Irina Zlotnikov, Irina Malinovskaya, and Robert Bondar: ‘Love triangle’ death features on Deadly Affairs

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Irina Zlotnikov was killed in what authorities believe was a love triangle, involving Irina Malinovskaya. Pic credit: Stock image

Deadly Affairs: Betrayed By Love takes a closer look at the love triangle death of Irina Zlotnikov, and the mistrials of Irina Malinovskaya.

Zlotnikov was a 24-year-old student at Temple University, where she was studying pharmacology, and her boyfriend, Robert Bondar, was studying law at Widener University.

On Dec. 23, 2004, Zlotnikov was brutally murdered. Her naked body was found on the kitchen floor of her boyfriend’s apartment in New Castle, Delaware. 

An autopsy would later show that she had been bludgeoned to death.

In January 2005, Bondar’s ex-girlfriend, Malinovskaya, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Authorities believe that Malinovskaya, a University of Pennsylvania student, was jealous of Zlotnikov because she was in a relationship with Bondar.

They also believe that her obsession with the couple led to stalking. 

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How Irina Malinovskaya’s trials ended in three mistrials

Malinovskaya went to trial for Zlotnikov’s murder, but in February 2006, it ended in a hung jury. It appeared that all but one person on the jury favored exonerating her.

That same year, Malinovskaya’s second trial began.

Bondar testified that after they broke up, he asked her not to call or visit him, but she called him the following week. And on Sept. 19, 2004, he said she sent him an email.

She allegedly wrote: “It is a shame that I could not tame you. I may not be able to resist from dialing your number… Robert, forgive me if something is not right.”

Several days later, he was surprised to see her standing next to his window while he was sitting in his car in the university’s parking lot. He then gave her a ride to a liquor store.

Prosecutors said they found inconsistencies in his testimony.

Phone records show that Malinovskaya did not call him, but they did show that Bondar called her on Sept. 26, 2004, and they spoke on the phone for six minutes.

Bondar explained that he and Malinovskaya had ultimately become friends, and they “spoke about a number of subjects,” although he told her that he didn’t want her in his life.

On Oct. 12, 2006, the trial ended in another mistrial; deliberations took four days, only to return with a split jury.

The prosecution team then announced they would be going to trial for the third time.

Malinovskaya went to trial the following year, and in November, it ended with another mistrial.

During an 11-day deliberation, there was a 10-2 vote to convict Malinovskaya of second-degree murder. 

There was also an 8-4 vote for first-degree murder.

Where is Irina Malinovskaya now?

In June 2008, Malinovskaya took a plea deal and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of manslaughter. 

Although she never admitted to killing Zlotnikov, she accepted that there was enough evidence in the case that could have ended with a conviction.

When the judge sentenced her to five years in prison, Malinovskaya received credit for time served. In May 2009, she was released from Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.

The then-27-year-old was placed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Malinovskaya’s visa card expired while she was in prison, and because she has a felony on her record, she could not renew it and stay in the United States.

She was later deported to Russia.

Deadly Affairs: Betrayed By Love, A Cat Named Karma, airs Saturday at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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