Brockport, N.Y.—To freshman Samantha Turner, 18-year-old Alexandra Kogut was simply “Alex”. A girl whose bubbly personality could cheer up anyone. A girl who was always smiling, always happy.
Last month, Samantha moved to SUNY Brockport and became fast friends with Alex who lived two doors down from her in McLean Hall. Samantha, Alex and Alex’s roommate had become so close during their first month of college, they were known as the Tri Pods.
Even though their friendship had just recently formed, it was a friendship that was growing stronger each day.
“It's hard walking by her door because I went [to her dorm] every single day, every second I could,” Samantha says. “Now, I can never go back.”
Early Saturday morning, campus police found Alex dead in her dorm room. She had extensive blunt force trauma to her upper body. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Clayton Whittemore, has been charged with murder in connection with her death. Whittemore, a Utica College student, and Alex both graduated from New Hartford High School in New Hartford, N.Y.
Sam says she was visiting her family on the night of the murder but came back immediately after she heard what happened.
“It was one of the saddest things I've ever gone through,” she says. “One of the hardest things I've had to experience my whole entire life.”
Sam says she met Whittemore two weeks ago and from his first impression he seemed to be a nice person. On the Friday night before Alex’s death, Sam says Alex was excited to see Whittemore who was visiting her from Utica.
“That weekend she was so excited that he was coming and I knew it and I could see it. She was getting dressed. She went though my closet, she picked out clothes and she was excited to go out with him. There was no hint [something was wrong] at all.”
Sam says there were times Alex argued with Whittemore, but it didn’t seem to be more than what most couples go through.
While Sam and the rest of Alex’s friends are trying to make sense of what has happened, they are able to cope by supporting each other and trying to stay positive. The girls in Alex’s hall all went out to dinner together Monday night.
Also on Monday night, students organized a remembrance ceremony for Alex. More than a thousand students, staff and community members gathered to honor Alex. Many wore purple—Alex’s favorite color.
Although Alex was a SUNY Brockport student for just a short time, students said she would forever be a part of the Brockport family.