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Trial verdict raises domestic violence awareness

by Sean Carroll

Rochester, N.Y. - The jury took just two hours to arrive at their verdict Friday, a verdict that said guilty of intentional murder.

22-year-old Clayton Whittemore now faces a possible life sentence in prison for the death of his girlfriend, Alex Kogut.

The District Attorney says this was a clean-cut case of domestic violence and a scary reminder to younger generations. Some of Kogut's close friends have taken up this cause.

Over the past two years, Paige Whitney and others, hang purple ribbons and poster on the SUNY Brockport Campus to raise awareness.

"They see the purple ribbons on campus, they see domestic violence posters up, and that kind of stuff so I think it's definitely brought us together and made us more aware about domestic violence in college communities and high school," says Whitney.

Impact of domestic violence has on families and lives was driven home on Friday by 12 men and women who returned a guilty verdict.

"Something that tragic happening so close just sent me through a whirlwind of disbelief," says Whitney. "Then bittersweet feeling came to mind because he could serve the rest of his live in jail but that doesn't bring back my friend."

The emotion of this case, a nearly two-year investigation and a three-week-long trail, took its toll on even the most seasoned prosecutor.

"Maybe I've been doing this job for so long but the more I do these cases the more it...they become personal to me," says Sandra Doorley, Monroe District Attorney. "This strikes at the very heart of domestic violence. These are young adolescents just beginning to date, just beginning to form relationships, and I think it should be clear to the community, and to younger people, yes you can be a victim of domestic violence even if you are only 18. I have a 17-year-old daughter and perhaps that's why this has affected me very closely. They've got to be aware of the relationships they get into, they've got to be able to stand up for themselves, and be careful and cautious."
Whittemore is due to be sentenced on July 15. He's looking at the possibility of 25 years to life in prison.

His lawyer said only that he was surprised the verdict came so quickly and he was disappointed.

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Washington Times