Man sentenced to life in prison for brutally killing his ex-girlfriend by setting her on fire and watching her burn
42-year-old Michael Slager has managed to avoid a possible death penalty by pleading guilty to the charge of killing his ex-girlfriend Judy Malinowski.
A man from Ohio, whom the police are saying caused the death of his ex-girlfriend by setting her on fire, has pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated murder. 42-year-old Michael Slager has managed to avoid a possible death penalty that was being appealed for him in court. He pleaded guilty on July 5 for the death of 33-year-old Judy Malinowski after coming to an agreement on a deal with prosecutors. If convicted, Slager could have been given the death penalty at the trial. The presiding judge at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court sentenced the man to life behind bars without the possibility of getting parole.
The man had been sentenced to 11 years behind bars on charges of aggravated arson and felonious assault charges after he poured gasoline on Malinowski and set her on fire in August 2015 in Gahanna. He was later charged with aggravated murder after the woman died from her injuries in June 2017, the New York Post reported.
It was reported in April this year that Malinowski testified at her own murder trial through a taped video interview that she gave before she died. She died five months after she gave her testimony. A Franklin County Judge ruled on April 13 that the video from Malinowski could definitely be used in the murder trial of Slager. Her mother was all for the decision to let her deceased daughter's recording be used as her testimony in court. She said:"He ran around to me and started pouring gasoline. Started at my head and worked his way down. Some got into my throat as he did that. That burned really bad. And he pulled a lighter out of his pocket and he started walking toward me. I just remember crying and begging for help and he lit me on fire. I don't think words can describe what it feels like to have your whole body set on fire. I can remember fire on my face and eyes. I can remember screaming for help. I never knew that a human being could be so evil. He just stood there and did nothing. God please, please help me."
Further narrating her ordeal she was quoted saying: "It stung. It was like a thousand needles going in. A thousand hot needles penetrating my body. And then it got to the point that I couldn't see anything and everyone's voices were sounding far away. I thought for sure I was dying. I just prayed to Jesus to please forgive me for my sins and to take care of my children. That was when I blacked out and I don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital."
"If you were to die from your injuries, and Mr. Slager were to be convicted of having done that, I want you to tell a future judge what you want to see happen to Mr. Slager," Assistant Prosecutor Warren Edwards had asked. "I would like to see him charged with murder and to a life sentence. I think that he deserves that," Malinowski answered.
Bonnie Bowes, Malinowski's mother, told WCMH: "Judy fought to tell her story. I think it’s the first step toward what her legacy should and will be." It has been reported that Malinowski, a mother-of-two, expected the video testimony she made to be played during the trial. Bowes said: "She was extremely frail and she was burned, but yet could very clearly articulate what happened, where she was, fear, everything that you would expect. I’m so proud of her and I know one day I’ll see her, although my heart will be forever broken without her."
The horrific crime was committed in 2015, when Malinowski was set on fire behind a gas station in Gahanna, a suburb in Columbus. 90% of her body was covered in third and fourth-degree burns. Fox News had reported earlier that the woman lost both of her ears and two of her fingers in the terrifying ordeal. She was also left with open wounds on her back and buttocks.
Malinowski went through a total of 56 surgeries before she finally passed away, but her death and struggle inspired the Ohio legislation called Judy's Law, which was made to help put away suspects for an additional six years for any crimes they have committed that permanently maims or disfigures victims. It helped her family, especially her daughters, to come to terms with the fact that their mother did not suffer and die for nothing.
Mark Collins, Slager's defense attorney, told PEOPLE: "She may be the only victim to testify in their own murder trial." Judge Guy Reece of Franklin County called the whole thing an unprecedented situation because the officials are not aware of any other cases where a victim has testified at his or her own murder trial. According to The Columbus Dispatch, her mother said: "[I'm] so grateful that Judy can tell her story. … She went to her grave thinking that the judicial system would unseal her side of the story."
She and Malinowski's 14-year-old daughter were in court as Slager apologized. "I'd like to apologize to your family for the pain I've caused you. And I'd like to apologize to my family for what I put you guys through," he said.
Her mother feels that the outcome is what Judy would have wanted, however, she was also deeply saddened by the fact that Judy left two grieving daughters behind. She says the children have been subjected to an "eternal sentence" that "they will live the rest of their life without their mom. They will not see her again until they go on to their own eternity."