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Experts Testify to Clayton Whittemore's Mindset Night of Kogut's Homicide

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Experts Testify to Clayton Whittemore's Mindset Night of Kogut's Homicide
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Closing arguments are expected Thursday in the trial of Clayton Whittemore.

Whittemore is accused of fatally beating his girlfriend, Alexandra Kogut, inside her College at Brockport dorm room in September of 2012.

As testimony ended Wednesday, it became a battle of the experts. The defense said Whittemore was experiencing an extreme emotional disturbance the night Alexandra Kogut was killed in her SUNY Brockport dorm room.

The prosecutions says, he was not.

It will be up to the jury to decide who to believe.

The defense expert, Dr. Rory Houghtalen testified that he believes Whittemore, in part because of the severe child abuse he experienced, lost control that night in Alexandra Kogut's room. He said there was a flurry of violence during the crime, parts of which Whittemore doesn't even remember. He Houghtalen said that's consistent with someone experiencing an extreme emotional disturbance.

The prosecution said Whittemore beat Kogut to death with his fists and an iron.

District Attorney Sandra Doorley picked apart Dr. Houghtalen's findings. She said despite what was in his report, it seemed Whittemore tried to cover up his crime, by cleaning his shoes and changing his clothes -- all indications that he was thinking clearly after he beat Kogut.

That's what Dr. R.P. Singh, the prosecution's expert psychiatrist testified to.

He said Whittemore showed extreme anger and rage, not just that night, but from time to time. Singh said he found that by interviewing some of the Whittemore's ex-girlfriends, something Houghtalen did not.

Two of those ex-girlfriends testified Wednesday. One described an angry fight with Whittemore. Another testified Whittemore tried to choke her.

And a friend of Whittemore's told the jury about a a fight in Florida when Whittemore had a knife. Police eventually were called.

"I believe it's going to come down to the jury accepting or rejecting one or the other of the experts," said Doorley. "Our premise, our whole theory of the case is that this is anger. This was not fueled as he said by what he experienced as a child but this was fueled by his anger. The most important things is to learn how the defendant has behaved in the other relationships with intimate partners. This is clearly a case of domestic violence. It's important that Dr. Singh interviewed other girlfriends."

The defense is hoping jurors will find Whittemore guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. The prosecution said he's guilty of second-degree murder.


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