By Ivan Pereira
For Daniel Malakov’s father, Khaika, the long prison sentences imposed on his son’s killers Tuesday were not enough to give him a sense of fair justice.
Speaking through a translator before Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert Hanophy, who sentenced Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova and Mikhail Mallayev to life in prison without parole, Khaika Malakov told him the “logical” punishment should have been death.
“Like it says in the Good Book, eye for an eye, death for death,” the Bukharian Jewish Uzbek immigrant said. “Fortunately for the killer, there is no such penalty.”
Borukhova, 35, also an Uzbek immigrant, had Malakov, her estranged husband, shot to death outside a Forest Hills playground 19 months ago after he had gained custody of their daughter Michelle. Malakov, 34, an orthodontist, was walking the girl to the Annadale Playground when he was shot twice in the chest by Mallayev, 51, Borukhova’s uncle.
The convicted mom did not turn to look at the Malakov patriarch or the dozens of the orthodontist’s relatives who packed the courtroom and even rolled her eyes at one point during the statement.
Khaika Malakov remarked how she had lost everything when she plotted the homicide. Not only did Borukhova turn the 6âˆ’yearâˆ’old into an orphan by plotting the kill, she scarred the little girl for life, according to the patriarch.
“Daniel’s death, it’s an endless, terrible nightmare,” he said.
Borukhova and Mallayev Both maintained their stances that they were innocent, despite bombshell evidence and a speedy conviction last month on firstâˆ’degree murder and conspiracy charges.
“I have nothing to do with this murder. I did not kill anyone,” Borukhova, 35, told the judge.
Mallayev, 51, said he’d never kill anyone and said the police investigation was filled with lies.
“There is no evidence,” he said in broken English. “Whatever they accused me is wrong [sic] and they proved nothing.”
Hanophy didn’t buy their arguments and punished them with the maximum sentence. Quoting Confucius, the judge said Borukhova dug two graves when she set out to kill her estranged husband on Oct. 28, 2007.
“Your husband sits in his natural grave and you’re about to enter your eight by eight internment where you’ll spend the rest of your natural life,” he said.
Borukhova paid her relative nearly $20,000 for the kill, thinking she could regain her daughter, according to prosecutors, however the pair made several mistakes that led to their convictions.
Mallayev was arrested three weeks after the shooting after his fingerprints were matched to fingerprints found on a makeshift silencer left at the playground, located at 64th Road and Yellowstone Boulevard. The suburban Atlanta resident repeatedly told investigators that he was not in Queens during the time of the shooting but changed his story when they told him that cell phone records placed him within the vicinity of the crime scene.
An eyewitness also identified Mallayev as the gunman in a police lineup and during the sevenâˆ’week trial.
In February 2008, Borukhova was arrested by police after they discovered she and Mallayev had 65 phone conversations in the days leading up to the murder but only two following it. The internist told police and testified under oath that she did not hear the gunshots despite being ten feet away from her husband when he was shot.
Eyewitnesses from as far as two blocks away have said they heard the shots. A jury took less than seven hours to convict the pair last month.
Gavriel Malakov, the orthodontist’s younger brother, had a less vindictive tone than his father when he made his impact statement to the judge. The sibling, who has foster custody of Michelle, said life in prison was strong enough of a punishment for him.
“We firmly stand for justice,” he said.
Borukhova’s family members left the courthouse in silence. Mallayev’s sonâˆ’inâˆ’law cursed at the judge’s decision when he exited the court with the murderer’s kin.
Outside the court, Gavriel told reporters that he has a great responsibility making sure the girl grows up to be a happy and loved child. Although he said he has not told her the fate her mother, he said knows that the truth will eventually have to come out.
“I know as Michelle grows up, she’ll ask a lot of questions,” he said of the murder. “I’ll somehow have to answer those questions.”
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by eâˆ’mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 146.