Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and famous murders throughout history.
In September 2012, Alexandra Kogut, 18, had just started college at the University of New York in Brockport. She was doing well. She excelled on the swim team and she had no trouble making new friends. The teen was also in touch with her recent past: she was in a long-distance relationship with her high school sweetheart, 21-year-old Clayton Whittemore. But her young life was taken away from her. Kogut and Whittemore are the subjects of episode 40 of our Martinis & Murder podcast.
"Alex’s mom called me in the middle of the night. Just kind of frantically, you know, “where’s Alex? I can’t get a hold of her.” And I told her, you know, “I’m sure everything is okay. I’m sure she’s just sleeping,'" said Samantha Turner, a friend of Alex's, to Oxygen's show #KillerPost.
Tragically, Alex wasn't just sleeping. Soon, a school officer found her dead in her dorm room, viciously killed.
"She had been beaten repeatedly about the head and face with a clothing iron. It was a brutal, brutal crime," Meaghan McDermott, a journalist at the Democrat and Chronicle told #KillerPost. Blood was found on the dorm room beds, and in the bathroom. It looked as if the killer attempted to clean up. Before her death, she had tweeted one last tweet, and it was an ominous one: “Should’ve known.”
Clayton, who was spending the weekend with her, was gone.
The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported that she and her boyfriend exchanged dozens of tweets with one another in the past. Most were bubbly: “So excited for @Whittemore21 to come to Brockport Saturday and bring me half moons.” By half moons, she was referring to black and white cookies.
The night of the killing, Clayton got word that the police were looking for him. He called them himself, and waited for them to arrive. During an interview with police, Clayton said his relationship with Alex started to go sour right before Alex went away to college.
He soon confessed to police that he "snapped," and repeatedly hit his girlfriend. Clayton claimed he finished her off with the clothing iron to "end her suffering" after he heard her struggling to breathe.
"I mean, if someone is lying on the floor bleeding to death, you don’t put them out of their misery like they’re some sort of animal," Midwin Charles, legal analyst, told "#KillerPost."
According to "#KillerPost," police found text message exchanges between the pair that revealed Clayton was cheating on Alex. Police also discovered that Clayton had been verbally abusive to Alex for months leading up to her death. Abusive voicemails left for the college freshman became key evidence in court. The jurors had little sympathy for Clayton.
“Alex will not graduate college, we will not see her marry, she will never have children ... you have robbed us of so much,” Alexandra’s mother Becky Kogut said in court in 2014, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. She was addressing Clayton Whittemore just before he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.