Woman Testified In Her Own Murder Trial After Boyfriend Set Her On Fire

Woman Testified In Her Own Murder Trial After Boyfriend Set Her On Fire Facebook/ABC6

Judy Malinowski was a kind-hearted mom of two who struggled with opiate addiction but was making amazing progress in getting sober… until she met and started dating a man named Michael Slager. Their relationship turned violent almost immediately, not only causing Judy to relapse but eventually taking her life. The only small grace is that Malinowski was able to testify in her own murder trial before she died due to the horrific injuries she received after Slater set her on fire.

In a video taken from her hospital bed, Judy Malinowski is burned on more than 90% of her body. Her ears are gone, as is much of her hair, her skin, and even her fingers. The clip is actually a deposition against Michael Slager and would be used in his murder trial in the months after she died. He was later sentenced to life without parole.

Malinowski’s tragic story is captured in the new documentary “The Fire That Took Her,” premiering on Paramount+ on May 23. And while Malinowski didn’t live long after Slager’s attack, while she did, she made a major difference to women experiencing abuse. Her work helped extend sentences handed to people who attack victims with accelerants in a bill known as Judy’s Law.

Her life started out well enough, with an idyllic home life complete with a sister and brother to whom she was extremely close. However, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a young woman, a diagnosis she beat but received again in 2006. After undergoing a full hysterectomy, she became addicted to prescription opiates. When those prescriptions ran out, she turned to heroin.

Meeting Michael Slager destroyed Judy Malinowski’s life

michael slager mugshotGahanna Police Department

Judy Malinowski’s daughters stayed with family members so she could concentrate on recovery, and she was actually doing really well at beating her addiction. However, when Michael Slager contacted her via social media and they began dating, that all went downhill. Soon, he began feeding her drugs but avoiding them himself. He used her addiction to control her, and when she attempted to head back to rehab in 2015, everything went terribly wrong.

During a fight at a gas station, Malinkowski threw a soda at Slager, and he then doused her with gasoline before getting a lighter from his truck and setting her on fire. Her entire body was consumed by flames, and while Slager attempted to tell authorities it was all an accident, it was clear that was not the case. Malinowski wasn’t expected to survive.

She went into a coma for months but eventually woke up. When she did, she told her story on video so that it could be used to prosecute Slager to the full extent of the law.

“I don’t think words can describe what it feels like to have your whole body set on fire,” she says in the video, which is featured in the documentary. “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, and that was it. I blacked out. I don’t remember anything until I woke up in the hospital.”

Judy Malinowski underwent more than 50 surgeries and was pronounced clinically dead seven times but still she pushed through. While Slager was prosecuted, because his victim was still alive at the time of the case, he only received 11 years – the maximum allowed. That all changed when she passed away on June 27, 2017, less than five months after giving her deposition. Slager was then charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill