An Ohio woman has died nearly two years after being doused with gasoline and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend.
Judy Malinowski, 33, died on Tuesday, according to her mother, Bonnie Bowes.
Malinowski’s ex-boyfriend, Michael Slager, 41, set her on fire at a Gahanna, Ohio gas station in August 2015 following a dispute between the couple. The mother-of-two suffered fourth- and fifth-degree burns to 80 per cent of her body.
The Daily Mail reported that the fire melted Malinowski’s ears and parts of her fingers, and she lost the ability to speak above a whisper due to extensive damage to her trachea. Malinowski was unable to walk following the attack, and required a ventilator to breathe.
Malinowski endured 56 surgeries, although doctors were unable to repair large open wounds on her back and buttocks because she was too weak to lie on her stomach during surgery. She remained hospitalized until May, when she was admitted to palliative care.
Slager initially claimed that he did not intend to set Malinowski on fire, contending that he accidentally ignited the fuel when he lit a cigarette. He ultimately pleaded no contest to charges of felonious assault, aggravated arson and possession of criminal tools and was sentenced in December to the maximum of 11 years in prison.
Following Malinowski’s death on Tuesday, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said his office will now pursue murder charges against Slager.
“It would be our intention, and it has been all along, that should she pass away it was our intention to pursue a homicide charge,” O’Brien said. “This day was not unexpected for probably a long time, but it’s sad that it finally arrived.”
In January, Malinowski recorded a sealed deposition of the attack that is likely to be submitted as evidence should Slager face a murder trial.
Facing outrage over the leniency of Slager’s 11-year sentence, lawmakers in Ohio are set to pass legislation named after Malinowski. The Daily Mail reported that “Judy’s Law would increase the penalties for cases like Malinowki’s, where a victim is left permanently disfigured when an accelerant is used to set them on fire. It unanimously passed the Ohio House in May and is waiting on the Senate.”
Kaylyn Malinowski, 13, the oldest daughter of the victim, testified last week before an Ohio Senate committee regarding the bill.
“While he got 11 years, my mom, my sister and I all got a life sentence,” Kaylyn said. “While we stand here today, my mom lays in a hospital bed where she has been for 689 days.”
Malinowski’s second daughter is nine years old.
Prior to the attack, Malinowski survived ovarian cancer and successfully overcame an opioid addiction.
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