Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Relative Of Dentist's Former Wife Named In Murder


I was so afraid of this . . . Sigh.

I know the Bucharian Jews are close-knit, and the fact that the murder was by one of their own makes this a double-tragedy for the community.

My heart is with both families--both the family of the victim and the family of the accused. Especially, my thoughts are with that poor little girl, Michelle. May Hashm comfort them all.

Police Confirm 50-Year-Old Georgia Man Apprehended; Second Suspect Still At Large

Scott Weinberger

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly confirmed that police have made an arrest in the murder of a Queens dentist on Oct. 28.

Mikhail Malayev, 50, who resides in Chamblee, Ga., was arrested and charged with the murder of 34-year-old Daniel Malakov, who was gunned down in front of his 5-year-old daughter and former wife on a Queens playground.

An extradition hearing was scheduled later Tuesday in Georgia.

Kelly said Malayev is linked to Malakov through marriage, a relative of his estranged wife, Dr. Mazoltuv Borukhova, through her sister's husband.

Malayev was arrested after investigators pulled a fingerprint off the homemade silencer found at the scene of the murder. His fingerprints were on file stemming from a 1994 farebeating.

"I think it just shows the importance of accurate record keeping and making certain when we do arrest someone fingerprints are taken," Kelly said.

Sources tell CBS 2's Scott Weinberger that Malayev was captured in Georgia over the weekend.

Kelly also said that a second suspect -- the driver of the getaway vehicle -- was still at large, but police believe they know that suspect's identity, which was not immediately released.

Malakov was gunned down at the Annadale Playground in the Forest Hills section of the borough during a bitter custody battle he and his former wife had fought over their daughter.

There was immediate speculation that his wife may have been involved, though she adamantly denied involvement to CBS 2.

The brazen attack occurred as Malakov arrived at the playground with the girl. As the child went to greet her mother, a gunman wearing a black leather jacket and a dark hat approached, shot three rounds into Malakov's chest, and fled. Police recovered a bleach bottle covered with tape that they believe was used as a makeshift silencer.

The death shocked his close-knit community of Bukharan Jews from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan.

"We lost a young, energetic, spiritual and promising member of the community," said Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua, head of the Bukharian Rabbinical Council of America. "We will miss him for many years."

There were no arrests after the shooting at the playground, where the dentist had gone to hand off his daughter, Michelle, to his former wife for visitation.

Malakov was taken to North Shore University Hospital nearby, where he was pronounced dead.

The daylight shooting occurred in a well-tended neighborhood that is home to immigrants from around the globe.

"Everyone is shocked at this horror," said Malakov's lawyer, Nathan Pinkhasov.

Pinkhasov said the orthodontist and Borukhova, a specialist in internal medicine who also goes by the name Marina Borukhova, had waged a fierce battle over custody of their daughter. Malakov had won custody of the girl just days ago.

"He had a special bond with the child," said Pinkhasov, speaking by telephone en route to his client's funeral. "He wanted to keep fighting for her."

Police questioned Borukhova at the 112th Precinct stationhouse Sunday night but did not charge her. Her attorneys did not immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said only that investigators suspect the shooting may be linked to the custody dispute.

Malakov emigrated to the United States from Tashkent, one of tens of thousands of Bukharan Jews who arrived in the 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He studied at New York University and Columbia University.

"He was able to accomplish the American dream," said Yehoshua.

"There's a lot of grief in the community."

Bukharan Jews, also known as Bukharian or Bukhari Jews, are Jews from Central Asia who speak a dialect of Farsi. Their name comes from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large Jewish community.

Yehoshua said there are about 70,000 Bukharan Jews in the United States -- 40,000 of them in Queens.

"All of us are relatives, second or third cousins," he said.

"It's like one big family."

In accordance with Jewish custom that dictates a funeral within 24 hours, services for Malakov were held Monday at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffer Memorial Chapels in Forest Hills.

But Yehoshua said that since Malakov was the victim of a crime, he advised the family to waive the traditional religious prohibition against performing an autopsy.

"This was my suggestion and I'm happy they followed it," he said.

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