Monday, February 9, 2009

Father of slain dentist takes the stand

Daniel Malakov poses with his daughter Michelle moments before he was shot at a Forest Hills playground. Malakov’s father, Khaifka (inset), shot the photo and recounted his son’s final moments at Queens Criminal Court. Photo by Ellis Kaplan (inset)
In long and emotionally painful testimony before his son’s accused killers Thursday, Khaifka Malakov recounted his son’s final minutes with his granddaughter before he was gunned down in a Forest Hills playground in 2007.

Speaking through a Russian interpreter, the Uzbek immigrant took the stand at Queens Criminal Court in the murder trial of his estranged daughter-in-law, Mazoltuv Borukhova, and her relative Mikhail Mallayev, who are both accused of plotting Dr. Daniel Malakov’s slaying on Oct. 28, 2007. Khaifka Malakov told the jury that he was with his 34-year-old son and 4-year-old granddaughter Michelle less than half an hour before Daniel took her to the Annadale Playground on 64th Road and Yellowstone Boulevard, where he was shot twice in the chest.
He held back tears as he told the jury that his son wanted to take pictures with Michelle because he had recently gained custody of the girl from Borukhova.
“They were both happy and joyful,” Khaifka Malakov recalled. “I asked ‘Why you needed photographs?’ He said, ‘I needed them.’”

Around 11 a.m. that Sunday, the grandfather said he got a phone call from an unidentified person saying that something happened to his son and raced to Daniel’s orthodontist office.

“I was afraid of something and my legs were letting me down,” he said, as he recalled running to the office on 64th Road.

When his son’s secretary told him that Daniel was still in the park, Khaifka Malakov rushed to the scene only to find a crowd of police officers surrounding his son’s bloody corpse.

Several times on the stand, he gave quick, cold gazes at Borukhova, 35, also an Uzbek immigrant. She is charged with hiring Mallayev, 51, her distant uncle, to kill Daniel Malakov in retaliation for his gaining custody of Michelle.

The couple had been engaging in a heated custody dispute as part of a long divorce proceeding, according to Khaifka Malakov.

“It was a completely unfriendly and uncivilized divorce,” he said.

The girl now lives with her paternal uncle, Gavriel Malakov.

Borukhova and her uncle had 68 phone conversations in the week before the murder and she allegedly paid him nearly $20,000 to carry out the hit, according to Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal. Mallayev’s fingerprints were found on a makeshift silencer left at the playground by the shooter and cell phone records obtained by detectives showed he was near the crime scene around the time of the shooting, the prosecutor said.

Khaifka Malakov told the jury that Borukhova urged his son to meet at the playground instead of his dental office. The grandfather said he was concerned since Daniel had patients that day and meeting at the office would have been more convenient.

“He said, ‘No, she wants me to go to the park,’” Khaifka Malakov recalled his son telling him.

The grandfather was expected to continue his testimony Monday. > Archives > Queens > Father of slain dentist takes the stand

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