A jury in Buffalo, New York, took less than four hours Friday to find 29-year-old Jonathon White guilty of pouring gasoline on his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Cameron, and setting her ablaze, Buffalo News reported.
Cameron, 25, suffered burns over nearly half her body in the December 17, 2018, attack, including severe burns over 30 to 40 percent. Many of her fingers were amputated, and she was in a medically induced coma for a month. She was finally released from the hospital in April after a dozen surgeries.
Cameron and White had been in a relationship for more than 7 years and had three children together. But Cameron had taken the children and moved out about a week before the incident, WIVB reported.
Prosecutors argued that White called Cameron at the Tim Horton’s restaurant in Tonawanda where she worked and asked her to come outside to talk. When she arrived, he dumped gasoline on her and set her afire, accidentally setting himself on fire in the process. His injuries were not as severe.
White testified on Thursday that he only carried a small amount of gasoline with him and that he intended to set himself alight to make Cameron feel bad but that the flames got out of hand when she tried to stop him. Investigators, however, said that he had about a gallon of gasoline and that Cameron was on fire for nearly a minute and a half. Police body cam footage also captured witnesses shouting, “He set her on fire,” and a voice, presumably Cameron’s, calling out, “Please help me.”
Cameron also testified, saying that she was concerned when she found White near the dumpster almost out of sight. When she asked if he was going to hurt her, he told her “yes,” she testified, according to WGRZ.
White’s defense attorney said he intends to appeal the verdict after sentencing on January 3. White, who was found guilty of attempted murder, could be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
“This rose to another level of just evil,” Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said. “This was evil.”
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[Featured image: Jessica Cameron/Pool camera]