If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that the case of Sherri Lynn Panzer Malarik’s 2001 homicide is as baffling as it is bone-chilling, considering it remains unsolved to this day. However, as explored in NBC’s ‘Dateline: The Sleepover,’ her husband Gregory “Greg” Malarik was accused of it more than 19 years later in 2020, only to soon be tried and acquitted for good. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about his alleged motive — his co-worked turned mistress, Jennifer Spohn — and her hand in this entire ordeal, we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who is Jennifer Spohn?
It was reportedly back around 2000 when a newly single Jennifer began getting to know Navy civilian officer Greg on an intimate level while they were both stationed in wondrous Pensacola, Florida. The truth is the latter was a married family man at the time — on his third wife, Navy petty officer Sherri — but her being in Greece for work during a rough patch made it easy for him to stray. However, as indicated above, it was the former to have pursued him after her husband left her out of the blue with no savings or stability; he actually took all her money in divorce, per records.
Though little did anyone know Jennifer and Greg’s relationship would soon become so serious he’d apparently end up telling this family babysitter that killing his wife would be easier than divorce. He evidently wanted to start anew with her, yet was determined not to go through another legal separation under the belief it would be too lengthy plus too messy considering his big blended family. Yet then came 8 am on September 22, 2001, and Sherri was found shot twice to death on the passenger seat of their minivan in the Winn Dixie parking lot less than three miles from their shared home.
Jennifer was obviously immediately questioned once her affair with Greg came to light, just to assert that she did visit the Malarik residence on the fateful September 21 but to return a lawnmower. Nothing else really connected her to this matter, driving officials to kind of move on until they’d exhausted all possible leads — that is, until the cold case unit picked it up again nearly 19 years later. She was thus called in for an interview on March 6-7, 2020, but this time, she ended up conceding her now ex-boyfriend had actually slain Sherri in cold blood before making her an accomplice too.
In exchange for full immunity, Jennifer then revealed Greg had called to meet him outside Winn Dixie at 7 pm on September 21, and she arrived to find him coming out of their red minivan in disguise. “Along the way,… he dropped the wig, the rest of the stuff [likely with the .25 caliber murder weapon] was in the back seat,” she said. “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 this that she returned their lawnmower before driving down Quintette Road at almost 1 am to throw every bit of evidence in her vehicle off a bridge.
Jennifer’s confession is actually what helped the authorities nab Greg; therefore, when it came out she’d been interrogated multiple times over two days after being given an eerily similar hypothetical situation by a detective, her entire statement came into real fire. She did try to smooth things by testifying herself during her ex’s second trial for first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm in October 2023 — his first had ended in a mistrial — yet to no avail. In the end, owing to reasonable doubt over her possibly having as much of a chance and motive to slay Sherri, Greg was found not guilty by a 12-member jury following a mere 8 hours of deliberations.
Where is Jennifer Spohn Now?
From what we can tell, despite all suspicions plus ups and downs, Jennifer has since moved on with life to the best of her abilities while still also serving in the US Navy in a civilian capacity — the only difference is she now does it in West Frankfort, Illinois. Coming to her personal standing, we’re happy to report this Buckner native appears to be a proud family woman at the moment, seemingly determined to spend every bit of her free time surrounded by supportive loved ones. We should even mention that Jennifer was asked on the stands why she’d finally decided to come forward with her truth in 2020, to which she’d responded, “Because I’d been carrying this for a long time, and I figured it was time.”