ryan's account that the man who tied him up seemed like a gang member.

[00:45:50]

He was one of those guys that came out of the Panther. And if I wanted revenge on someone and to Bridget's prior booking photos matched the sketch Ryan had given police.

[00:46:03]

And so investigators developed a different theory about Bridget's involvement.

[00:46:08]

We had to assume that you would expect. The intruders who came to kill area to have the kind of guy you'd hire to commit murder. That's right.

[00:46:21]

And they suspected the person who hired him was Magdy Gergis. But, of course, there was no proof of any of that.

[00:46:29]

I'm guessing one of the things you did pretty early on was Subpena Magnes Bank records. Oh, yes. Looking for that big chunk of money that he took out a few days before his wife was killed.

[00:46:42]

You could help, but. But it wasn't there. It wasn't there. Well, maybe he's innocent.

[00:46:48]

Maybe he's just careful. Careful, perhaps. But in what universe would Magdy Gerges and Anthony Brigid's paths cross? One way to find out.

[00:47:02]

They could ask Anthony, Bridgitte, did you know where he was? I knew exactly where he was. He was in Soledad State Prison prosecutor based and Detective Wilson decided to pay him an unannounced visit. And there you are, a little room.

[00:47:20]

Yes, a table like this one between you and you say, I want to talk to you. And he's a little surprised, right? He's a little surprised. Yes.

[00:47:31]

But Anthony, Bridgitte was hard to rattle. He's been involved in gang related homicides in the past, um, pretty experienced at the prison system.

[00:47:42]

So saying to him. Hey, the guy that hired you back to you're just just rolled over on you, that's not going to work, right? This is not a virgin. Exactly. But they did get something you said to him, I have your DNA on a murder scene. Yes. And he said where? He said, we're not I haven't committed any murder. Did you ask him whether he knew maggoty? No. We never got that far during crisis, here's what Bridget didn't know.

[00:48:14]

The prosecutor and the detective didn't really care what he said. Their target was Magdy Gergis, and all they wanted was to prove a connection between him and Anthony Bridgitte. That's why before they left Orange County, they'd set up a wiretap on Magnes phone. He was back living in the house where his wife was murdered. He even had a new girlfriend. And now investigators listen to see if Brigitte would tip off Magdy.

[00:48:44]

I was hoping that at least my visit would inspire him in some way. Didn't happen. No, he didn't.

[00:48:51]

So game over. He stepped out of the car right now. No, it was just starting a return to the scene of the crime.

[00:49:05]

A dramatic confrontation at Magnes House.

[00:49:08]

Check it out. My be locked locked up in a panel right now.

[00:49:12]

Who were these men and what did they want? Oh. January 30th, 2013, the home where Ariat Gergis had met, her awful death was suddenly once again the scene of an unexpected confrontation. Two men showed up on Magdy Gergis lawn. Let me holler at you for a few days and holler at you for a second. And it was all caught on camera. Let them check it out.

[00:49:54]

Ma'am, I won't be locked locked up in a pen right now. Please approach him about him killing your wife for you in his house.

[00:50:01]

Interesting, because prosecutor Sonia Biased and Detective James Wilson had just returned from visiting Crips gang member Anthony Bridgitte in prison. They suspected Magdy had hired Brigitte and another as yet unknown man to kill Ariete. And now, apparently, here were a pair of gangsters on Magnes property. The more talkative of the two called himself the money and money is what he wanted from Magdy.

[00:50:33]

What I'm saying, we don't care about what the thing is. We want to get paid for it. We're not going to say, you know what I mean. Good question.

[00:50:41]

And who better to answer it than the money himself?

[00:50:46]

You're a born actor, believe I am. He's not a gangster. He's an officer from the Long Beach Police Department who was working undercover, which is why we are concealing his identity. You will. Nervous going in? Not at all.

[00:51:01]

Know the role he played at Magnes home that day was part of a war game Sonia and Detective Wilson had set in motion even before they met Anthony. Bridgitte, tell me about the scheme.

[00:51:14]

Oh, you call it a scheme? I call it a plan by any name. It was an attempt to trap Magdy.

[00:51:22]

The only way, as any Bridgid or somebody like him commits a crime like this is some kind of gang financial primarily. So you develop that kind of individual and you come up with a way in which they were able to contact Bagdadi and demand more money.

