Bond Set For Man Accused Of Setting Fiancée On Fire At Gahanna Gas Station


Bond has been set at $800,000 for a man accused of dousing his fiancée in what is believed to be gasoline and setting her ablaze at a Gahanna gas station.

40-year-old Michael Slager appeared in court on Wednesday in a wheelchair and was charged with two felony counts of assault and arson in connection to the August 2 incident.

Police say they received multiple reports that Slager’s fiancé, 31-year-old Judith Malinowski, was engulfed in flames in a parking lot at the Speedway gas station on Agler Road last weekend.  Upon arrival, authorities found Malinowski unable to speak, suffering from significant burn injuries.  Her body was covered in powdered chemical residue from a fire extinguisher.

Police say Slager poured what is believed to be gasoline on the woman and ignited the liquid.

Both were taken to Ohio State Wexner Medical Center for burn treatment.  Slager suffered minor injuries, while Malinowski remains in critical condition, according to the prosecutor's office.

Witnesses say Slager and Malinowski were arguing in the parking lot when Slager appeared to light a cigarette.  That’s when witnesses say the woman became engulfed in flames.

Meanwhile, cameras in the area reportedly show Slager dumping liquid over the victim's head and before she burst into flames.  The Columbus Fire Department and fire explosion investigators noted the presence of ignitable liquid in the area where the victim was found.

Malinowski has been placed under medical sedation, but has identified Slager as the suspect in the case.

In court on Wednesday, Slager’s attorney Doug Shaw called the incident an “accident” and explained his client was taking Malinowski to a drug treatment center when the fire occurred.  "He's in a wheelchair today because in the process of trying to put this fire out, he himself was horrifically burned," Shaw explained.

A judge has ordered Slager to stay away from Malinowski.  He’s set to appear in court again next week.

Investigators say Slager has a lengthy criminal record with nine felonies, including sexual battery.