Clayton Whittmore pleads not guilty in murder of Alex Kogut, New York college student
The suspect accused of beating his girlfriend to death at The College at Brockport in New York early Saturday pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Saturday afternoon.
UPDATED: Sources identified the young student to The Global Dispatch as Alex Kogut. Alexandra Kogut was a student at SUNY, a graduate from New Hartford Senior High School.
SUNDAY PM: Family has officially made a statement and identified Alexandra Kogut as the student murdered by Clayton Whittemore, who will be in court on Tuesday. (Read more here)
Alex’s last tweet was described as “chilling” as the young student tweeted: “Should’ve known”
Our thoughts and prayers are with this family and her friends during this difficult time.
Clayton Whittemore, age 21, of New Hartford, near Utica, was arrested on second-degree murder charges related to the “brutal” death of a student inside McLean Hall, authorities announced in a news conference Saturday afternoon.
Robert Kehoe, The College at Brockport police chief, said there was “extensive trauma to the upper body.”
Whittemore, who is not a student at the college, admitted to causing the death of the victim according to the felony complaint, but pleaded not guilty in the arraignment hearing.
Her body was found at about 3 a.m. after her mother called the school concerned, officials said.
Even though the victim sustained extensive trauma to the upper body, the exact cause of death has yet to be determined by the medical examiner. Deputies would not comment if there was a weapon used in the attack.
Whittemore was caught by police at a state Thruway rest stop at approximately 4 a.m. near DeWitt.
David Mihalyov, chief communications officer at Brockport, said that the campus had not been locked down.
“There is no reason to believe that there is any danger to anyone else on campus at this point,” he said. “A message has gone out to the campus community.” The message was sent by email, social media and posted on the school’s website.
Whittemore is a former standout athlete at New Hartford and was featured as an “Athlete of the Week” by WKTV Utica in 2010 as a member of the hockey team. He was named Division II player of the year, according to the report.
From the school’s Facebook page:
We want to provide an update regarding the death of the female student on our campus this morning. The Monroe County Sheriff’s office held a joint press conference with our University Police in Rochester at 1:15 pm today to announce the arrest of a suspect. This suspect, a resident of New Hartford, NY, and not a Brockport student, is being arraigned in Sweden Town Court this afternoon and being charged with murder. We are thankful for the cooperation between University Police, the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, and new York State Police, which resulted in a quick arrest.
We understand that there is a lot of talk around campus and activity on various social media outlets regarding the identity of the victim. The College is honoring the policy of the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, who is withholding the name of the student until proper notification to the family is made. Above all else we want to show our respect for the family. Once the Sheriff’s office releases the name, we will share that information with the campus community.
Counseling Center staff have been meeting all day with students and along with Residential Life staff, coaches, and other caring professionals remain available to provide support for students. The Counseling Center is open until 5 pm today and from 10 am to 3 pm tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of our student on this sad and tragic day.