Suspect who set woman on fire arraigned on murder charges


It's been more than two years since Michael Slager poured gasoline on his ex-girlfriend Judy Malinowski, and then lit her on fire.

Malinowski died of her injuries in June.

Slager has faced a judge before for his August 2015 attack on Malinowski. He's been charged, convicted, and sentenced: 11 years in prison for aggravated arson and felonious assault.

But that was before June 27, when Malinowski succumbed to her devastating injuries.

Even though her death came some 700 grueling days after she was attacked, a coroner's report found her death was a direct result of her being set on fire. Now Slager stands accused of her murder.

Last December, Judy shared her frustration with 10TV over a punishment she said couldn't begin to fit the crime. Asked what sentence would be long enough, she answered: "Life."

But prosecutors say for what Slager did, even life isn't enough. They're seeking death.

Long before a verdict comes, will be a decision on whether jurors will hear from Judy directly. Prosecutors fought to allow her under-oath testimony to be recorded before her death.

Slager's attorneys say they will fight to block that testimony.

"I did cross-examine her based on the information I had at the time," said Slager attorney Robert Krapenc. "But I didn't have all the information. Because the coroner's report hadn't been created yet. Toxicology report had not been created yet. I don't know what was in her system. I don't know what I could have asked her. I don't have all the information. and that's why the rule is what the rule is."

Malinowski family friend John Dauphin says jurors deserve to hear from her.

"Nothing can bring her back. Today, in this proceeding, and where this goes, is hopefully a strong first step toward, for lack of a better way to put it, earthly justice for Judy."

This is an extraordinary case, in more ways that one.

Both sides say they have never heard of a case in Ohio where a murder victim essentially testifies from beyond the grave at the trial of their accused killer.

Prosecutors say with or without Judy's testimony, they are confident they can prove their case against Slager.

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