A woman accused of plotting with a relative to kill her orthodontist husband over a custody dispute has been found guilty of murder.
They had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the October 2007 death of Daniel Malakov. They face up to 25 years in prison.
Malakov, a 34-year-old orthodontist, was shot in the back by a gunman with a makeshift silencer as he was at a playground to drop off his 4-year-old daughter, Michelle, with his wife, police said.
"The whole idea to do it on a Sunday morning in a park in front of people was to eliminate herself as a suspect," a prosecutor told jurors, referring to Borukhova. "Hide in plain sight. ... Who possibly would think she was a suspect if she had it done it in front of her kid?"
Malakov had been granted temporary custody of the child a week earlier after a judge said Borukhova was hindering their relationship. Borukhova had told her ex-husband's relatives: "He took my child. It's already been decided. His days are numbered," according to Leventhal.
"She couldn't bear the fact that he was going to have custody of that little girl," the prosecutor said.
Prosecutors also pointed to Borukhova's testimony that she never heard gunshots as evidence she plotted the shooting and believed a silencer would be used. Several witnesses testified they had heard shots fired.
“Malleyev killed Malakov for the $20,000 that Borukhova paid him,” prosecutors told the court.
Borukhova's attorney, Stephen Scaring, argued that no direct evidence linked his client to the killing and said she bought a camera to document her husband's interactions with her daughter for the custody case.
Mallayev's attorney, Michael Siff, said it was impossible for the witnesses in the park to clearly see who shot Malakov.
The distant cousins exchanged 65 phone calls in the week before the shooting, Leventhal said. Defense attorneys said the calls concerned the medical problems of Mallayev and his wife.