Clayton Whittemore, 21, was arraigned on second-degree murder charges. Police say he killed his girlfriend inside her dorm room after an argument. According to court documents, Whittemore strangled Kogut and then bludgeoned her to death with a curling iron.
Kogut's father had to hold his wife as she sobbed in the courtroom Thursday.
"Obviously, every homicide that occurs in our county is very emotional for the families, but in this case, we have a very young girl who was just experiencing college for the first time and she was brutally murdered by her boyfriend," said Sandra Doorley, District Attorney.
Clayton Whittemore's family had to compose themselves before they could walk into their son's arraignment. Alex Kogut's family walked in last. Her mom wore purple. It's a color that represents domestic violence awareness and her daughter's favorite color. Kogut's dad had on a purple bracelet with Alex's name.
Inside the courtroom, both families couldn't hold back their tears. Sitting on opposite sides of the courtroom, they watched Whittemore, who showed no emotions, plead not guilty.
His appearance drastically different from when he was arrested; now with longer hair and wearing glasses.
District Attorney Sandra Doorley is ready to go to trial.
"In this case, I believe this is a case that needs to go to trial, and I need to be in a position where he is convicted and I can ask the judge for 25 to life upon conviction," said Doorley.
Whittemore's attorney wouldn't comment. In a statement, he said he wanted to make his client's case in the courtroom, not in the media.
Whittemore will return to court for hearings in December and January. His trial is tentatively set to begin March 18th.