COLUMBUS (AP) — The videotaped testimony from a woman who died two years after she was doused in gasoline and set ablaze can be used at her former boyfriend’s trial, an Ohio judge ruled Friday.
Franklin County Judge Guy Reece called it an unprecedented situation because officials knew of no other case in which a victim would testify at his or her own murder trial.
Judy Malinowski testified five months before she died last June, expecting that the recording would be played at her former boyfriend’s trial.
Malinowski, 33, was hospitalized for almost two years and underwent dozens of surgeries after she was engulfed in flames in 2015 behind a gas station in Gahanna, a Columbus suburb.
Her ex-boyfriend, Michael Slager, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading no contest in 2016 to charges including felonious assault and aggravated arson.
After Malinowski’s death, a grand jury indicted Slager on aggravated murder and murder charges. He could face the death penalty, if convicted.
His defense attorneys argued against allowing the testimony from Malinowski saying prosecutors improperly relied on civil law rather than criminal law to obtain the recording.
Malinowski inspired Ohio legislation requiring six additional years in prison for crimes that permanently maim or disfigure victims.
Her two daughters said the law helped them know their mom did not suffer in vain.