Should murder victim's videotaped deposition be used against sus - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Should murder victim's videotaped deposition be used against suspect at trial?

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NEW CASTLE, Pa. -

On Tuesday, a Columbus area judge is expected to rule on whether a victim can testify in her own murder trial.

It's a complex case, and it would be the first time in U.S. history a homicide victim testifies from beyond the grave in this manner.

Judy Malinowski gave a deposition, or videotaped testimony, and was cross-examined by the defense about how she was doused with gasoline and set on fire outside of a Columbus area gas station in 2015 by her ex-boyfriend Michael Slager.

After enduring painful surgeries and spending 700 days in the hospital covered with third and fourth-degree burns, Judy passed away. 

A Franklin County judge will decide next week if her deposition can be used at Slager's murder trial like testimony from beyond the grave.

Matthew Mangino was the Lawrence County District Attorney for eight years and feels this is an extremely interesting case.  "She's a witness, and her testimony has potential to be presented to a jury.  I can't imagine anything more powerful than that in a criminal prosecution.  She gave testimony under oath subject to cross-examination in this deposition.  Everybody who is accused of a crime has the right to confront the witnesses against them and that's in the Constitution," Mangino said.

Boardman defense attorney John Juhasz agrees, but after doing some brief research discovered that this is actually a civil deposition that was conducted of the victim.

"This is a civil deposition being considered for use in a criminal trial and there may be strategically different questions you want to ask in a criminal case," Attorney Juhasz said.

"I would question why the prosecutor didn't apply to take a criminal deposition.  After more than thirty surgeries he knew the victim wasn't doing well.  A criminal deposition guarantees confrontation rights like a criminal courtroom and lessens the chance of reversible error,"  Attorney Juhasz said.

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