Robin Cosner, the mother of a Fairview man who was fatally stabbed early on the morning of last Oct. 15 said an unknown force — “it was God or (my son) Jeramy” — awakened her. She found herself sitting straight up in her bed.

It was just before or around the time Jeramy Cosner, 27, was bleeding to death from a single, deep stab wound between his left shoulder bone and his neck, several houses away on Orchard Hill.

His mother was one of 15 state witnesses called Tuesday by Marion County Prosecutor Patrick N. Wilson to testify in the murder trial of Amber Marie Destefano, 26.

The state has only about three more witnesses to call, Wilson told Marion Chief Judge David R. Janes at the end of testimony on Tuesday afternoon. The jury of seven men and five women will hear more testimony at 9 a.m. today.

Destefano’s defense team — Scott A. Shough and Dana R. Shay, both of Fairmont — argue she acted in self-defense. But Wilson said she acted intentionally and deliberately, and must be held accountable for Cosner’s death.

Cosner, who was living two blocks away from her son and Destefano — his fiancee with whom he had an 18-month old son named Cadence — said when she woke up early that Saturday morning, “it was pitch dark.”

She’s not sure about the time, she said. She thinks the clock said it was either 4:20 a.m. or 4:40 a.m. She couldn’t go back to sleep.

She thought about smoking a cigarette. She got dressed and went to make some coffee.

Then she heard “a very light knock” at the kitchen door. It was “Ed,” a friend of Jeramy’s and Amber’s, she said. The look on his face as she opened the door is burned into her memory, she said.

“He said, ‘Jeramy needs you. Jeramy’s dying. He needs you,’” she told the jury.

She spoke often in phrases, occasionally lifting her hands from her lap to complete a thought.

She raced outside, asking Jeramy’s friend if he had called 911.

At one point, in response to her rapid-fire questioning, Ed told her, “Amber stabbed Jeramy.”

When she got to the kitchen door of her son’s Blaker Street house, the first thing she saw were his bare feet — “and blood.”

“I remember saying, ‘No, no, no ... Jeramy, mom’s here ... hang on ...’”

“I wanted to pick him up and hold him in my arms, but I couldn’t.”

She remembers screaming “ ‘What have you done; what have you done now?’ I don’t know if I was talking to Amber or Jeramy at that point.”

Destefano had what looked like “her whole body pouncing on him. She was hitting him” in his chest.

“The noise was horrific,” the mother said. Asked to explain by Wilson, she whispered “the noise was coming from Jeramy ... from his body.”

She said anger rose inside her. By the coldness of one of Jeramy’s hands, she knew her son was dead.

“She was making it worse. It wasn’t doing anything to help him.”

When Destefano started to rise, “I shoved her. I shoved her so hard she fell back against the refrigerator, and I never have hit anybody in my life before. I felt she needed to stay there and look at it, too ... what she had done.”

“I hit her so hard she fell back down. I asked her where she was going. She said one word: ‘Baby.’ She was going to get the baby, and I was afraid for the baby so I followed her” to the living room and up the stairs, Cosner said.

Cadence wasn’t in his crib. Cosner said she was feeling with her hands on the floor in the darkened bedroom.

“I finally found a head. ... It was Amber’s. She had the baby. I said, ‘Please give me the baby; please give me the baby.’”

“I lost it again. I was screaming: ‘Why? Why?’ She didn’t look at me or respond to me.”

Wilson also called Jean “Momma Jean” Mays, then a bartender at “The Shaft” in Fairview, and two women who knew Jeramy Cosner well but who said they were only acquainted with Destefano to testify about the night before the fatal stabbing.

Mays said Jeramy Cosner, Amber Destefano and “Ed” came in after 9 p.m. There were a number of other patrons by then, she said.

Destefano and Cosner were drinking Budweiser in the bottle and shots of Jagermeister liquor. He was playing pool.

At one point, Mays said Destefano walked up to the bar and had “a confrontation” with Marsha Ocheltree.

Destefano was angry about a rumor that Ocheltree had followed Cosner into the men’s room a few weeks earlier, Mays said. After confronting Ocheltree, Destefano asked her about the report, Mays said.

“I said ‘Yes,’ it’s true. ... That’s when I heard her (Amber) say, ‘One of you two b------ is lying and need to get your story straight,” May said.

Later in the evening, Mays said she saw Destefano “comforting” another man in the bar. The man was angry at another patron who reportedly was one of his uncles. The first man claimed the older man had sexually molested him when he was only 5 or 6 years old, Mays said.

“Amber was comforting (the man making the allegations). She was rubbing his back. She went outside with him three times,” Mays said. Jeramy also got involved, telling the older man he ought to leave the bar.

But he was calm about the attention Destefano was giving to the man who claimed he had been molested, Mays said.

Destefano left the bar about an hour to 90 minutes before Cosner did, she said. Mays stopped serving her because Destefano was drunk, the bartender said.

Ocheltree testified she denied the report about herself and Cosner when Destefano confronted her. She had known Jeramy for about four or five years, but does not know Destefano, she said.

She went to the bar with a couple she knows after a birthday party for her daughter, Ocheltree said. The trio arrived about 11:30 p.m.

The confrontation occurred about 10 minutes after they arrived, Ocheltree said.

“She tries to intimidate you . ... She was looking for trouble and I didn’t want it,” Ocheltree said.

She said Destefano later was “sitting in the lap” of “Ed,” but Cosner was calm.

Jennifer Ashley testified Cosner was a friend of hers for several months when she was about 17 in 1997. Now married and with one child, she said she talked to Destefano and Cosner. Ashley and her husband had brought Ocheltree to the bar.

They got to talking about their children, Ashley said. At one point, they exchanged phone numbers and made plans to let their children see each other the next day, she said.

A 16-year old girl who was baby-sitting Cadence Cosner that night testified Destefano was “in a really bad mood” when she arrived home early that Saturday morning.

Usually, the baby-sitter said she stayed overnight at Cosner’s and Destefano’s house.

But Destefano asked her if she was ready to go home then and said she would drive her home. The 16-year-old girl was living with Robin Cosner and her husband, whom she identified as her aunt and uncle.

Destefano walked straight into the house and went to the bathroom, the baby-sitter said. She could hear her throwing things around, the baby-sitter said.

Destefano abruptly cut off her inquiry about how the night out had been with an expletive, saying she didn’t want to talk about it, the baby-sitter said.

E-mail Bill Byrd at bbyrd@timeswv.com.

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