[00:51:38]

Let me holler at you for a few days. In other words, these two undercover officers posing as gang members would approach Magdy and hit him up for some hush money, since investigators knew that money was Magnes particular obsession. They hope they were about to strike a nerve, but they had to be careful. If the killers were working for Magdy, it wasn't clear if he knew them directly or hired them through a middleman.

[00:52:05]

So you couldn't have these guys claim that they were the actual guys in the house? Correct. Because possibly he knew them. Possibly he knew them. So you have them pose. As friends of the guy in the house, yes, and he's now in jail, in prison, which is we knew that was true because Anthony Bridgit was in prison.

[00:52:28]

And so his friends are what, trying to leverage that knowledge into some extra money for them?

[00:52:34]

Correct. Operations like this are especially tricky. There's usually only one shot to get it right. If the phony gangsters threaten Magdy, the sting wouldn't hold up in court and Magdy could walk free. And at the same time, one thing had to be crystal clear.

[00:52:54]

You want to make sure that everybody knows we're talking about the crime that occurred about his wife being murdered in that particular house that couldn't be left ambiguous, a risky plan and no guarantees it would work.

[00:53:09]

True that a lot of these might not go for an operation like that. Yes, Sonja wanted to win. She wasn't scared to fail. Did you think you will fail? I was very nervous, to say the least.

[00:53:21]

It had taken nine years to get to this moment. A team of cops watched and videotaped as the undercovers approached Magdy.

[00:53:29]

They stepped out of the car. Right now, everyone was on edge except for the man cast in the role of demonic.

[00:53:38]

You had to be going over in your mind like, you know, if he says this, if he does this, I'm going to know things come out spontaneously. Really? You have to be quick. He say A, I say B, you say C, I said you have to have something up there and there's nothing you can rehearse, nothing you can write down. Either you can do it or you can.

[00:53:57]

Still, there was cause for worry while these officers looked the part. They have never done anything like this before. Were you worried at all about sort of their acting ability?

[00:54:08]

I was concerned. Too late now. It was on a surprise snafu. His cell phone dials the number of undercover and they told me he didn't answer the phone.

[00:54:23]

An undercover officer misses the call, and that was just the beginning.

[00:54:29]

I think we all stopped breathing for about ten seconds.

[00:54:37]

Oh. Magdy Gergis didn't know it, but he was the target of a sting operation. He had just arrived on the undercover officers approached and the camera was rolling in.

[00:54:58]

Check it out. Ma'am, I won't be locked, locked up in a pen right now. Police approached him about him killing your wife for you in his house. You know what I'm saying? We don't care about what the thing is. We want to get paid for it. We're not going to say to me we won't.

[00:55:12]

What's his reaction when you make it clear that you know about his wife's murder here? He appeared to be shot. You can tell it was something that he wasn't prepared for and he never thought was going to happen. And we want five rax. Five thousand, you know what I'm saying? We ain't going say we're going to police. We're going to say nothing else. You understand what I'm saying? All right. Give me a call, ma'am. Take my number.

[00:55:36]

Ask me call me tomorrow about ten o'clock. Don't worry, I'm demoness. Just give me a call tomorrow. About ten o'clock. Five thousand. Hit me up tomorrow. And I do. Almost as soon as it began, it was over, McGeady left standing there with demoness phone number with instructions to call the next day.

[00:55:59]

And in terms of Oscar winning performances, they they did pretty good job.

[00:56:04]

I think. So they did a great job.

[00:56:06]

Now, police waited and wondered what would Magdy do if he doesn't call this all is for nothing.

[00:56:13]

It's a done deal. Cases over more than eight years after the murder, here was the make or break moment.

[00:56:20]

He was either going to ignore them. He was going to contact them or he was in call police and say, guess what? I think the guys involved in my wife's murder just came to the house, which is what an innocent person would have done. Yes, but he didn't call the police. He did not. And he didn't ignore them. Very true. The next day, the surveillance team tracked Magdy driving and just at that time, his cell phone dials the number of undercover.

[00:56:52]

And I'm notified immediately by the wire room. And and he told me he didn't answer the phone.

[00:56:58]

The undercover officer missed Magnes call, so I had to call the undercover.

[00:57:04]

And I'm like, my target of the investigation is trying to reach you.

[00:57:08]

He was in a bad area for reception, so he had to move. And then it's like a nightmare. So we were hoping he called back.

