An Ontario County jury must decide between a Geneva man's claims of self defense and the prosecution's theory of a beatdown that crossed the line in Jeffrey Salone Jr.'s murder trial

CANANDAIGUA — Is a Geneva man facing a murder charge just defending himself? Or was the victim a burglar who stumbled into a deadly trap? That's what an Ontario County jury must decide.

Open arguments were made Tuesday in Ontario County Court in the trial of Jeffrey Salone Jr., who is charged with second-degree murder, first degree manslaughter, and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Jawuan Brumfield.

“Jawuan was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Ontario County First Assistant District Attorney Jason MacBride during opening statements. “He was going to burg’ the place; he put the ladder on top of a card table and up to the window, the ladder breaks, and he was pulled into the apartment.”

MacBride alleges that Salone, with the assistance of others, then beat Brumfield to death and staged the scene like a botched robbery.

The prosecutor revealed that there’s a witness to Brumfield being pulled into the apartment: One of two people waiting in a getaway van who is scheduled to testify during the trial.

"The only injury to the defendant was on his knuckles, not a scratch was found on him anywhere," said MacBride. "Jawuan’s face was mangled, mangled. He (Salone) crossed the line."

  

The defense paints a completely different picture, in which Salone awoke slightly past 4 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2018 and found Brumfield in his kitchen armed with a taser and reaching for a kitchen knife.

"The (prosecution) theory is far-fetched, it doesn’t make any sense,” said defense attorney Chris Rodeman who argued that this was an act of self-defense. “He saw in individual get up off the floor with a taser and a knife.”

  

The first witness was Brumfield’s mother, Patrina Jones, who stated her son had graduated from Gates Chili High School in 2012. She stated her son was living in Geneva on and off with his girlfriend, who was the one who called her to tell her of her son’s ordeal.

“He couldn’t talk from his injuries and he was on life support,” said Jones, who fought through her emotions while on the stand. "The next day they took him off of life support.”

As police investigated the scene, Salone signed a statement in which he told police that the fight started in the kitchen with Brumfield armed with a knife and a taser. During the fight, he said, he threw Brumfield into the living room and Brumfeld hit his head on the corner of the coffee table and continued to beat him. He then called his family and then 911 to report the robbery.

City of Geneva Police Officer Jennifer Lloyd was first on scene when she arrived to find Salone outside with his parents and girlfriend awaiting police. When she went upstairs Brumfield was lying face down, breathing but unresponsive. For security measures he was handcuffed and rolled over and then police called for an ambulance.

The day concluded with testimony from Timothy Peters, a police officer with the City of Geneva Police Department. Peters photographed and collected evidence from the unsecured crime scene the next day. Peters initially stated during testimony that there was no sign of forced entry through the second-story window, approximately 14 feet high, and there was no blood in the kitchen.

During cross examination Peters corrected his statement after Rodeman presented him an evidence log where he recorded a finger smear on the second-floor window from the outside.

Ontario County Court Judge Brian Dennis is overseeing the intense trial with supporters from both sides filling the courtroom and additional court security showing a presence throughout.