Christopher Whitaker expresses 'regret' and 'remorse' in statement for murdering Alianna DeFreeze (video)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Convicted murder Christopher Whitaker took the stand Thursday to provide a statement during the process deciding whether he deserves the death penalty.

He read a short, prepared speech to the jury and courtroom.

From the beginning, I've accepted full responsibilities for my actions. I assisted the detectives as to where to find my clothes and boots that I was wearing that day. I never wanted this to happen and ever since that day, I've been feeling regret and remorse. Through the year, I made a lot of phone calls, and in those calls, I've said things and a lot of those things in order to protect my family's feelings. I've admitted to my guilt to the detectives and my lawyers. I asked my lawyers not to contest or challenge anything in this case because I really wanted the DeFreeze family to have closure. I will not try to hide behind drugs or alcohol. I will not pretend or lie because it wouldn't be fair to the family. I apologize to the family and the community for my actions. There is no excuse for what I've done. I can't imagine the pain the family feels, but I know the pain I feel when I have to look at what I've done. If I could go back to that day in January to change everything, but I can't, so I have to live each day with the shame, hurt and guilty. Although the trial is over, the hurt and painful memories will remain with me. Sometimes, there's just things I just can't shake. I pray that the family can find peace and she can find rest. My apologies.

The jury will decide if Whitaker will be sentenced to the death penalty. Follow along with live updates from the courtroom here.

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