Lawyer for Ohio Man Accused of Setting His Fiancée on Fire Says It Was a 'Horrible Accident'

Lawyer for Ohio Man Accused of Setting Fiancee on Fire Says It Was an Accident
Michael Slager
Gahanna Division of Police

08/07/2015 AT 11:10 AM EDT

An Ohio man was arrested Sunday for pouring gasoline over his fiancée and setting her on fire.

An attorney for Michael Slager, 40, says the incident was just a "horrible accident" and that Slager actually loved his future wife very much, the Associated Press reports.

But a witness to the horrific moment appears to contradict Slager's account, claiming that the pair had been arguing before the woman was set ablaze.

The witness, who was the one to call 911, did note that Slager used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

Slager's fiancée, 31-year-old Judith Malinowski, remains hospitalized in critical condition at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, while Slager was treated for burns before being taken to jail.

Attorney Douglas Shaw insisted that 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.

It remains unclear how Malinowski came to be covered in gasoline in the first place.

Slager is charged with aggravated arson and felonious assault for the incident. He has yet to enter a plea.

Investigators say that Slager has a lengthy criminal record with nine felonies, including sexual battery, according to WBNS.

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