[00:57:16]

The undercover, as usual, was confident. Why were you so convincing? Why is he called the first time to me in this type of deal? When you call the first time, you know, you're over the nervousness and they're going to call back.

[00:57:30]

And Magdy did call back the surveillance team, caught him on camera, this time from a place that doesn't get a lot of traffic in the 21st century.

[00:57:39]

We know he's at a payphone. That got really interesting for me right there. I'm sitting in the car and cell phone went on, let it ring a few times and asked the phone, you know, this is the money.

[00:57:49]

What's going on? Your cell phone yesterday. You came by yesterday. Yes. What's that? What is what's the problem is my boys locked down in the field. Like I told you yesterday, we don't know what's going on. You know, my boy, you know, took care of little business, you know? So, you know, I'm just trying to help you just to keep with us. You know what I mean?

[00:58:14]

I think we've got everything.

[00:58:17]

And once he told me, hey, I thought I paid you guys everything on right.

[00:58:22]

You know, it's one of those feelings where you've known this all along and then you actually hear it from him. And so I think it was overwhelming feeling of confirmation.

[00:58:37]

And then just as quickly, it all threatened to blow up in their faces. Listen carefully.

[00:58:46]

What was the middleman?

[00:58:51]

The undercover had no idea. Magdy had just asked a question that none of the investigators could answer when Magdy says, tell me who the middleman is.

[00:59:02]

So I know I can trust you. That was something the undercover officers I think we're ready for now. I think we all stopped breathing for about 10 seconds.

[00:59:09]

Investigators had considered the possibility that Magdy might have hired the killers through some third party. And now this conversation seemed like confirmation that he had.

[00:59:21]

But who was it? It seems to me that the middle man for this. Would have to be somebody. That might be really trusted, somebody he knew well, he would have had to trust this person. Yes, somebody who would stick up for him. Yes. Any thoughts on that might be. I do, I do. There was no way to tell the undercover that Saudi money just stayed in character.

[00:59:51]

I don't know. Every everybody knows the little man was the middle man was. I'm worried about that. People are talking. People could argue. I have the information that I got here. I can go to police, but I'm not. I'm just I'm just I'm just trying to I'm just trying to get my money so I can go. So the conversation about hush money continued Magdy true to form haggled over the price five thousand eight that much I and I you know I have myself and I have a lot of money.

[01:00:27]

It just goes to show the true character of this man.

[01:00:29]

I mean, here's a guy who will negotiate with thugs 10 years later because he feels like he already paid. I mean, it's just that's what I mean, he's not in the normal range of thrifty, the that that they have the Met police probably had enough to arrest Maggie right then and there, but they waited. And now you want to do the actual exchange of money.

[01:01:00]

You got to get the money. That meant a second meeting, but would Maggie even show up and if he did, would he come with a plan of his own? Nerve racking and nail biting, one more hidden camera moment that you bring me a check for.

[01:01:33]

Magdy Gergis had just been caught on tape, apparently admitting to hiring thugs to kill his wife.

[01:01:40]

I think time he seemed willing to pay even more to keep things quiet and made a date to do it once that they have to make the next day, officers secretly trailed Magdy, leaving his home, driving on the freeway and pulling into this Home Depot parking lot. The meeting point chosen by Magdy.

[01:02:07]

Everybody's out of sight because everybody's out of sight. Plainclothes, unmarked vehicles and supplies to the two of us. I'm the police officer, but this is starting to sound like fun. Was definitely fun to russets. I'll do it all over again.

[01:02:22]

Prosecutor Sonia Basta was nearby watching it all unfold.

[01:02:27]

Tell me what that was like. Nerve wracking. It's exhilarating. Could you see Maggie? Metaphors, but soon enough, he came into view, the undercovers approached his car. Something was going on. You bring me a cheque, not cash, sweetie. So I took an envelope basically snatched from him and count the money right there and put it in the envelope. That was, what, fifteen? One hundred fifteen and one dollar bills let from the all yours.

[01:03:02]

No more, man. All right. No, everything here is.

[01:03:07]

So this was not some sort of frightened little mouse who was doing what he was told by you guys. This was a guy who was poised and kind of in control of the situation. Yeah, I'm I'm I get it done. And this is going to be it going to be over.

