5 Things to Know About Judy Malinowski, Who Lived For Two Years After Being Set on Fire by Fiancé
The 2015 attack left 90 percent of Judy Malinowski's body covered in third- or fourth-degree burns
On Tuesday, nearly two years after she was set on fire by her former fiancé, Judy Malinowski succumbed to the injuries she sustained in the August 2015 attack, dying at the age of 33.
The attack left 90 percent of her body covered in third- and fourth-degree burns; Malinowski was hospitalized at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition until her death.
Here are five things to know about the case.
1. Malinowski Is Survived By Her Two Daughters
Malinowski was a mother of two at the time of the attack. Her two daughters are now aged 9 and 13.
The two girls were shocked upon learning their mother has died, according to NBC4i.
Judy’s mother, Bonnie Bowes, confirmed her daughter’s death on Tuesday afternoon. She told NBC4i: “That child suffered for two years to tell her own story, who has the strength to do it?”
Malinowski’s oldest daughter, Kaylyn, testified just last week before the Ohio Senate committee considering Judy’s Law, which seeks to increase penalties in cases like hers that leave the victim permanently disfigured through the use of an accelerant.
“My mom, my sister and I all got a life sentence,” Kaylyn explained. “While we stand here today, my mom lays in a hospital bed where she has been for 689 days.”
2. Malinowski Underwent 59 Surgeries Before Dying
The 2015 fire left Malinowski with scars across the majority of her body. Doctors performed 59 operations to keep her alive.
Judy’s onetime fiancé, Michael Slager, doused her in gasoline and lit her on fire on Aug. 2, 2015, behind a gas station in Gahanna, Ohio.
Witnesses called 911 saying a woman was engulfed in flames, and that she had been set on fire by a man who was later identified as Slager.
Slager was also treated for burns he had sustained in the incident, and at least one witness told police he used a fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames.
3. Slager Received An 11-Year Sentence For the Attack But Might Now be Charged with Murder
Earlier this year, the 41-year-old Slager was sentenced to 11 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated arson, possession of criminal tools and assault.
Slager had pleaded no contest to all three criminal counts just before his sentencing.
Ron O’Brien, the prosecutor for Ohio’s Franklin County, said in a statement issued at the time that Slager received the maximum sentence for his crimes. It is possible he could be prosecuted for murder, as O’Brien confirms his office is taking the necessary steps to file such a charge now that Malinowski has died.
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4. A Witness Contradicted Slager’s Claims that The Fire Was Accidental
At first, Slager had told investigators the fire was a horrific accident.
But a witness contradicted his account, claiming the pair were arguing before Malinowski was set on fire.
Attorney Douglas Shaw told PEOPLE last year his client adored his wife-to-be, saying that Slager was injured while trying to save Malinowski by putting out the flames.
“He’s in a wheelchair today because in the process of trying to put this fire out, he himself was horrifically burned,” Shaw said.
5. Malinowski Had Wanted to Testify During Slager’s Trial
Earlier this year, Malinowski took steps to ensure her voice could be heard even after her death.
In January, Judy recorded a sealed deposition. It could be used against Slager if and when he is charged in his ex-girlfriend’s death.
The cancer survivor, who could only whisper because her throat was damaged in the blaze, told NBC4i in December: “I never knew that a human being could be so evil. He just stood there and did nothing. The look in his eyes was pure evil.”