49,000,000,000,000,000 to 1

Those are the odds that someone other than Mario Girau of Yonkers stabbed and bludgeoned his wife to death last year, according to a DNA test.

I learned this after talking with Girau’s defense lawyer, David Rich, a few minutes after the 71-year-old retiree pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. That number, by the way, is pronounced 49 quadrillion, not quintillion as I previously said. No wonder Girau took a plea deal. He’ll serve 15 years to life, but at his age, with his deteriorating health, 15 years will be a life sentence.

In the courtroom, the white-haired Girau sat at the defense table because he was too weak to stand. But he was extremely polite as he admitted to being a murderer, as evidenced by his responses to Westchester County Judge Robert DiBella and Assistant District Attorney Lana Hochheiser:

“Is this what you want to do today?” the judge asked.
“Yes, sir!” Girau answered.
“Are you pleading guilty because you are, in fact, guilty?” the prosecutor asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Girau said.

Sitting two rows in front of me was Mario Girau Jr., one of the killer’s eleven — 11! — children. He was allowed to go back in the holding cell area and talk with his father before the plea. As the elder Girau was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, he turned to his son and said, “Take care. I’ll talk to you later.”

When I approached the younger Girau in the hallway, I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t feel much like talking. We’ll see if anyone speaks at the elder Girau’s Jan. 16 sentencing.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.