Legal Analysis of Verdict in Case of Man Found Guilty of Setting Ex-girlfriend on Fire

Attorney Barry Covert was interview by WGRZ 2 On Your Side to provide legal analysis for their coverage of the case of Jonathan White. Jonathan White was accused of setting his ex-girlfriend on fire outside of a Tim Hortons in Tonawanda in December 2018.

A jury recently found Jonathan White guilty of attempted murder and assault.

As reported by WGRZ, the victim in this case, Jessica Cameron, took the witness stand during the trial. She provided testimony on her relationship with the defendant as well as the events of the day of the assault. Jessica Cameron suffered burns to her face, head, and hands. She spent several months being treated in ECMC’s burn unit and she is still recovering from her injuries.

The jury made numerous request for information as they deliberated the case. WGRZ reports that during deliberations, the jury sent three notes to the judge. The first note requested video surveillance footage. A second note asked for Jonathan White’s cross examination and redirect testimony. A third note requested images of the scene of the assault. In addition, the jury asked for clarification on the definitions of intent and the attempted murder charge. Shortly thereafter, the jury returned with a guilty verdict.

Jonathan White faces up to 25 years in prison.  Sentencing in the case is scheduled for January.

WGRZ anchor Maryalice Demler interviewed attorney Barry Covert to provide legal analysis on the jury’s verdict as well as the upcoming sentencing in this case. The following is a summary of the legal analysis provided by Mr. Covert during the interview.  You can read WGRZ’s full report by clicking here.  You can also click on the video below to watch WGRZ’s full report, which includes Barry Covert’s legal analysis.

Reaction to Verdict

Barry Covert was first asked for his reaction to the verdict. He indicated that he was not surprised by the guilty verdict called this a very overwhelming case. Mr. Covert cited the incredibly composed testimony given by Jessica Cameron, the victim in this case. Mr. Covert also stated that the attorney for the defendant in this case is a wonderful defense attorney, but was handed a case that was overwhelmingly strong against his client.

Actions of Jury

Maryalice Demler reviewed the diligent actions of the jury during deliberations and asked “what does that tell you?” Mr. Covert stated that the jury was very deliberative. He detailed the jury’s request for testimony, video surveillance and images.  In addition, he mentioned that information was requested on the jury charge as well as the elements for the offenses of attempted murder and assault.

What to Expect at Sentencing

Finally, Mr. Covert was asked what to expect for the upcoming sentencing in January.  Mr. Covert began by stating that it will be a very emotional sentencing. He indicated the defense is going to put their best foot forward and try to get the defendant a break by showing him in the best possible light. Mr. Covert concluded by stating “for the judge to try to justify giving the defendant who did this heinous crime a break is hard to imagine because she and her family are going to be living with this every hour of every day for the rest of her life. So, it’s going to be very difficult to show any sympathy towards him.”