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Trial date set for Whittemore

By Cassandra Negley
On February 13, 2013


Clayton Whittemore will face trial almost exactly one year after he allegedly beat his girlfriend, freshman Alexandra Kogut, to death in her dorm room.

In a court appearance Wednesday morning, state Supreme Court Justice Daniel K. Doyle set the trial for Sept. 30.

Kogut was found dead in McLean Hall Sept. 29 of last fall. Whittemore was arrested at a thruway stop and is charged with second-degree murder.

His attorneys, John Leonard and Mark Curley, plan to argue that police had no probable cause to arrest Whittemore that night.

Whittemore, a Utica College student, had been visiting Kogut the weekend of the murder. According to police documents, they attended a party before returning to McLean Hall. He was properly signed in.

A hearing about the probable cause is set for May 10.

Whittemore's attorneys said they will argue an "extreme emotional disturbance" defense. It is not an insanity defense.

"It's not insanity as you typically think of of a mental disease or defect, but it means that there's something in this person's background and then some triggering event which caused him to behave the way he did on the day the crime was committed," said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. 

Timelines were set in court for when each side would get a chance to have a doctor and experts interview Whittemore.

"What we did today was we set up a schedule," Doorley said, "He's going to be interviewed by his set of doctors and then we're going to have an opportunity to have an independent doctor review him and confer with their doctor or come up with a different opinion. "

Kogut's family was not in attendance for the short court hearing. Doorley said it has been too difficult for the family, but she and her team have been in constant communication with them. Whittemore's mother was in attendance.

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