Episode 1 - A Testimony from Beyond the Grave
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Today’s story takes us to the city of Columbus, the state capital of Ohio. In 2016, Columbus was named as one of the USA’s top six best big cities in which to live. Among other attributes, it was cited as having affordable housing, quality schools and low crime rates. But, just a year prior, in August of 2015, the city of Columbus would recoil with horror from a savage attack on one of their own.
On August 2nd, 2015, 32-year-old Judy Malinowski had made a decision. A big decision. She was just a few weeks shy of her 33rd birthday, and she was determined to change her life around once and for all. It was another hot day in the summer city heat and as temperatures soared towards 31 degrees Celsius / 88 degrees Fahrenheit, Judy had just been dropped off at the steps of the Parkside Drug Rehabilitation Centre by her boyfriend. She lit one last cigarette before she was to enter the facility, determined that today, this day, she was going to make the changes her life so desperately needed: not just for her, but also for her two beautiful daughters. It was at this moment that something caught her attention…and started the chain of events that would devastate a family, shock a city, a state, a nation, and ultimately change the law.
This is Dark Side and I am your host, Suze.
So, why was Judy stood on the steps of a rehabilitation centre? How had her life spiraled so out of control that she was having to undertake drug rehabilitation?…and what was it that caught her attention?
Let’s go back to the beginning…
Judy Bowes was born on August 26, 1983 in New Albany, OH. She was a fun-loving, ambitious child with an infectious spirit and personality. She was also stunningly beautiful and smart. She graduated from New Albany High School, class of 2001, where she was crowned Miss New Albany and homecoming queen. She was definitely a favourite among her classmates. People gravitated towards Judy and even though she was extremely popular, she was also kind. She participated in numerous social and community activities and her passion and love for people made all those who knew her feel special. Judy always put others’ needs before her own, and one of Judy's many gifts was her ability to love all people unconditionally without judgment.
After high school, Judy went on to attend The Ohio State University. She could have had her pick of universities, but Judy wanted to stay near to her family. She was very close to them, especially her mother, Bonnie.
Whilst at University, Judy met Ron Malinowski. The father of 1 daughter was smitten with the vivacious, stunning, outgoing, caring Judy. The two hit it off and were soon in a whirlwind romance that led to the couple getting married, and in 2004 at the age of 21, Judy and Ron welcomed their first child into the world.
Life was going so well for Judy – a wonderful husband, a loving close-knit family, a great job in customer service, and the cherry on the cake; and a gorgeous baby daughter, Kaylyn…
…And then tragedy struck.
Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Judy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This was a massive blow to her and her family. Her daughter was only a baby and Judy had dreamed of having a big family of her own. But Judy made the decision to fight the awful disease with everything she had – that same indomitable spirit she’d displayed all her life – she was not going to leave her child motherless. And Judy fought.
Her battle was rewarded when in January 2005, she was told the cancer was in remission – she had beaten the disease. Her battle was over. But little did Judy know that whilst she did win this battle, it would only be the start of a war that she would fight for the rest of her life.
Judy and Ron looked to the future, and even dared to dream of having another child…and in early 2006, they welcomed a second daughter to their family; Madison. Judy’s future looked bright, and her cup ran over with the fortuity of her life.
Judy and Ron were a popular couple and had a close-knit group of friends whom they spent most of their time with. It was a real tight knit circle and included in this circle was Melissa, Ron’s previous partner and mother of his first child. Judy and Ron’s girls loved their stepsister, and similarly, Judy became close friends with Melissa. They were often at each other’s houses and their children loved to play together.
But, just months after the birth of Madison, in April 2006, history repeated itself. Judy was told that her ovarian cancer had returned. Judy would face another battle for her life, but as she had done just two years before, Judy faced the battle with resolve and determination. She would face the odds and win this battle.
And she did win the battle, but complications after treatment left Judy in a severe amount of pain, pain that she was to battle for years. Judy was no longer able to work because of the pain and had to go onto benefits and she struggled with daily tasks. In order to get through each day, Judy was on a cocktail of painkillers.
But the years of struggle took a toll on Judy’s mental health, and sadly, her marriage to Ron. The two remained together, but the strain was visible and palpable. Judy found herself turning to her friendship circle more and more for support, especially Melissa.
It was whilst she had been visiting Melissa at her house in 2007 that Judy met Michael Slager. Michael had been injured in a car accident and, as he was between housing, Melissa had allowed him to stay at her house whilst he convalesced. Michael quickly ingratiated himself into their friendship circle and became a firm friend to Judy.
