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Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2014

Clayton Whittemore trial delayed to March: mental state during Alex Kogut murder new focus

Clayton Whittemore killed his 18-year-old girlfriend, Alexandra Kogut, in her college dorm room more than a year ago and yet prosecutors can’t seem to get the case into court.

Photo supplied by the Kogut family.

Photo supplied by the Kogut family.

While the prosecution’s psychiatric expert continues to evaluate 22-year-old Whittemore’s mental state, the possibility still exists that what was initially believed to be a murder case could ultimately become one of lesser manslaughter instead, attorneys said.

The defense psychiatric expert has already concluded that Whittemore was suffering from extreme emotional disturbance when he “snapped” and fatally beat the New Hartford graduate at SUNY College at Brockport on Sept. 29, 2012.

Whittemore’s brutal act of murder may still be headed to a lesser charge of manslaughter as attorneys look to plea bargain his punishment to no more than 25 years in prison.

“If the prosecution’s doctor comes back and also believes it was extreme emotional disturbance, then at that point there probably wouldn’t be a trial,” said one of Whittemore’s Rome-based attorneys, John Leonard, who is assisted by attorney Mark Curley.

That’s far less than the 25-year-to-life sentence Whittemore would face if convicted of second-degree murder.

This is all part of the reason why Whittemore’s looming trial in Rochester was once again delayed this week until March 31.

It was initially set to begin Jan. 27, but attorneys agreed that all of the remaining legal questions could not be resolved in less than two weeks.

The hurt felt by Kogut’s family still persists beyond any courtroom walls.

“Our grief and deep sorrow continue every day for the loss of our daughter and sister Alex,” Kogut’s parents, Mark and Becky, and her sister Sydney said in a statement Wednesday.

“Family, friends and the community continue to support us and have helped to sustain us through this very difficult time,” their statement read. “We are, of course, following the judicial deliberations as they progress, and (are) confident that justice will soon be served.”

 

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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