Police investigate ex-wife in attack

■ Man fights off two alleged hit-men in vacant building.

By Chad Halcom
Macomb Daily staff writer

Two Macomb County men face criminal charges in an alleged murder-for-hire plot that could have left a Sterling Heights man's home and estate to his estranged ex-wife.

Detroit police and court officials said Thursday that Magdy Mohamed "Sami" El-Dady of Eastpointe is already in custody, and the search continues for his indicted cohort, Saadie Ayub of Chesterfield Township.

Both men face conspiracy to commit muifier and other charges, in an allegedly botched attempt to kill store owner Bahjet Kagoga of Sterling Heights inside an unoccupied Detroit building Monday If convicted, they could face a maximum of life in prison.

Police are looking at whether Kagoga's ex-wife may have arranged the attack. Kagoga said there were indications she might try to harm him.

"We would fight, and all the time I hear her say, 'I'm going to show you,' or 'You're going to get it one day,' but I never take it seriously. I think that she gets mad, and she's going to say these things,"

Kagoga said of the mother of his two children, whom he believes is behind the murder attempt. "But now I know, and I take it seriously" Kagoga claims Ayub lured him to an unoccupied building on Detroit's east side where El-Dady was already waiting for him, under the guise of selling him some used tires for Kagoga's parts business on Eight Mile Road. While there, he explains, El-Dady tried to strangle him with a ligature and plastic bag while Ayub stood by with a gun drawn.

"We treat women in our court system, as if they can't get this violent or behave this way like men can," said James Galen, Kagoga's attorney in the case. "I think this shows that isn't true, and we need to start treating both sexes equally in these court cases."

Kagoga is a defendant in a pending domestic violence allegation involving his estranged wife, who lives in his Sterling Heights home but sleeps in a separate room. Since the charges were brought June 16, he and his and attorney claim Kagoga hasn't been to his home because he is to have no contact with the estranged wife.

If true, that may prove a crucial piece of evidence for his case. Officials allege that Ayub, when the murder attempt failed and police arrived, told Kagoga that his ex-wife had hired him for the job and produced a cell phone with records of calls to and from the house at a time when Kagoga himself wasn't there.

Galen explained that he was representing Kagoga not only in the domestic violence case, but in civil proceedings to have the wife evicted from his home.

"At this point the story seems to be that the wife might have hired the one guy, Mr. Ayub, and that guy supposedly went and incorporated the other guy into the plan," explained Detroit Police Investigator John Adams. "But there's still an investigation going on."

Sterling Heights police Detective James Spence said he, too, has received reports of the alleged murder plot and his department is reviewing them, but it's "still very early" to determine what happened and he wasn't sure whether his department will become involved or leave the case to Detroit police.

If a murder plot did occur, and Kagoga's ex-wife originated it, then legally the case could proceed in either Macomb or Wayne counties, since parts of the crime took place in both jurisdictions.

William Harding, chief of operations for Macomb County prosecutors, said crimes that move across jurisdictional boundaries often start with police reports in both counties, but later consolidate into whichever county has made the most progress with it.

"What we generally do is, whoever is holding the people at the beginning will go forward with it first, and then as we go along we figure out which county is the better choice to continue on," Harding said.

As of late Thursday afterhoon, Ayub was still at large and Detroit police were still trying to locate him.

Galen said it's possible the defendants will now begin accusing each other of having greater involvement, or hopefully tell police who was really giving them instructions.

Kagoga allegedly wrested himself free of the strangulation attempt, and in the process knocked into Ayub and caused him to drop the gun, which Kagoga then recovered. Later he brought Ayub to a phone and dialed 911, prompting police involvement and Ayub's alleged revelation of the phone.

Officials hope to bring both suspects for a court arraignment sometime over the holiday weekend.