However, one night, whilst the friends were enjoying an evening together, Michael pulled Judy to one side. He had something to tell her, and this information was to be the first step on the path towards the horrific event that changed Judy and her family’s life forever, shocked a nation, and ultimately…changed a law.
…Michael told Judy that Ron was having an affair, but Judy barely had time to process this shocking news before Michael started to confess that he liked her, had always liked her. In fact, he was in love with her. But Michael was dating one of Judy’s friends! As flattered as she was by Michael’s confession and attention, Judy kept him firmly in the friendship zone.
Reeling from the shock of Michael’s revelations, Judy withdrew from the friendship group for a while to concentrate on her marriage. However, sadly, the marriage was irreparable, and Ron and Judy separated.
So now Judy was a single mother on benefits. Her mental health was already at a low ebb, when in 2010, at the age of just 27, the doctor’s advised that she needed a full hysterectomy to ensure the cancer did not come back again and to resolve the constant pain she was in. This devastated Judy and her dreams of having a big family, but she also knew that she needed to do everything she could to prolong her life for the sake of her two daughters. She agreed to the operation.
But, between the cancer treatment, the years of pain and the hysterectomy, Judy was still left in daily pain, which she managed and controlled with prescribed painkillers. As Judy recovered from the surgery, and her health began to improve, her doctor, along with her health insurance, decided that the pain killers were no longer needed, and they were stopped…
…and this is when Judy realised she had become addicted. Terrified and going through withdrawals, Judy confided in her mother, Bonnie, about her addiction. Bonnie immediately booked her into a rehabilitation centre. Thankfully, after many weeks of battling once again for her life, the treatment worked, and Judy was no longer addicted. Her mother could not have been more proud of the amazing courage that Judy had displayed during the many battles she had endured and won in her short life and felt confident that her daughter’s future would be nothing by bright going forward…
…But little did Bonnie know that Judy had been leading a double life – she had been addicted to painkillers for years, and when she could no longer get them, she had, sadly, turned to hard drugs. She had kept her addiction a secret from her mother and extended family but having no access to painkillers anymore and now being solely reliant on heroin and crack cocaine, her addiction escalated, and her life by comparison, headed on an ever-quickening downward spiral.
Judy did attend several drug rehabilitation centres, desperate and determined to kick the addiction. She’d beaten cancer twice; she would kick heroin! But each time, the lure of the drugs pulled her back in. It was a battle she would fight for years. During these years after her divorce, Judy turned back to her close-knit friends, eager to have a support system in her life once more, especially Melissa.
However, on meeting up with everyone again, she noticed a familiar face was missing, Michael. On inquiring of his whereabouts, Judy was informed that Michael was in prison. And with that, Judy slowly worked on re-building her life, getting clean, focusing on her children, and all thoughts of Michael Slager slowly ebbed from her mind.
By 2014, life for Judy was on the up. She had been free from cancer and drugs for years and was battling hard to stay sober and drug free. She still wasn’t able to work, and so still on disability benefits, but Judy knew her life was finally moving in the right direction.
Then one day she received a message on Facebook. It was from Michael Slager. As she read his message, she remembered him with fondness. He said he was out of prison, but he was having a hard time. His girlfriend had recently died of a heroin overdose and he missed their friendship.
Judy and Michael were soon messaging each other every day, several times a day. Their friendship grew stronger and eventually, Michael asked Judy to go on a date with him. She considered it – they had been good friends some years ago, but she had not seen him as a potential partner at that time because of her marriage to Ron. Back then she had friendzoned him. But now, looking at his profile picture and reading his sweet words, she realised she was attracted to him. So, she agreed to go on the date.
The date went well, very well in fact! They laughed, they joked, they reminisced, and Judy realised that Michael was definitely no longer in the friend zone. In fact, he was so far outside the friend zone now that she invited him to stay the night. Their enjoyment continued through the night, but the next morning Michael made excuses not to leave, so she let him stay another night, then another night, then another night and well…Michael never left. From that very first date, Michael just moved into her home.
It was quite some months later that Judy told her mum, Bonnie, about her new relationship with Michael in early 2015. Bonnie was happy for her daughter – finally after years of being alone and enduring hardships and battles, her daughter’s life seemed to be picking up. But, from the beginning, Bonnie sensed something was off with Michael. For a start, they had been together some time, but she had never met him. When Judy came to visit her, she would come alone…and she would often be sporting bruises. Bonnie was worried for her daughter, but Judy always had an excuse for each and every bruise and allayed her mother’s worries.
