Borukhova could lose her daughter

By Ivan Pereira

Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova may be spending the rest of her life in prison for murdering her estranged husband in a Forest Hills playground and her actions could cost the convicted murder the rights over her only child.

The city Administration for Children’s Services is considering terminating Borukhova’s parental rights over her 6−year−old daughter Michelle Malakov, who has been living with her paternal uncle, Gavriel Malakov, according to a source close to the proceedings. The move would make it possible for Michelle, who witnessed the killing of her father, Dr. Daniel Malakov, to be formally adopted by her uncle, the source said.

An ACS spokeswoman declined to comment on the situation and a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in Queens Family Court. David Schnall, Michelle’s law guardian, said he would support the motion to end Borukhova’s rights because he has seen Michelle thrive in Gavriel’s home.

“Michelle is on her way to some permanency,” he said.

Borukhova, 35, an internist, hired her distant uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, 51, to shoot Daniel Malakov twice in the chest outside the Annadale Playground on Oct. 28, 2007. Malakov, 34, an orthodontist who like his wife was a Bukharian Jewish immigrant from Uzbekistan, had gained custody of the girl six days before he was murdered following a long and contentious custody dispute with Borukhova. He was dropping off Michelle at the playground to visit her mother when he was gunned down.

Borukhova and her uncle were convicted of first−degree murder and conspiracy March 10, following a seven−week trial and face up to life in prison without parole when they are sentenced April 21. The jury’s verdict may have taken a physical toll on Borukhova, according to the city Corrections Department.

She was transferred from Rikers Island to Elmhurst Hospital’s Prison Ward a day after her conviction for undisclosed reasons, the Department of Correction said on its Web site. The ward is used for female inmates who need “acute psychiatric care,” according to the agency.

On Monday, the department said the convicted mother was back at Rikers. Neither Borukhova’s criminal attorney, Stephen Scaring, nor her family law attorney, Florence Fass, returned calls for comment.

Borukhova and her uncle were arrested and charged with first−degree murder and conspiracy after investigators found the two had 65 phone conversations in the days leading up to murder but only two following it.

Mallayev was positively identified as the shooter by an eyewitness and his fingerprints were found on a makeshift silencer found at the playground. Borukhova told police she did not hear any gunshots or see any shooter despite being 10 feet away from Malakov when he was killed.

Timeline of the Malakov shooting case

December 2001: Dr. Daniel Malakov, an orthodontist and Uzbek immigrant, marries Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova, an internist and also Uzbek immigrant. The two had been dating for nearly three months before they walked down the aisle.

Feb. 16, 2003: Borukhova gives birth to Michelle Malakov.

Feb. 2005: After years of fighting and a brief separation, the couple decides to divorce. Borukhova gets custody of the girl.

Oct. 3, 2007: A Queens Family Court judge orders that Malakov gain custody of Michelle, after Borukhova repeatedly denied court orders to allow the girl to visit her father alone.

Oct. 22: Borukhova physically transfers custody of Michelle to Malakov and pays a cameraman $3,500 to videotape the ordeal. Borukhova refuses to let go of Michelle’s legs while Malakov tries to take the wailing girl into his father’s home.

Oct. 28: Around 11 a.m., Malakov drops Michelle off at the Annadale Playground at 64th Road and Yellowstone Boulevard to meet her mother. The estranged couple had arranged for the visit earlier in the morning. Malakov is shot twice in the chest in front of several parkgoers by a gunman who flees the scene. The police take Borukhova, her family members and several witnesses to the 112th Precinct for questioning. Borukhova tells detectives that she heard no shots or saw any shooter, but several eyewitnesses who were blocks away from the playground claim they heard the shots. The Malakov family immediately blames Borukhova for having a role in the murder. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services places the girl in the custody of Malakov’s parents and later in a foster home.

Nov. 3: State Sen. Diane Savino (D−Staten Island) testifies during a Family Court hearing following the murder and says Borukhova’s sisters visited her office ten days before the murder. The sisters asked her two suspicious questions about Malakov and Michelle. “What would happen if he couldn’t take care of her?” Savino recalled them asking her. “What if she disappears?”

Nov. 9: A Queens Family Court judge denies Borukhova custody of Michelle, deeming her an “unfit” mother.

Nov. 17: NYPD detectives question Borukhova’s distant uncle, Mikhail Mallayev, in Dekalb County, Ga. He initially claims he was not in Queens at the time of the shooting, but changes his story when the investigators show him that cell phone records indicated he was in the borough. Forensic experts matched his fingerprints to prints found on a makeshift silencer left at the playground by the shooter. Mallayev tells detectives that he does not know how his fingerprints got on the silencer. He is officially placed under arrest and charged with second−degree murder the next morning.

Nov. 19: Detectives from the 112th Precinct conduct a search warrant of Borukhova’s Forest Hills apartment and medical office. They recover medical files with Mallayev’s name and a patient sign−in sheet that indicates Mallayev visited the office on Nov. 7.

Jan. 16, 2008: Mallayev is extradited to Queens from Georgia. He makes his first court appearance before Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy the next morning.

Jan. 22: School teacher Cheryl Springsteen, who was walking her dog near the playground at the time of the shooting, identifies Mallayev as the gunman in a police lineup.

Feb. 7: Detectives arrest Borukhova at her Forest Hills apartment and charged her the next morning with first−degree murder and conspiracy at Queens Supreme Court. Her uncle is recharged with the same counts. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown reveals that she and Mallayev had 91 phone conversations in the weeks leading up to the murder, but two following it. Nearly 65 of those calls took place in the days leading up to the murder.

March 4: Natella Natanova, Borukhova’s sister, is arrested for allegedly telling Daniel Malakov’s brother, Gavriel, “You should know if you talk, you will be the next to go.” She is arraigned the next morning on a “intimidating a witness” charge.

May 20: Judge Hanophy officially consolidates Mallayev’s and Borukhova’s cases.

July 25: Natanova is cleared on her charges.

Oct. 15: Gavriel Malakov files a wrongful death lawsuit in Queens Civil Court against Borukhova and Mallayev.

Jan. 28, 2009: Jury selection begins in Borukhova and Mallayev’s trial.

Feb. 4 : The prosecution and defense give their opening arguments.

Feb. 10: Springsteen recalls seeing the murder take place and identifies Mallayev as the shooter when she takes the stand.

Feb. 18: The prosecution plays the video tape of Michelle’s custody transfer to shocked jurors.

March 3: Borukhova takes the stand in her own defense. Over three days of testimony, she repeatedly insists she did not plan her estranged husband’s demise and claims she never heard the gunshots.

March 6: The defense attorneys give their summations.

March 9: Prosecutor Brad Leventhal gives his summation. The jury begins deliberating in the evening.

March 10: At 2:37 p.m., the jury finds Borukhova and Mallayev guilty on all charges.

More from Around New York