[01:03:22]

But before it was the undercover dropped, one more line to go in to see if Magdy would bite.

[01:03:29]

Did your wife do something to you to make you want to kill her?

[01:03:33]

And he didn't take the bait. He almost did. Mandy probably thought he was home free, but as he drove away, officers swarmed in your system.

[01:03:47]

And you guys are all feeling like Wyatt Earp. We're feeling pretty good. Yes, very good. Actually.

[01:03:54]

Ryan Gergis, of course, had no idea any of this was happening. He had moved back to Southern California and was completely unprepared for the call he received from Detective Wilson.

[01:04:07]

You come to the station, the cops bring you in and they say your father has been arrested and I couldn't be more happier. I really felt like my dreams and my prayers have been answered.

[01:04:21]

Richard, once their dad's loyal and trusted confidant, was not as thrilled.

[01:04:27]

I was happy that the arrest was made, but then on the other end of it. I mean, I was sad in a way, too, because even though I knew in my heart you had something to do with it, it's still your dad is still my dad. And I always had some deeply wedge fantasy that maybe one day the cops would arrest someone else completely and end up actually telling us, like, you know what your dad and not having anything to do with it.

[01:04:57]

You wanted to be wrong. I wanted to be wrong on that. I really wanted to be wrong.

[01:05:02]

So, you know, there could be a magnificent Detective Wilson.

[01:05:08]

Detective Wilson brought Magdy to the station and sat him down in the interview room. His tactic was an old one.

[01:05:15]

In small rooms like this, play dumb and see where Magda took him physically where I need to know what was going on in Long Beach there by the Home Depot center.

[01:05:25]

It looked like there was a money transaction or something wrong. But this woman two days ago on on Wednesday, around the 12th century, and I was coming from Costco, I find two guys approaching me. I never saw them in my life. And they are black guys. This is true.

[01:05:54]

But his account differed in key ways from what Detective Wilson already had on take a Stand when based the is your neighbor gets killed in this house and if it has to be us five grand. Otherwise, if I have to have shifted, that's line number one.

[01:06:16]

There are no threats on the tape.

[01:06:18]

Well, how did you get to be with them today? Yeah, this room telephone number on the line. Like on a piece of paper, a small piece of paper is the on one and the law hit me up tomorrow.

[01:06:33]

Lie number two, the tape clearly shows Magdy taking the number there.

[01:06:39]

Detective Wilson asked Magdy the million dollar question, why didn't you call the phone numbers on both my kids and myself? Are you scared of the police? Is that why or I mean, I don't know. There's this scared.

[01:06:52]

But the my wife's problem is not solved yet as the concerns of the husbands, as the of those tears had no effect on Wilson, who now had Magdy on tape paying hush money.

[01:07:09]

And we know you paid them. OK, yes. Wilson Baudin.

[01:07:15]

I'm here to find out one thing. What kind of person are you? Because right now we don't know. Is magni the type of guy that's a hard, cold, calculated murder that paid someone to kill his wife. What kind of person are you? Just an innocent person. Just simple person, believe me.

[01:07:34]

OK, Magdy pleaded for sympathy for Detective Wilson and was not sympathetic.

[01:07:40]

I lost my wife. No, but it's your fault you hired somebody. I was high up anybody. We recorded it. Oh, and they recorded your conversations with these guys. I'm not lying. I'm not lying. I don't lie to me when they talk like that. Now, you guys, they're going to trap me and stuff. Na'ama Magney had said the magic word.

[01:08:01]

My lawyer, he was done talking. There would be no confession.

[01:08:06]

You didn't expect that he was going to admit it?

[01:08:08]

No, the lies were good enough for me, good enough to make the case. But Wilson thought he'd try one more time to crack Magdy, this time by making him face his own son. Ryan wasn't so sure at first. I called my brother as I normally do. I was a younger one and I told him, What do you think it was like? Do you feel like you want to talk to us? Okay, I want some questions answered.

[01:08:35]

So he walked into that little room and saw his father for the first time in more than eight years.

[01:08:42]

What's wrong with you? You forgot that. You you look the same, and Ryan had a lot to say, you had a choice not to hurt me and return, you had a choice. I'm not going to hurt your wife. Why did you do that? I didn't tell anybody. What are you talking about? I didn't hurt. Look at me right now. I am with you. I'm looking at you. I can't believe you, man, my son.

