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Prosecutors used the cell phone records of the man accused of killing a Forest Hills dentist in front of his daughter to map out the suspected gunman’s alleged escape route down the East Coast.
Jennifer Scheid, a custodian of records for Sprint−Nextel, took the stand Monday in the murder and conspiracy trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova and her distant uncle, Mikhail Mallayev. Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal has accused Borukhova, 35, of hiring Mallayev, 51, to come to Queens from his home in suburban Atlanta to kill her estranged husband, Dr. Daniel Malakov, on Oct. 28, 2007.
Scheid backed up the prosecution’s charges when she revealed to the jury a long list of records from Mallayev’s cell phone in the weeks leading up to the murder.
“We keep a record of the first and last cell tower used for each call,” she explained in State Supreme Court.
The Sprint−Nextel records indicated that Mallayev and Borukhova had 64 phone conversations in the days leading up to the murder. The phone calls totaled nearly 4 1⁄2 hours of talk time, according to the records.
Although the records did not show any conversations between Mallayev and Borukhova on the day of the shooting, Scheid said he made other calls that were recorded by various cell phone towers in several states starting in New York.
Around noon on the day of the murder, the records found Mallayev used his phone in Brooklyn, where his daughter lives, used it on the New Jersey Turnpike around 2 p.m., followed by a phone call in Pennsylvania around 3 p.m.
The records also showed that Mallayev used the phone in Maryland around 7:30 p.m., in southern Virginia around 9 p.m. and then in the Carolinas shortly before 11 p.m. The next day, at 9:36 a.m., the phone was used in Atlanta, according to the records.
Mallayev, who like his niece is a Bukharian Jewish immigrant from Uzbekistan, told Queens Homicide Detective Edward Wilkowski in November 2007 that he was not in New York during the week of the shooting, according to Wilkowski, who took the stand last Thursday. Mallayev changed his story when the investigator told him his cell phone was picked up by a Forest Hills cell tower days before the shooting.
Wilkowski told the jury that Borukhova also made suspicious claims when he interviewed her shortly after her estranged husband’s slaying. Malakov, 34, an orthodontist and also an Uzbek immigrant, was shot twice in the chest as he was dropping off his then 4−year−old daughter, Michelle, at the Annadale Playground in Forest Hills to see Borukhova, her mother.
Borukhova had lost custody of the girl six days before the murder following a long and bitter divorce custody dispute with Malakov and prosecutors contend this prompted her to plan the murder.
Jurors got a taste of the dispute when the prosecution played a video of the transfer of custody between the parents. The video, which was created at the request of Borukhova, showed Michelle caught in a physical tug of war between her parents.
Wilkowski said Borukhova told him and other detectives that she had not heard any gunshots or seen a shooter despite being feet from her husband.
The detective said he thought this was unusual because eyewitness Cheryl Springsteen, who was about 40 feet away from the crime scene, said she not only heard the shots, but got a good look at the shooter. Springsteen later identified Mallayev as the gunman in a lineup conducted in January 2007 and identified him in court two weeks ago.
To view the video of Michelle’s transfer, visit yournabe.com.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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