But Bonnie was right to be worried. Judy’s relationship with Michael was fractious from the start. Very quickly, Michael became controlling, coercive, and obsessive over Judy. He wasn’t interested in her family or daughters. He just wanted Judy all to himself, all the time. He even went as far as putting a tracking device on her phone. The couple fought often and violently - well, it was Michael dishing out the violence, not Judy. And after trying so hard over so many years to get clean and stay clean, Michael began giving her painkillers again. He knew of her history with addiction, she’d told him all about her years of struggle, but still he proceeded to ply her with painkillers. And the inevitable happened. She became hooked again and it wasn’t long before she was back on the heroin. Judy’s life was once again spiraling out of control.
The money Judy received from benefits went little way to paying for their heroin addiction, so Judy often had to lean on her mother for financial support. But Bonnie did not know that her hard-earned cash was being spent on drugs. But she did see her daughter’s life spiraling downward, her appearance was disheveled, her confidence and bright spirit dulled…and she suspected that Michael Slager was behind her daughter’s change. She pleaded for Judy to leave him, but her pleas fell on deaf ears, and it seemed that the more Bonnie begged for her daughter to see the light, the more Michael dragged her into the abyss.
In a last-ditch attempt to get through to her daughter, Bonnie told Judy that she would no longer financially support her if she was with Michael. So, Judy begrudgingly agreed to leave him. But she didn’t leave him. She hid Michael’s presence in her life and her house from her mother and continued to receive her mother’s financial support.
It wasn’t long before Bonnie did find out that Michael was still very much present and still very much indentured in Judy’s life. Realising her daughter had lied to her and feeling at an absolute loss of how to help her get out of this quagmire, Bonnie made a final, desperate decision. She cut her daughter off altogether. Her heart broke to take this drastic action. She wanted nothing more than to help her daughter, but she knew now that she had to adopt a tough love stance if her daughter was ever going to seek help and a way out.
But Judy didn’t seek a way out. Instead she turned to begging on the streets to fund her addiction.
In March 2015, Bonnie, received a call from Michael. They had been arguing and Judy was refusing to let him into the house. Michael feared Judy was going to commit suicide. Frantic with worry, Bonnie called the paramedics. Nothing came of the situation legally, but Bonnie was now back in Judy’s life. However, she still refused to financially support her whilst she was with Michael, but she was the named person Judy’s apartment lease. In another last-ditch attempt to jolt her daughter to seek help, Bonnie refused to renew the lease on Judy’s apartment. Judy was forced to move her belongings into storage and move into a cheap hotel. Michael of course moved with her.
Judy did manage to eventually find a cheap apartment, and of course, Michael moved right in with her.
In May 2015, during a particularly bad argument with Michael, which turned violent, Judy locked herself into a bedroom and called the police begging for help, saying that Michael was going to kill her. Realising what Judy had done, Michael then also called the emergency services and reported that Judy was high on drugs and was being violent towards him. Again, nothing came of it legally, but the frequency of the fighting and the escalating violence convinced Judy that needed to get Michael Slager out of her life once and for all. But every time Judy plucked up the courage to try and end things, Michael would turn violent until she reneged. If she left her house and hid elsewhere, he would track her down.
In July 2015, Bonnie received a call from Judy saying that she was trying to break up with Michael, but he was refusing to leave the apartment. Bonnie rushed to her daughter’s flat and demanded that he left. But Michael refused. Instead he sauntered around as if he owned the place and was intimidating and arrogant to both Judy and Bonnie. Amazingly, this was the first time Bonnie had actually met Michael in person, and she despised him. In the end, Bonnie called the police and Michael was physically removed. After he left, Judy confided to Bonnie that Michael had got her hooked-on drugs again and she was desperate to get away from him and get sober again. Bonnie vowed to do everything she could to help her daughter.
A few days later, Judy visited Talbert House – a drug rehabilitation centre and filled in the paperwork. By now, Michael had wormed his way back in Judy’s life and Judy realised she needed to battle her addiction before she could have the strength to finally put Michael out of her life. So, Michael was alongside her at Talbert House. As they waited in the lobby for the nurses to admit her, Michael tried to convince her to leave; citing that they’d go to Cincinnati, start afresh, and wean themselves off drugs using lower doses. But Judy was committed to rehab and refused to leave. So, in a last-ditch attempt, Michael reminded her that at Talbert House they wouldn’t allow her to smoke. Judy realised she faced a huge up-hill battle just trying to get off the drugs without having nicotine withdrawals as well. Sadly, this convinced Judy and she left with Michael.