[01:09:11]

I don't call your son. I don't want to hear that. You're a horrible person for what you do. I just want to let you know that horrible thing. Yes, you did. Did not.

[01:09:22]

Was it hard to tell your dad that you thought he was involved in your mom's murder? Yeah, it was definitely very, very hard. It's hard for you to talk about it now. Yes, it is. It is. And the person I had nightmares over was right in front of me and I was scared.

[01:09:42]

And soon Ryan would face his father again, this time in court.

[01:09:50]

The killing of Ariat Gurgis was because she interrupted a robbery or a drug transaction between Ryan and these two suspects, a father son showdown. But exactly who was on trial?

[01:10:06]

The evidence suggests that he was involved with people that were dealing hardcore drugs.

[01:10:24]

March 2014, Magdy Gergis had been sitting in jail for about a year after an undercover sting led to his arrest for the murder of his wife, Ariete. It was a case prosecutor Sonia Baystate couldn't wait to try. Nearly a decade in the making, and as it turned out, it would be her last Sonya had been promoted to management. It's my swan song.

[01:10:50]

Yes. So you wanted to go out with a win? Prosecutors don't like to lose. Yeah, I've noticed that.

[01:10:57]

Despite what you've seen, the case still wasn't a slam dunk. There was no proof Magdy knew the alleged killer, Anthony Bridgitte, no evidence he'd paid Brigitte any money. And while detectives had their suspicions about the involvement of a middleman, they still couldn't prove it. And as you'll see, even that undercover tape could be seen through a different lens.

[01:11:24]

On the eve of the trial, Richard and Ryan got ready for the big day.

[01:11:29]

Their suits were pressed. They reviewed their prior statements and they weighed the consequences of what this moment meant.

[01:11:38]

I'm happy that we will get closure.

[01:11:40]

But then, as I said, it's like we lost our mom and then and the same lives like with us, our dad, too, their only surviving parent, the one they lived in fear of for years, would be the one they had to face in court.

[01:11:54]

Part of me is scared of them, but also part of me wants to stand up and let my voice be heard. After all these years, I want to be strong.

[01:12:04]

And so the brothers walked into court together that first day of opening statements, standing strong, united in their quest for justice for their mom, Magdy Gergis conspired to have his wife murdered.

[01:12:18]

She was an inconvenient woman to him. And people are disposable to this defendant. Our cameras were not allowed to record witness testimony inside the courtroom or Sonia Biased a stacked up her evidence against McGeady. She showed the jury how in the months leading up to the murder, Magdy slowly drained his joint account with Ariete, leaving her with almost nothing and said the crime scene evidence showed this wasn't just some random murder.

[01:12:53]

It was about silencing somebody who defied him. But then on the witness stand, Richard, who had once helped his father persuade Ariete to back off her story, now defied Magdy just as Ariete had done. Richard testified about the abuse his mom had suffered at his father's hands. He testified about coming home and finding his mother battered and bruised. Richard recounted the story to the jury, but it seemed he was really speaking to his father. And I caught up with Richard after court.

[01:13:27]

It was really a good experience for me just to be able to actually finally face him face to face and be able to look him in the eyes and actually able to confront him for what he's done.

[01:13:36]

But McGeady faced an even tougher confrontation from the words of his now dead wife. Harriet's testimony from the preliminary hearing in the domestic violence case had been saved, and now the prosecution read it into the court record. How important was Arias testimony from the previous case?

[01:13:58]

It was huge. It was as if for. An afternoon, she just came back to life and took the stand. Ryan would need to channel that same strength of his mother's for what came next. He took the stand with Maggie just feet away, a father's eyes board into his son.

[01:14:20]

I really felt like if he had me one on one, he would beat me down. He just wanted to do anything to get me to shut up.

[01:14:32]

This time, Ryan refused to keep quiet, telling the jury and his father about that terrible September night when two men broke into his home, beat him up and repeatedly stabbed his mother in the next room. Then Ryan faced cross-examination and defense attorney Rudy Lowenstein had already told the jury he'd planned to put Ryan on trial for the killing of Ariat.

[01:14:59]

Gurgis was because she interrupted a robbery or a drug transaction or a collection of a debt of some kind between Ryan and these two suspects.

[01:15:13]

The defense argument, Harriet's murder was tied directly to Ryan's criminal activity.

