According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2021, "of the estimated 4,970 female victims of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter ... data reported by law enforcement agencies indicate that 34 percent were killed by an intimate partner."
To put it in a somehow more alarming way, one out of every three women will be murdered by the person closest to them.
Is this what happened to Sherri Malarik when she was found dead in her minivan? Where is her husband, Gregory Paul Marlarik, now? Here's what we know.
Were is Gregory Paul Malarik now? He is a free man.
In October 2021, two decades after Sherri was murdered, Gregory Paul Malarik was acquitted. It took separate trials for a jury to come to the conclusion that Gregory was not responsible for the death of his then-wife. Gregory wasn't charged until 2020 and that was due to the fact that the woman he was having an affair with at the time of his wife's murder suddenly came forward with new information. Despite her testimony, Gregory's lawyer was able to plant enough doubt in the minds of the jury.
A few days after the trial ended, Gregory's lawyer spoke with Court TV about the verdict and his client's post-trial plans. Chris Crawford told the outlet that Gregor's main focus was trying to return to some semblance of a normal life. Unfortunately, Crawford didn't think that was in the cards for Gregory. Crawford believed the fractured Malarik family could never be put back together, and he blamed law enforcement.
Sherri and Gregory had a blended family. When the couple married, "Sherri had Jacob, who was 4, and Gregory had a 4-year-old son, also named Gregory," per Court TV. They then had three children together. Sherri's death, followed by years of not knowing what happened to her, was exacerbated by Gregory's eventual arrest. When it came to who they believed, the children were split.
It didn't help that police were pitting the kids, now adults, against each other. Their weapon of choice was Jennifer Spohn, the woman with whom Gregory cheated on their mother. Police were "trying to curry favor by passing along messages such as 'Jennifer Spohn told us this and Jennifer Spohn told us that,' with the intention of turning his children against him," said Crawford to Court TV. So, what was Spohn actually saying?
What did Jennifer Spohn say during Gregory Malarik's trial?
Gregory was a Navy Petty Officer when he met Spohn while deployed overseas. The affair started there and continued after he was home. In fact, Gregory occasionally asked Spohn to babysit his children. When she was initially questioned by police, Spohn told them she had stopped by the Malarik house the day Sherri died in order to return a lawnmower she borrowed. She would later change her story.
The Pensacola New Journal reported that prosecuting attorney Amy Shea asked Spohn why she decided to come forward with what she said was the truth. "Because I'd been carrying this for a long time, and I figured it was time," said Spohn. What Spohn said happened was shocking and chilling, though testimonies from two other men would provide conflicting information.
Spohn claimed that on the night Sherri was killed, Gregory had her come up to the Winn-Dixie where Sherri's body was found in her minivan. Upon arrival she said Gregory was in the passenger seat of the vehicle, and hopped into her car wearing a wig. "Along the way he rolled down the window, he dropped the wig, the rest of the stuff was in the back seat in the back of the car," said Spohn. "I drove him to his house, he said to give him a few minutes and I needed to get rid of all the stuff in the back."
Spohn didn't see everything in the bag, apart from a "CB radio, there was some other small items, and then the gun." She threw the entire bag off the side of a bridge and never said what kind of gun it was. The defense called Winn-Dixie night stocker Chris Deyton to the stand, who was working the night Sherri was killed. Chris said he and some employees were outside on a break when they saw a car pull up to the van. A man got out and began arguing with Sherri.
"We started talking again and we heard three what sounded like firecrackers," said Deyton. When asked by the defense if the man Deyton saw was Gregory, he said, "No, the gentleman had short hair and was thinner." Crawford told the Pensacola Journal that while the state put up one heck of a fight, ultimately Spohn's story wasn't enough to sway the jury.