But Judy wasn’t to be deterred. She remembered spending some time at Parkside Rehab Centre previously. The program had really helped her, and it was a longer program than most rehab centres. Plus, they allowed her to smoke. Judy’s mind was made up. She wouldn’t go to Cincinnati with Michael, but instead she’d go to Parkside. This decision enraged Michael and he once again pummeled her with his fists. Judy was terrified and desperate and so, she ran away. She hid out in a hotel for 6 days. She contacted nobody and spent 6 days inside the hotel room. But on the 6th day, she reached out to a family member, and this family member informed Michael of her whereabouts. And sure enough, Michael dragged her kicking and screaming from the hotel and back into his life.
On 1st of August, Parkside Rehab Centre contacted Judy and informed her that they had space for her. She arranged to attend the next day. To her great surprise Michael was supportive of this, but she was worried he would have an ulterior motive just as he had on the day she tried to admit herself to Talbert House.
On 2nd August 2015, Michael drove her to Parkside, just as he had taken her to Talbert House. When they arrived Judy, fearful of Michael coercing her out of admitting herself – just as he had done at Talbert House – asked him to drop her off at the steps of the centre and allow her to go in alone. Michael wasn’t happy. He wanted to come in with her, but she insisted, and so Michael left her at the foot of the centre’s steps.
As she walked up the steps, she noticed a patient having a cigarette. She reached for her cigarettes but realised she had none, so she asked the patient if she could have one of theirs and they obliged. Whilst she was determined to go through with the rehab, she also didn’t want to enter without any cigarettes.
She knew she wouldn’t get through the program if she couldn’t have nicotine. She also wanted to speak to her mother and her daughters prior to being admitted. She knew it would be some time before she would see them again and she just wanted to hear their voices one last time. So, as she stood there smoking, she decided she would do these errands first before entering the rehab. There was a petrol station close by. She would walk there, buy the cigarettes, and call her family. Then she would enter rehab. As her mind was meandering with these thoughts, she vaguely noticed Michael driving away from the facility. But then something snapped her abruptly out of her thoughts and to attention. Instead of turning onto the street and away from the Rehab Centre, Michael had instead turned around and was heading for her. He stopped in front of her, and she wasn’t even sure at this point why he’d turned around, but knowing that she needed cigarettes, she asked him to take her to the local petrol station called Speedway to get some. He obliged.
But, from the moment she got into his truck, she knew she’d made a big mistake. The arguing started immediately. He didn’t want her to go into rehab, but she was determined to go. They were still arguing as they pulled into the Speedway. When Michael got out of the truck and went into the shop, Judy made the decision to run. It was her only chance to get away from him, to get the help she so desperately needed, and to get her life back. She snuck out of the truck and ran around to the back of the Speedway to hide…
…but Michael had seen her.
As she cowered at the back of the shop wondering what her next move was, Michael sped around the corner and slammed his truck to a screeching stop just feet from her. He got out of the truck and began hurling abuse at her and demanding she got back in the truck. Judy refused. The argument escalated and Judy, at her wits end, screamed at him to leave her alone and threw a Styrofoam cup of soda at him. Incensed, Michael ran to his truck and grabbed an item. When Judy saw what he had in his hands, she screamed and begged him to stop. But he looked at her, his eyes dead and full of evil, and he took the top off the can…and began to pour petrol all over Judy. He started on her head and hair and worked his way down. Petrol got into Judy’s mouth, throat and eyes and burned. She turned to run away but tripped and fell to the floor. Michael continued to pour petrol over her entire body until she was soaked.
Judy was once again in a fight for her life. She begged him to stop, but he didn’t respond to any of her cries for help. He just kept repeating, ‘how do you like this?’ She looked at his face and all she could see was evil. But as she lay, pleading for him to stop and begging for her life, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a lighter and began walking towards her. Judy screamed at the top of her lungs. Her screams attracted a passer-by who headed to the back of the store to see what was going on. What he witnessed has scarred him for life.
Judy was laying on the ground, her entire body engulfed with flames.
Judy’s blood curdling screams could be heard for blocks. Her body writhed and burned in agony. Her skin agonisingly melted away. She looked at Michael and, with the last of her strength and breathe, begged him to help her. He just stood there, looking at her with dead, black eyes. Pure evil.