[01:15:20]

I think that the evidence suggests that he was involved with people that were dealing hardcore drugs.

[01:15:27]

Ryan admitted that he smoked and sold weed, but Lowenstein told the jury Ryan was doing much more than that.

[01:15:34]

He pointed to the drug paraphernalia police found in Ryan's room tinfoil. And what Lowenstein's said was a pipe with white residue, which he said was consistent with heroin and methamphetamine, use evidence that police had failed to test. The defense said it showed Ryan's drug dealing was bigger than he let on. Why then the defense directed jurors to those threats Ryan had received on his computer just weeks before the murder. You better watch your back. I know where you live.

[01:16:07]

And the taunting message that came after the murder. How did you like your gift? L l l l l l did anybody follow up?

[01:16:16]

Not really, no. They just said, oh well we know who did it. Maggie did it. They focused on Maggie. They never left.

[01:16:24]

Maggie, could the threats be the reason Ryan's friend offered him a knife, the fact that he was offered a knife for his protection by his drug dealing friend just minutes or at the latest hours before the murder of his mother by someone using a knife, suggests to me that there was some reason for him to be afraid for his own safety in his own home.

[01:16:50]

The defense also attacked Ryan's credibility. Remember what Ryan told us? That one of the intruders said, I know your circumstances.

[01:17:00]

I know what you're going through. I'm not going to kill you.

[01:17:02]

It turns out Ryan did not tell that to the 911 one operator. Why? The defense argued because those words were never spoken and said Ryan made them up later to deflect suspicion from himself and his drug connections. One thing was irrefutable and hard to explain.

[01:17:22]

The defense told the jury Ryan did not check on Ariete before he fled the house.

[01:17:29]

How does a young man whose mother has come to save him not look in and check to see whether or not he could save his mother before running out of the house? What does that say about his character?

[01:17:41]

After two days of brutal cross-examination, Ryan says he felt dejected and betrayed.

[01:17:49]

I feel like I'm getting back from my own father that he's claiming that his son is such a troubled.

[01:17:54]

You take my number. Of course, the defense also had a huge problem. Those videotapes of Maggie taking the phone number from the undercover hit me up tomorrow, calling them the next day I the the day and then showing up with fifteen hundred dollars. All of that made McGeady look very, very guilty.

[01:18:20]

I would like him to get up there on the stand and try to explain why what he meant when he said I really paid everything off.

[01:18:27]

Yeah, it turns out the defense did have an explanation and documents to which might prove Maddy's innocence. Would that undercover tape convict him or clear him a defense surprise?

[01:18:45]

He's playing along with them in order to be able to apprehend them.

[01:18:49]

And the verdict, would that be a surprise to this? Is it. I didn't want to let those boys down.

[01:19:00]

Oh. In spite of the damning testimony against Magdy by his own son's defense attorney, Rudy Loewenstein tried to show jurors Magdy did everything to provide a better life for them and his wife, Ariete.

[01:19:23]

His life was dedicated to his family and to making the American dream work for him. He was an immigrant who came with nothing and made something of himself.

[01:19:33]

Magdy had his flaws and he had done some bad things, the defense said. But he did not have Ariete killed.

[01:19:41]

But then what to make of those undercover tapes and Mandi's apparent admission of everything that would McGeady take the stand to explain what he meant on those tapes?

[01:19:55]

No, apparently he felt he'd done enough talking. Instead, the defense attorney showed the jury evidence, which he said proved Magdy was not guilty.

[01:20:06]

Magdy had written down the serial numbers of the 15 one hundred dollar bills he had given the undercover officers.

[01:20:14]

And he tried to write down the license plate number of their vehicle, which said the defense cast that undercover video in a whole new light.

[01:20:23]

He's playing along with them in order to be able to apprehend them.

[01:20:28]

And so when he says to them, just tell me the name of the middleman's, I know I can trust you. He's bluffing. He doesn't really know the name of the middle man. He's just trying to get that information out of them.

[01:20:36]

Absolutely. Lowenstein said the only thing Magdy was guilty of was trying to play detective.

[01:20:44]

Remember, he's been a suspect for 10 years. The police have never left their vision of him as being the suspect. And because of that, he's got to essentially solve the case on his own.

[01:20:56]

What would the jury think? On the day of closing arguments, Richard and Ryan walked to court together. They had brought something for prosecutors, Sonya Baez to a religious tile belonging to Ariete.

