Alexandra Kogut killer, Clayton Whittemore, may go free after police procedures questioned
Defense attorneys for a New Hartford graduate who confessed to killing his girlfriend at SUNY Brockportin a fit of rage last year are arguing that police did not have probable cause to immediately arrest him, according to court documents filed this week.
Clayton Whittemore, age 21, had his vehicle unlawfully searched, says motion papers filed Jan. 16.
The motion says there was no warrant, probable cause or permission after authorities located him at the DeWitt Service Area several hours after the Sept. 29 death of his girlfriend, Alexandra Kogut.
Whittemore was later charged with second-degree murder for beating Kogut to death inside her freshman dorm room, near Rochester.
When Whittemore returns to Monroe County Court on Feb. 13, several hearings will explore whether any evidence or alleged confessions should be suppressed from being used at trial.
The reasons why Whittemore was immediately arrested have not yet been released publicly, but the defense is arguing that police radio transmissions before Whittemore was located “conclusively establish” that police did not have probable cause at the time to make such an arrest.
“It is well-settled that probable cause cannot be based on evidence obtained after an unlawful arrest, but must have existed in the first instance,” one of Whittemore’s attorneys, Mark Curley, wrote in the motion.
The motion also argues that authorities shouldn’t have questioned Whittemore any further while he was in custody after Curley had alerted them that he was representing Whittemore. It was during those conversations that Whittemore allegedly told police that he had “just snapped” and beat Kogut with his fists and a curling iron following an argument over “stupid stuff.”
Prosecutors will file their response to the defense motions at a later date.