Accused killer trades his hospital gown for a prison jumpsuit

A Cleveland man was in court in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 5-year old son.

Julian Whitaker plead not guilty via video arraignment Friday. The arraignment follows his indictment earlier this week.

He was indicted for the June 1st domestic that left a 5-year-old dead and his sister hospitalized.  

Prosecutors say Deonche Lewis, 10, ran to her mother's job at Willow Park Nursing Home with a slashed throat. She told her mother, Markish Smith, that a man cut her throat and was holding her little brother hostage at their Harvard Avenue home.

Workers at the nursing home called 9-1-1 and flagged down a Warrensville Heights Police cruiser for help. Warrensville Police responded to the home located at 18914 Harvard Avenue and called Cleveland Police to the scene.

When officers arrived, Julian Whitaker exited the home wearing a bloody shirt and waving a knife. Officers requested that Whitaker drop the knife, but he did not. Officers shot Whitaker several times, he was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center.

Once inside of the home, officers located the body of Larvell Smith, 5, and the family dog. Both were deceased. The boy suffered severe lacerations to the neck.

Deonche Lewis was taken to Metro where she was treated and released for a laceration to her neck.

Whitaker had been dating Smith at the time of the incident. 

Whitaker, who is still recovering from gunshot wounds, is confined to a wheelchair.

He is being held without bail and will appear again in court on June 23 for a pre-trial hearing.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

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