Trial resumes for man suspected of killing 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze

Trial resumes for man suspected of killing 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze
Alianna Defreeze (Source: Family)
Alianna Defreeze (Source: Family)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The death penalty trial for Christopher Whitaker, the man charged with brutally murdering 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze, resumed Monday morning.

Trial for Whitaker began Thursday following the defense and prosecution's opening statements. During Monday's questioning, the prosecution called a 17-year-old boy to the stand.

The teen was a former schoolmate of Alianna's at E Prep Woodland Hills and said he would often see Alianna before school.

"Sometimes I did feel like she should have somebody to walk with so sometimes I would walk with her to the '10' across the street and make sure she gets on that bus so she could go to school," said the teen.

The teen said he did not see Alianna the day she went missing on Jan. 26, 2017.

Offc. Jamusca Britten with the city of Cleveland Police Department also testified for the prosecution in front of jurors Monday morning. She was assigned to help investigate Alianna's disappearance and discovered the girl's body in the abandoned home while canvassing the neighborhood.

"It appeared to be a young black juvenile female, turned upside down, legs as if somebody just threw her against the wall, and hair was everywhere," said Offc. Britten.

Prosecutors say Alianna was kidnapped by Whitaker, 44, while she was walking to her RTA bus stop near East 93rd Street and Kinsman Avenue. Her body was found days later in an abandoned home on Fuller Avenue.

Whitaker, 44, faces multiple counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape, burglary, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in connection with the seventh-grader's death.

"Mr. Whitaker says to the detectives, I take responsibility and I don't want to make a circus out of this. I did it. I'm sorry, people will think I'm a monster, I was under the influence of drugs, I blacked out, I want to apologize to her family, even though they'll never accept it," said defense attorney Tom Shaunghnessy.

Stay with Cleveland 19 News for updates to this developing story.

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