The pain was overwhelming and as the fire raged over her body, Judy lost her sight as the flames raged over her face and melted her eyeballs. She was still trying to beg for help, but flames now engulfed her mouth and tongue. She could hear voices of people running to her rescue, but as the fire grew in intensity, covering her entire body, Judy’s strength was ebbing. She could hear people shouting and screaming for help. But as the fire engulfed her ears, the voices slowly faded. She knew she was dying and overcome with pain, Judy slipped into the blackness that was engulfing her.
The witness that had rounded the corner to see Judy ablaze had called the emergency services and had run for an extinguisher. As he tried to get the flames under control, Michael calmly got into his truck and drove away. Paramedics arrived and Judy was rushed to Ohio State University Hospital.
Bonnie had been going about her day as normal, but Judy had been on her mind. She knew she was entering the Parkside Rehab Centre today and she hoped beyond hope, that this time her daughter would be able to kick the evil in her life; the drugs and Michael. Her thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from an unknown number. It was the hospital. They informed her that Judy had been in an accident and could she come as soon as possible. Bonnie raced to the hospital – her mind whirring – Judy was supposed to be in rehab, how had she gotten into an accident? And was it an accident? Bonnie had a gut feeling that Michael would be somehow involved.
But nothing could have prepared Bonnie for what met her at the hospital. Judy was alive. Just. But 80% of her body was covered in 4th and 5th degree burns. She had lost two fingers, both ears, all her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes and suffered mass internal burns. She had been placed into an induced coma, but Bonnie was told to prepare for the worst. Judy was not expected to live more than a few hours. In the space of 1 hour, Bonnie’s hope for her daughter’s future had been replaced with devastation and wrenching heart ache at her daughter’s horrific injuries and prognosis of imminent death.
As police quickly caught up with Michael Slager and arrested him on the charge of aggravated arson and felonious assault, Bonnie clung to her daughter’s bedside. And as the minutes passed and turned into hours, and the hours turned into days, it was obvious that Judy’s indominable will – the same will that had gotten her through so many other battles in her life before – was in full force. Judy continued to cling to life, and the more she hung on, the more surgeries and procedures the doctors performed in order to rebuild her face and her body. In total, Judy would undergo 60 surgeries including skin grafts.
Seven months after the attack, Judy was brought out of the induced coma. She was blind and could barely speak above a whisper as her vocal cords had been so badly damaged. Her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes had never grown back. She still suffered terrible open wounds on her back, but because her body was in so much raw pain, she could not be laid on her front so that the open wounds could heal. She would never walk again.
Slowly, over time, her eyesight started to come back, and so, two months after she came around from the coma, Judy asked for a mirror. Bonnie was hesitant. Her beautiful daughter, the former Miss New Albany, with thick golden blonde hair and perfect smile, was now reduced to a human skeleton with melted skin. But Judy was adamant.
When Judy looked at herself in the mirror she did not cry. She did not wail, moan, or show any self-pity. She studied herself in the mirror for some time and then turned to her mother and said that she vowed she would do all she could to help other women in domestic violence situations.
But despite all the best efforts by the doctors, and Judy’s indomitable will, her injuries were too severe. Judy was informed that she would never recover. She would never leave hospital. It was only a matter of time before she died. Judy cried…not for herself, but for her daughters. She had fought cancer twice and multiple battles with addictions to stay alive for her two beloved daughters, so that they would not be left to grow up without a mother. Her heart broke for her children, not herself.
A year after the attack, in August 2016, Scumbag Slager stood on trial for aggravated arson and felonious assault. Incredibly, the sleazeball’s defence was that it had all been a terrible accident. She’d accidentally caught fire when he lit a cigarette! Unbelievable. Thankfully, the jury saw through his lies and convicted him to 11 years in prison, which was the maximum sentence for assault in Ohio.
11 years. Let’s just let that sink in. He has permanently disfigured a person to the point that they will never recover and will leave their children without a parent, and he gets 11 years. Disgraceful…
When Judy heard the verdict and sentence, she was outraged. She contacted her lawyer and asked him to come see her in hospital…
…Meanwhile, a legal team in Ohio equally felt the sentence term was a disgrace, and so they came together and created ‘Judy’s Law’, in honour of Judy. The law would increase penalties for cases with victims who are left permanently disfigured when an accelerant is used to set them on fire. It will add an extra six years to a sentence to anyone who maims or disfigures. The legal team worked furtively with the justice system to get the law passed – determined to get extra time put on Slager’s sentence.
