When Sherri Lynn Panzer Malarik was found dead inside her parked van less than three miles away from home on September 22, 2001, it honestly left the entire nation baffled to its very core. After all, as carefully chronicled in NBC’s ‘Dateline: The Sleepover,’ she was an animal lover, a Navy petty officer, as well as a proud family woman but was ultimately heinously shot twice to death. Though what’s even more chilling is the fact her husband Gregory “Greg” Malarik was then accused of murder — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about the same, here’s what we know.
Who is Greg Malarik?
It was reportedly back in the 1990s when Greg first came across Sherri while they were both stationed in Bermuda with the Navy, only to soon begin a romantic involvement despite their pasts. The truth is they’d each previously had relationships that didn’t pan out the way they’d expected, as it resulted in them being single parents, yet they somehow felt comfortable coming together. In fact, when they tied the knot roughly seven years prior to the fateful day, the former brought in an older daughter plus a young son into their blended union while the latter just had a young boy.
According to reports, Greg and Sherri were actually incredibly happy during their initial years, but things turned upside down once they welcomed three children into their lives in quick succession. That’s because they apparently couldn’t handle suddenly going from being rather independent in their familial structure to co-parenting a brood of six, later also driving the former to aggression. Though his ostensibly abusive behavior was limited to the kids — going as far as to not give them attention if his wife wasn’t around and force-feeding her son Cayenne peppers as punishment.
It’s imperative to note Greg’s demeanor was allegedly normal in Sherri’s presence, even if they had their fair share of issues over the years and he’d soon started an affair with Jennifer “Jenny” Spohn. This local woman was initially introduced to the kids as their new babysitter, yet it was clear there was something more going on since she often hung out when her services were not required either. Little did anyone know this illicit affinity that started while Sherri was stationed in Greece would eventually have a very significant role to play in her demise as well as its ensuing investigations.
We state this because although it took nearly 19 years, Greg was arrested for first-degree premeditated murder in March 2020 on the grounds he wanted to start anew with Jennifer without a divorce. As per prosecutors, he believed their separation proceedings would be a lengthy hassle considering their kids, assets, etc., so he went with the next best thing to end his marriage — brutal homicide. The fact he never came across as a grieving widow following Sherri’s sudden death, plus Jennifer’s 2020 statements to the police incriminating in exchange for immunity, didn’t help him either.
When Greg was initially questioned after the discovery of his wife’s body in the parking lot of Winn Dixie & Movie Gallery, he’d asserted he was at home on the evening of September 21, 2001. In fact, this Navy civilian officer had claimed he was working on an air compressor the moment his wife came and told him she was going to a nearby store for a quick errand, only to never return. He’d actually specified that she left in the family minivan, just for him to become concerned and call loved ones as well as the police when she uncharacteristically didn’t come back by 11 pm.
On the other hand, Jennifer had told investigators in 2001 that she’d visited the Malarik household on September 21 to return a lawnmower, but her 2020 account of the fateful day was different. She purportedly conceded she’d first picked up her disguised boyfriend from Winn Dixie at 7 pm per his orders, following which “he dropped the wig, the rest of the stuff [likely including the .25 caliber murder weapon] was in the back seat… 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.” It was only after that she returned the lawnmower and then drove down Quintette Road at roughly 1 am to throw everything in her vehicle off a bridge.
Where is Greg Malarik Now?
With all the aforementioned details, additional statements, circumstantial evidence, as well as Greg’s not-guilty plea, he stood trial for premeditated murder with the help of a firearm in June 2022. That’s when it came to light that he and Jennifer had once even discussed “how to trick a lie detector” via email, he had gunshot residue on his hands the morning his wife was found, and there were witnesses (their kids) who’d likely heard the entire ordeal. Nevertheless, taking advantage of her inconsistent testimonies over the years, the defense argued his then-girlfriend had as much motive plus opportunity to kill Sherri as him, ultimately resulting in a full mistrial. They raised considerable doubt over other aspects too.
Yet things didn’t come to a head here since prosecutors decided to continue with the proceedings, unknowing of the fact Greg’s October 2023 trial would result in him being found not guilty following 5 days of testimonies and 8 hours of deliberations. Since then, from what we can tell, this early 60-year-old has returned to his Escambia County, Florida, home, where it seems like he’s trying to move on from the past to the best of his abilities. He was still serving on the Navy base at the time of his 2020 arrest, so according to his attorney, he’s now hoping to regain some sense of normalcy by returning to that job and continuing his old life, which honestly might be difficult considering Sherri’s case remains unsolved.
Read More: Where is Jennifer Spohn Now?