WILMINGTON, Del. - Wharton undergraduate Irina Malinovskaya was called to the stand by the defense yesterday, marking a pivotal juncture in a trial that has now lasted over a month.
Malinovskaya is being tried a third time for the 2004 murder of Temple University graduate student Irina Zlotnikov, the then-girlfriend of Malinovskaya's ex-boyfriend Robert Bondar.
The case likely hinges on the conflicting testimony of Malinovskaya and Bondar. He had claimed earlier in the trial that Malinovskaya became increasingly obsessed with their relationship leading up to the murder.
Yesterday's court appearance offered Malinovskaya a chance to rebut those claims, and the Wharton undergraduate spent much of the day outlining her tumultuous relationship with Bondar.
Malinovskaya said she initiated the relationship by asking Bondar for his phone number at a party in 2003.
The two dated through the beginning of 2004, and Malinovskaya said Bondar's sexual advances made her uncomfortable.
Malinovskaya was also questioned about the explicit content of her e-mail exchanges with Bondar, which she said she participated in because she "wanted to keep the relationship."
"I liked him, and he wanted that," she said.
The couple formally ended their relationship after Malinovskaya told Bondar she loved him, but the couple continued to see each other once a month and still had intimate relations at Bondar's apartment and Malinovskaya's Penn dorm room, Malinovskaya said.
Malinovskaya also talked about her pregnancy in April 2004, which Bondar pressured her to abort.
"Mentally, I was tormented," she said.
Malinovskaya eventually miscarried, though she added that even now she does not know whether she would have agreed to abort the fetus.
Malinovskaya spent the remainder of her testimony discussing her activities the days leading up to the murder.
Prosecutors have placed Malinovskaya outside Bondar's apartment, where Zlotnikov was killed, on the morning of the murder. Malinovskaya testified that she never went inside.
The defense stopped its questioning of Malinovskaya and the two sides discussed several issues, including a motion for the state to be able to talk about a paper written for a class on the day of the murder that prosecutors claim Malinovskaya fabricated.
Judge James Vaughn agreed to allow the evidence.
"I think the state is entitled to ask about perceived inconsistencies," he said.
The trial will continue today with the cross-examination of Malinovskaya.
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