Judy Malinowski was the victim of an unimaginable a*ttack, as her ex-boyfriend set her on fire outside an Ohio gas station. Despite sustaining burns over 90% of her body, she fought to survive for two years and was determined to see her at*tacker brought to justice.
Just before her passing, she recorded a videotaped testimony, which was later played at trial. Her testimony made her one of the first people in U.S. history to testify at her own m*urder trial.
The At*tack that Took Her
In August 2015, Michael Slager, Judy Malinowski’s on-and-off boyfriend, doused her with petrol during an argument outside a gas station in Gahanna, Ohio. He then set her on fire, causing her to be engulfed in flames.
The at*tack was caught on security camera footage, including the moment when Slager went to his truck to retrieve a cigarette lighter.
Despite being in a coma for eight months, Malinowski eventually regained consciousness but was in excruciating pain, especially during the twice-daily dressing changes required for her burns, which covered 90% of her body. Unfortunately, she passed away nearly two years later on June 27, 2017, due to the severity of her injuries.
In 2016, Slager agreed to a plea deal where he entered an Alford plea, which did not require him to admit guilt but accepted that there was enough evidence for a jury to convict him. He was sentenced to 11 years for aggravated arson.
Bonnie Bowes, Malinowski’s mother, stated that Michael’s intention was to “silence her” and prevent her from publicly sharing her story.
Judy’s Determination to Get Justice
Malinowski was aware of her impending death and the possibility of her ex-boyfriend being charged with mu*rder. According to Bowes,
Malinowski was determined to testify and prove that Michael had intentionally set her on fire. Despite being in her hospital bed, Malinowski filmed the deposition, which included questions from the prosecution and cross-examination by the defense. She even reduced her pain medication to ensure that she would be a more reliable witness.
During her testimony, Malinowski recounted her boyfriend’s threatening words as he emptied gasoline over her body: “See what I’ll do to you, bitch.” She also described how Slager walked towards her as she cried and begged for help, and lit her on fire. Malinowski testified that after she was set on fire, Slager backed away, and his eyes “just turned black.”
Bowes had reservations about Slager when he was first introduced to her daughter in January 2015. Malinowski had recently overcome an opioid addiction, and Bowes did not believe that her daughter’s new boyfriend had good intentions. Describing the relationship as “toxic,” Bowes said that Slager had physically assaulted her daughter, who had repeatedly called the police but never pressed charges.
During Slager’s sentencing hearing in July 2018, a video recording of Malinowski’s deposition was played, more than a year after her death. At the last minute, Slager changed his plea from not guilty to guilty of aggravated mur*der, although this offense carried the possibility of the death penalty. Despite the seriousness of the c*rime, Malinowski had requested mercy.
In the end, he received a life sentence in prison with no possibility of parole.
Judy’s Case Led to a New Law–Judy’s Law
In 2017, a legislation was introduced in Ohio, Malinowski’s home state, which mandates harsher and lengthier sentences for perpetrators like Slager who deliberately disfigure their victims. This was signed by Gov. John Kasich.
The bill, called Judy’s Law, stipulates that cr*imes resulting in permanent disfigurement or disfigurement of the victim would require an additional six years of imprisonment.