Childhood friend of murder victim brings awareness to dating violence

Updated: 05/30/2014 11:13 PM
Created: 05/30/2014 10:41 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

After three hours of deliberations, the 12 jurors convicted the Utica area man of second-degree murder.

Clayton Whittemore now faces 25 years to life in prison. He will be sentenced July 15. Whittemore killed his girlfriend, Alexandra Kogut, two years ago in September. The 18-year-old freshman at the College of Brockport was beaten to death. Her body found inside her dorm room.  

As horrific as Kogut's death is, her childhood friend says there is something we can learn from her death. Paige Whitney was in the courtroom Friday. She talked to News10NBC about her friend, the impact of her death and the lessons we all can learn.

Paige Whitney, Kogut's friend, said, "I'm glad that justice has been served, but it's bittersweet."

Paige Whitney is finally breathing a sigh of relief. However, Whitney acknowledges the jury's conviction of Clayton Whittemore won't bring Alex Kogut back.

Whitney said, "It has totally changed my life. I lost a friend, that changes anyone's life and because I lost her so tragically that really affects it too. I think having a positive outlook on it, knowing she affected my life for the better and even though she was here for 18 short years that she had a huge impact on not only me, but my friends and family."

The positive that Whitney talks about is the awareness. Kogut's death has brought to light the problem of dating violence. Whitney blanketed the Brockport campus with purple ribbons when Whittemore's trial began and helps her mother, Sandra Whitney, who started the Purple Pinkie Charitable Foundation in Koguts's memory. 

Jamie Saunders is the CEO of Alternatives for Battered Women. She applauds the efforts of Whitney and her mom.

Jamie Saunders, Alternatives for Battered Women CEO, said,  "We as a community have to be supportive, we have to not pass judgment, we have to recognize this is in every zip code and it can be all around us. So the key message truly is that we must trust each other, we must believe what we hear and again everybody has the right to be safe."

If you're affected by domestic violence or know someone who is, you can reach Alternatives for Battered Women by calling the 24-hour hotline at 232-7353. 

For more on Purple Pinkie, click here.

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