Judy Malinowski was a woman who survived a horrific attack by her ex-boyfriend and testified against him from her deathbed. She symbolized courage and resilience for many people who suffer from domestic violence. Here are some facts about her life, death, and legacy.
Early Life and Family
Judy Malinowski was born in Columbus, Ohio, on August 26, 1983. She was the daughter of Bonnie Bowes and John Malinowski. She had a sister, Danielle Gorman, and a brother, Patrick Bowes. Judy Malinowski attended Reynoldsburg High School, where she was a homecoming queen and a cheerleader. She also survived ovarian cancer as a teenager.
Judy Malinowski had two daughters, Kaylyn and Madison, from her previous marriage to Robert Slager. She divorced him in 2012 after he was convicted of domestic violence. She later met Michael Slager, who was unrelated to her ex-husband and started dating him in 2014.
The Attack and the Aftermath
On August 2, 2015, Judy Malinowski and Michael Slager argued at a gas station in Gahanna, Ohio. Slager poured gasoline over her body and set her on fire. He claimed it was an accident, but witnesses said he did it intentionally. He fled the scene but was later arrested and charged with aggravated arson and felonious assault.
Judy Malinowski suffered burns to 95% of her body and was rushed to the hospital. She underwent 59 surgeries and spent nearly two years in the hospital. Judy Malinowski lost her ears, fingers, hair, and mobility. She also suffered from organ failure, infections, and chronic pain. She could barely speak and breathe.
Despite her condition, Judy Malinowski showed remarkable strength and determination to survive. She wanted to see justice done and to raise awareness about domestic violence. She also wanted to be there for her daughters, who visited her regularly.
The Trial and the Testimony
In December 2016, Michael Slager pleaded no contest to the charges against him and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. However, Judy Malinowski and her family were not satisfied with the sentence. They believed that he deserved a harsher punishment for his crime.
In January 2017, Judy Malinowski recorded a video testimony from her hospital bed with the judge’s permission. She described the attack in detail and how it affected her life. She also said that she did not want Slager to get the death penalty but to spend the rest of his life in prison.
In June 2017, Judy Malinowski died from her injuries at 33. Her death was ruled a homicide, and Slager was indicted for aggravated murder. He faced the death penalty if convicted.
In March 2018, Slager’s trial began, and Judy Malinowski’s video testimony was played in court. It was one of the first cases in U.S. history where a victim testified at their murder trial. The jury found Slager guilty of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The Legacy and the Law
Judy Malinowski’s story inspired many people to support her cause and to fight against domestic violence. Her mother, Bonnie Bowes, became an advocate for victims’ rights and worked with lawmakers to pass a bill named after her daughter.
Judy’s Law was introduced in Ohio in 2017 and signed into Law in 2018. It imposes longer sentences for attackers who use an accelerant to cause serious physical harm to their victims. The Law also allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty for such cases.
Judy’s Law has been praised as a landmark legislation that protects victims and holds perpetrators accountable. It also honors Judy Malinowski’s courage and memory as a woman who refused to give up until the end.
Judy Malinowski was a woman who faced unimaginable suffering but also showed incredible bravery. She testified against her killer on her deathbed and helped change the Law for future victims. She left behind a legacy of hope and justice that will not be forgotten.