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Jonathon White sentenced to 25 years for setting his ex-girlfriend on fire

Jessica Cameron bravely speaks in court
Jessica Cameron bravely speaks in court for the sentencing of the man who set her on fire
Posted at 9:00 AM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 18:40:33-05

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Jonathon White was sentenced to 25 years in prison inside a Buffalo courtroom Friday for setting his ex-girlfriend Jessica Cameron on fire.

"I am now and always will be the girl who was set on fire and the woman that spoke out about it,” Cameron stated.

Cameron bravely stood Friday before a State Supreme courtroom to face her attacker.

"I will forever be handicap and forever have to deal with the aftermath of this event," Cameron remarked.

Cameron, disfigured and missing parts of her hands, described how that cowardly act has changed her life, and the life of her family and young children, forever.

"And that his dada was gone from our lives – something that i couldn’t give an explanation for, because my sweet little boy doesn’t need to know the true horrors," Cameron told the courtroom.

White was convicted on attempted murder and assault charges this past October for the brutal attack on 25-year-old Cameron in December of 2018.

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The defendant leaves the court room. Day 4 of the attempted murder trial against Jonathon White who authorities say doused girlfriend Jessica Cameron with gasoline and then set her on fire. This was in State Supreme Court Justice Mark A. Montour's courtroom. Part 23. Fourth Floor. 25 Delaware Ave. on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

It was at that trial where Cameron delivered powerful testimony about being lured outside the Tim Horton’s, where she worked by her ex-boyfriend, White. She testified he doused her in gasoline and set her on fire.

White claimed at his trial that it was his intention to kill himself. During the trial Cameron revealed there was increasing abuse in her relationship.

Cameron suffered severe injuries to her face, chest and hands and has undergone more than a dozen surgeries.

Cameron had to re-learn how to breath, eat and drink. She spoke about being on fire for 78-seconds.

State Supreme Court Justice Mark Montour created a powerful moment, pointing to a wall clock, and having the sound of silence rule his courtroom for 78-seconds.

"For 78 seconds Miss Cameron burned," stated Montour.

During White's trial, he claimed he was trying to kill himself and accidentally set Cameron on fire. At his sentencing Friday he still denied he was trying to end her life.

"I do feel guilty for her injuries and I am responsible – I haven’t shied away from admitting that responsibility, but the situation that took place has been blown out of portion and misconstrued in every way possible," stated White.

But Judge Montour didn’t buy a word of it, instead sentencing White to the maximum for attempted murder and assault of 25-yeras in prison.

"I thank God that he doesn’t have the life on the end of it because if he did have the life on the end of if that would have mean that she would have died. And we are obviously fortunate that she didn’t die," said John Flynn, Erie County District Attorney.

Flynn pointing out white's failure to take responsibility saying it's a "total lie" White claims the incident was a mistake.

"And his jacket had, had no signs of gasoline being dumped on his jacket. The back of his jacket caught on fire, that was the only of his jacket that caught on fire," Flynn remarked.

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Jessica Cameron stood courageously at Flynn’s news conference

Cameron stood courageously at Flynn's news conference, following the sentencing, speaking
profoundly and called the sentencing "poetic justice."

"I consider it like a Phoenix - that burns and rises from the ashes again - new and better than before," declared Cameron.

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Jessica Cameron spoke at a news conference following sentencing.

The brutal attack was captured on surveillance video that was played for the jury during the trial.

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
  • Family Justice Center of Erie County: 716-558-7233