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"He was pouring gasoline on me," emotional testimony as arson attack survivor takes the stand

"I just kept telling them that it hurt too much.”
Posted at 8:49 AM, Oct 24, 2019

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — "I just kept asking them if I could pass out, I just kept telling them that it hurt too much.”

Day three brought emotional testimony from a woman severely burned in a horrific arson attack. 25-year-old Jessica Cameron took the stand in State Supreme Court on Thursday. Her ex-boyfriend, 28-year-old Jonathon White, is accused of dousing Cameron in gasoline then setting her on fire. Police say White lured her outside of the Tim Hortons in the City of Tonawanda where she worked under the pretense that he wanted "to talk."

Jurors watched surveillance video that captured nearly all of the incident.

During her testimony, Cameron spoke of the increasing abuse she was suffering at the hands of White before the attack, adding that he drank a “30-pack a day by himself.”

Cameron suffered severe injuries to her face, chest and hands and has undergone at least 12 surgeries as she fights to recover. She was initially placed in a medically induced coma at the Erie County Medical Center to help aid in her recovery.

Cameron concluded her testimony shortly after noon on Thursday.

White, who injured himself during the attack, took the stand Thursday afternoon, saying his initial intention was to kill himself. White is charged with first degree assault, arson, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and menacing.

Before The prosecution rested its case it called two witness that included city of Tonawanda police officer Kyle Gallivan who was first on the scene. He testified that he asked White what happened. His reply, according to Gallivan: “just take me to jail.”

Defense attorney Joseph Terranova only called on witness to testify and that was White. White testified that he was suicidal the day of the attack.

The defense attorney asked White if he went to Tim Hortons to kill himself. He said “yes,” and when asked if he went to kill Cameron, he responded “no”.

“I had the intention of harming myself...cause damage to myself," White testified.

White testified he doesn’t know how Cameron caught fire, but tried to help her once her clothing ignited. White told the court he “grabbed the snow to try and help her” while she was on fire.

White said while he was with Cameron in dumpster area he "pulled bottle out of my pocket...she asked me what the hell is that.. I started to pour it on the top of my head,” and there was struggle with her. “While I was pouring it...I got lighter out.”

"They charged my client with two counts, the first being attempted murder in the second degree, in which I believe was a stretch because the claim is he intended to attempt to murder her--which is a pretty high standard to meet," Terronova told reporters following the testimony.

Both the prosecution and defense have now rested their cases, closing arguments started Friday morning.

If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence or abuse, help is available.

Resources:

  • Erie County 24/7 Hotline: 716-862-4357
  • Shelter Hotline: 716-884-6000
  • National Hotline: 800-799-7233