Jury selection begins in trial for man charged in death of girlfriend at The College at Brockport

Posted at: 05/12/2014 6:37 AM
Updated at: 05/12/2014 5:47 PM
By: Jennifer Mobilia

Clayton Whittemore
Clayton Whittemore

Alexandra Kogut
Alexandra Kogut

He says he snapped. This week, a young man accused of beating his girlfriend to death is set to stand trial in her murder. It was a crime that sent shock waves throughout a college and a community.

Clayton Whittemore is charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, Alexandra Kogut. Whittemore reportedly told authorities he snapped. 

The judge in this case ruled Monday that the voicemails retrieved from the victim’s cell phone can be used as evidence in the case. The district attorney says those voicemails will show a pattern of abuse.

Jury selection in Whittemore’s murder trial also got underway Monday morning in Monroe County Court.

Sandra Doorley, Monroe County District Attorney, said, “Obviously, we're looking for a fair and impartial jury. We're looking for people who can commit up to three or four weeks of a trial and we're looking for people who can keep an open mind despite all the media attention in this case.”

On Monday in court, Whittemore was dressed in a suit and tie. He only talked to his attorneys. His mother was also in the courtroom, but chose not to speak to the media. The district attorney says the court is being very careful with the jury selection process, interviewing potential jurors in a private room.  

Doorley said, "We're just concerned that if one juror says something, they may taint the rest of the jury pool. That's why we're keeping it confidential."

Whittemore is accused of beating to death his girlfriend, 18-year-old Alexandra Kogut, inside her College at Brockport dorm room in 2012. Hours after the murder, Whittemore is seen in an interrogation video, admitting to authorities that he snapped.  

Whittemore's defense attorneys are expected to argue he was emotionally disturbed, potentially paving the way for a lesser charge. The district attorney says she plans to present evidence, proving that's not the case.  

Doorley said, "All along we don't believe this was a snap. We believe this was an intentional act."

The district attorney says jury selection is expected to wrap up Tuesday afternoon with opening statements on Wednesday. If convicted, Whittemore faces 25 years to life.