Jury recommends death penalty in 14-year-old girl’s slaying
CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury has recommended that a registered sex offender convicted of raping and killing a 14-year-old Ohio girl should get the death penalty.
Jurors on Friday recommended the death penalty for 45-year-old Christopher Whitaker. The same jury had found him guilty of aggravated murder and charges including kidnapping and rape in Alianna DeFreeze’s death. Her body was found in an abandoned home in Cleveland in January 2017, three days after her mother reported her missing when she didn’t arrive at school.
Whitaker told investigators he was high on cocaine and blacked out. He pleaded not guilty but told jurors Thursday that he has accepted responsibility and is remorseful.
A message was left for Whitaker’s attorney.
A judge will decide later whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison.