CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Jurors who took six hours to convict a Cleveland man last week of abducting, raping and killing a 14-year-old girl have now decided he should be executed.
After another five hours of deliberations, the same jury voted unanimously Friday Christopher Whitaker should receive the death penalty for the murder of Alianna DeFreeze.
He was found guilty last week on all 10 charges related to the kidnapping, raping, torture, and killing of young Alianna in January 2017.
Verdict deliberations began Thursday afternoon after closing arguments in the death penalty process concluded. The jury deliberated for approximately four hours Thursday before ending the day without reaching an agreement.
Whitaker, who admitted to the crimes but said he was high on drugs, took the stand during Thursday's hearing. He delivered a short, prepared statement expressing "remorse" and "regret" for his actions.
Alianna's family says they are trying to heal and move forward.
"He can sit on death row forever. I want this man to experience hell on earth before he experiences hell in the after life," Alianna's father Damon DeFreeze said.
"Don't give up. Don't give up and keep on living and fighting in the name of your children. Because eventually, justice will come. Peace will come," Alianna's mother Donnesha Cooper said.
A judge will now decide whether to impose the death penalty or life in prison.
Whitaker will be sentenced Monday, March 5.