Woman’s fate in jury’s hands

WARREN – A jury is continuing deliberations this morning in the case of a sibling assault in which a Warren woman stabbed her brother in the chest after the two argued over different matters and at different places in and around the home they shared.

”I didn’t know who he was or whether he was drunk or high,” said Kristina Burgess, 27, who is claiming self-defense after stabbing her 26-year-old brother Patrick White Jr. in the chest late July 8 or early July 9 outside the Glenwood Street N.E. home they both lived in with Burgess’ children.

Burgess was the only one to testify in the brief trial before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan, and jurors then heard closing arguments before getting less than an hour to deliberate Tuesday.

The panel of eight men and four women must decide whether Burgess inflicted serious physical harm on her brother and if she did, whether she acted properly in using self-defense. She faces up to eight years on the second-degree felony charge of felonious assault on which she was indicted.

The petite Burgess, who remains free on bond, cried Monday as she watched her 6-foot-5, 220-pound brother strip down to his bare chest so the jury could see the 7-inch scar on the right side of his chest. He spent two weeks in Trumbull Memorial Hospital with a punctured lung, lacerated liver and a fractured rib after he said Burgess stabbed him with a kitchen knife outside the home.

White, who played football at two colleges, including Youngstown State University, after play- ing football, basketball and track at Warren G. Harding High School, said he also played arena football for a time in Lincoln , Neb.

Burgess also cried Tuesday while telling her attorney, David Rouzzo, she never intended on stabbing White.

According to different versions of the story, White came home and was upset about a missing jacket, so he confronted Burgess in her bedroom.

Instead of staying in the room, Burgess followed White downstairs, where an argument developed into a scuffle, with White picking up and throwing Burgess against a dining room chair. The chair broke and Burgess used a broken chair leg as weapon of sorts, striking White and accidentally striking the father of one of her children, who was trying to break up the fight.

Burgess admits grabbing the knife and going outside, where she punctured two tires in White’s SUV before he came at her swinging a half-empty bottle of Prestone antifreeze.

Burgess described crouching down with her hands by the side of her face, holding the knife while she was struck in the head.

”I don’t remember stabbing him,” she told the jury.

White denied beating his sister with the antifreeze and throwing her down and breaking the chair.