[01:21:11]

Sonia wanted me to bring like an item like from my mom and stuff to have right there that she could hold onto if they learned the evidence driven prosecutor had a superstitious side.

[01:21:22]

She wanted to have something of Aritz to touch. During her last closing argument to channel Ariete spirit and courage, she took the witness stand in a preliminary hearing.

[01:21:35]

And festival. For the first time in her life. Stood up to him. She knew exactly. What he would do to her for. We've done some bad things in his life. But he didn't. Hire anybody. To murder Ariat, Girgis. He's innocent. There was nothing left to do now but wait. After nearly a decade, these final moments were perhaps the most excruciating. I mean, this has been like a lot of anxiety builds up right now.

[01:22:15]

Just wondering when the verdict is going to come in, it's going to be like any moment, Sonia already at her new job, waited for the phone to ring.

[01:22:25]

She had played the waiting game numerous times. It wasn't any easier this last time.

[01:22:32]

I didn't want to let those boys down. So, yes, I was probably a little bit more nervous than usual.

[01:22:39]

It was definitely agonizing. Every time we heard a ring or a buzzer, it really like got us like, OK, did they get a verdict?

[01:22:48]

After two days, they finally heard it. Three buzzes. The jury had reached a verdict.

[01:22:56]

Were you worried there was going to be a not guilty verdict?

[01:22:59]

The only thing that had worried me was. All it takes is one person to. Not see things the way that everyone else sees it. You'd never know what a jury is going to do, never know what a jury is going to do.

[01:23:12]

All right, Counsel, during the jury and when they filed back into the crowded courtroom, Ryan didn't look at his dad. Instead, he held on to his brother.

[01:23:23]

I was just embracing the moment the. This is it, this is all riding on this, we, the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant magnifies Girgis guilty of the crime of felony conspiracy to commit a murder.

[01:23:39]

Oh, it hit us. It's what we've been waiting for for nine and a half years.

[01:23:45]

In the gallery, the brothers cried. And as the hearing continued, Richard sobs grew louder and louder until he couldn't contain himself any longer alive.

[01:23:57]

I couldn't hold myself back.

[01:23:59]

I was trying not to, like, say anything, but it just was pouring. And I told him in Arabic, I was like, Why, Dad?

[01:24:06]

Why, why? Why, Dad? Why? Like, I just I still can't fathom the reason of why he would do such a thing, why he would throw away our family, why he would throw everything away. And what was Magdy trying to tell his son?

[01:24:23]

We'll never know. Maggie's thoughts at his sentencing were somewhat clearer.

[01:24:28]

They have nothing to do with the content of my life. I did to my best ability to work hard to secure future and advise my kids not to get involved with all this gang activity or anything. I'm not a bad father and maybe I am strict, but, uh. I love them. They are my kids. Magdy Gergis was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

[01:25:04]

If Mondy had not taken the bait, if he'd gotten the phone number from your two undercover officers and thrown it away and just said, I know who you are, I don't know what you're talking about. And if you call me again, I'm going to call the police. Would he be in custody today? Probably not.

[01:25:20]

So he ended up giving you your own case, his greed gave me my whole case, you know, Magdy Gergis had worked tirelessly to build the dream and then by his own hand, destroyed it. Well, perhaps not all of it. These two brothers may have lost both their parents, but they still have each other.

[01:25:47]

My little brother you hit man Anthony Bridgitte was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. The second intruder has never been identified. And despite investigators suspicions, neither has the mysterious middle man. You never found out.

[01:26:07]

That was not yet been 10 years. That's true. Take me nine. To get married, you have to be patient.

[01:26:15]

In this line of work, there's still a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the remaining suspects. Richard and Ryan hope someone will come forward. In the meantime, they're keeping their heads down and working hard, just as their father always taught them to do. But they will do some things differently. You picture yourself as a dad someday. I do have a dad.

[01:26:41]

Are you going to be I'm going to be the opposite of my father. I'm going to be there when I came home. And that's the beauty of the American dream. There's always a new beginning, no matter where you came from. The Meet the Press Chuck Todd cast, it's an insider's take on politics, the twenty twenty election and more candid conversations with some of my favorite reporters about things we usually discuss off camera. Listen for free wherever you get your podcast.