Opening statements describe 'brutal' beating
Updated: Friday, June 6 2014, 05:37 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. -- Opening statements were heard Wednesday in Monroe County Court in the trial of Clayton Whittemore, who is charged with killing his girlfriend Alexandra Kogut in her SUNY Brockport dorm room in 2012.
In the prosecution's opening statement, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said what police saw was "beyond description and every parent's nightmare."
She then went on to describe for jurors details about Kogut's alleged murder.
"He beat her in the head over and over with his fists. He strangled her...He stabbed her repeatedly with pens and pencils. He hit her with a clothing iron over and over until she breathed no more," Doorley said.
During Doorley's statement, the victim's mother Becky Kogut left the court sobbing.
Defense attorney Mark Curley did not deny anything.
"Clayton Whittemore killed his girlfriend in the most shocking and brutal manner...He hit her again and again and again," Curley said.
He said the evidence is not in dispute, but "the question is why. Why are we here?"
Curley said his client snapped after enduring "continuous and severe emotional and physical abuse" at the hands of his father. He said Whittemore suffered from extreme emotional disturbance and had an explosive overreaction that resulted in Kogut's death.
"I will not ask you for a verdict of not guilty," he said to jurors. "I will ask you for a verdict of manslaughter."
But Doorley said the evidence will show this was intentional murder.
"This was the progression of a relationship that wasn't a snap," she said outside court.
The judge ruled the jury can hear voicemails Whittemore left on Kogut's phone in the six months before her death.
The first witnesses in the case will be called May 15.