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'Poetic justice': Cameron speaks up on conviction of ex-boyfriend

Jonathan White received 25 years in prison for setting Jessica Cameron on fire. Now she is urging other victims of domestic violence to seek help.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jonathan White received the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison on Friday, after a jury convicted him of attempted homicide for setting his ex-girlfriend on fire.

The victim, Jessica Cameron, spoke out after sentencing with powerful words for others who may be dealing with domestic violence.

"Having this conviction and this sentencing, to me, is poetic justice that he now has to serve those 25 years in retribution for the years he attempted to take away from me and our family," Cameron said.

It was December 17, 2018, when then 25-year-old Cameron was set on fire by her former boyfriend, White, outside of a Tim Hortons in Tonawanda. 

The attack that lasted for 78 seconds has changed her life forever.

Now Cameron is encouraging others in potentially dangerous relationships to have the courage to get out.

"I can only hope that this case can help other people, that people who think that they are stuck in a situation like I felt can have the courage to get out," Cameron said. 

Domestic violence advocate Amy Trabert is a high-risk team coordinator. She said people who think they may be in a domestic violence situation should call the Haven House 24-hour hotline at (716) 884–6000.

"Everyone's at a different point when they call, so some people are literally in crisis mode, and some people are like, 'I'm thinking about leaving my situation, what should I do?' And we safety plan with people over the phone as well," Trabert said.

Trabert told 2 On Your Side that keeping victims protected after they come forward is a top priority.

"We work together with agencies, especially specific domestic violence agencies, law enforcement, and other partners to make sure that we are keeping the victims safe and really holding the offender accountable at all points in time," Trabert said.

Cameron had told reporters earlier, "People need to know that there are people out there that will help you, will be there for you. No matter how trapped or alone or scared you feel, there is someone to talk to."

There are several other agencies and organizations that work with victims locally, giving them access to things like counseling, shelter, and even guidance moving through the legal system. 

Some resources locally include: 

  • Family Justice Center (information/counseling services), (716) 558-7233
  • Crisis Services (24-hour hotline), (716) 834-3131
  • Haven House (24-hour hotline), (716) 884–6000
  • Pinnacle (formerly Family & Children’s Services), Hotline at 299-0909, Offices at 285-6984

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