When Judy’s lawyer visited her, she told him that as she knew she was going to die, she wanted to give testimony against Slager prior to her death – so that she could have her testimony given at Slager’s murder trial, for that is what he would face after her death. The lawyer was reticent. This had never been done in the history of Ohio law – a murder victim giving evidence before they were dead!? But Judy was adamant.
And so, Judy weaned herself off of key medication, enduring increased pain, in order to be of sound mind to testify in January 2017. Via videoconferencing, Judy, in her hospital bed, answered questions from prosecutors and was subject to cross-examination by Slager’s attorney, all of whom had gathered in a courtroom for the deposition. She spoke clearly and forcefully about the timeline of the attack. She disputed Slager’s contention that the arson was an accident and that he was trying to light a cigarette. Her deposition was sealed and saved.
By June 2017, Judy and her doctors knew that she did not have a lot of time left. Every day was filled with excruciating pain. Every inch of her body screamed in agony, every breathe a labouring, aching effort. Her internal injuries were not healing as weren’t the wounds on her back. It was just a matter of time.
Meanwhile, the Ohio legal team were battling valiantly to push through Judy’s law and finally on 27th June 2017, the state of Ohio passed the Law. Elation passed through the room and a whoop went up. But in Judy’s hospital room, there was only sadness. After 700 days in hospital, Judy had passed away… just hours before the law passed. Bonnie and her children were left devastated.
When the news of Judy’s death reached the legal team they immediately started proceedings against Michael Slager for murder.
As Slager’s murder trial approached in July 2017, Judy
s legal team knew that they needed her deposition as key evidence in the trial. But, would the Judge allow it to be submitted? A testimony from beyond the grave had never been introduced into an Ohio courtroom before. It was unprecedented.
But the presiding Judge ruled that Judy’s testimony was admissible at trial, citing that that it is an unprecedented case where the victim is able to give evidence after their own death and should be permitted.
Slager was now facing the death penalty. He desperately did not want Judy’s testimony to be included in the trial. He wanted to appeal the Judge’s ruling allowing the deposition to be admissible. He knew the jury would only have to take one look at her to know that he was guilty, and he was intent on pleading not guilty. However, his defence believed he risked an increased chance of being executed unless he pleaded guilty. Slager took the legal team’s advice, pleaded guilty and his defence rested on the fact that he was bipolar and had an intermittent explosive disorder, which meant he can have inappropriately outsized responses in altercations and argued that this is what happened in 2015. Please.
Judy’s testimony was played at the trial…
Thankfully, Slager’s defense was not believed, and so on 5th July 2017 Slager received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. What happened to the death penalty, I hear you ask? Turns out Scumbag Slager had taken a plea deal…I hate plea deals, don’t you? And this plea deal stated that if he agreed to plead guilty, he wouldn’t have the death penalty placed upon his sentence. Absolute coward.
However, this was actually Judy’s wish. She had told her mother that as long as Slager admitted to the crime, confessed and accepted a life sentence, she absolutely did not want the death penalty for him. Instead, she said that she hoped he would find God somewhere between now and when he meets her again.
On the week of Judy’s funeral, Judy’s Law was ratified by the State Governor and passed into law.
And that is Judy’s story – a woman so brave that she endured immensurable pain to give a testimony – a testimony that she knew would only be played during her own murder trial.
You may have noticed by now that I have not included much back history into Michael Slager. There is a reason for that. If you Google the name Michael Slager, it is hard to find any information on him relative to this story. Instead, there are numerous articles about another Michael Slager – a police officer from North Charleston, SC who shot an unarmed black man – Walter Scott – to death on April 4th, 2015.
I don’t wish to disparage any other Michael Slager out there, but two men with the same name committing murders acts in the same year….hmmm…makes you ponder about the name.
And finally, I want to leave you with the last words of an interview that Bonnie gave after the hearing. These words have haunted me and stayed with me. It’s in part why I chose this as my first episode – and because I was so moved with Judy’s story, her will and her strength. Bonnie’s last words were, ‘That child suffered for two years to tell her own story, who has the strength to do that?”
I’d love to hear what you think about this story. So, please visit me on my Facebook page – just look up Dark Side Podcast. Come have a chat, and please share your thoughts and any suggestions you have for stories. I’m particularly interested in lesser-known crimes; crimes that changed laws, international crimes, and well, anything that takes us to the dark side of humanity, morality and sanity. Your suggestions would be most welcome. And, if you wouldn’t mind leaving a review on iTunes, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, I would be most grateful.
You can also visit and contact me on my website – darksidepodcast.co.uk or at firstname.lastname@example.org
But, until then next time…stay safe and stay alert.
Over and Out.