Slain NY student's friends focus on violence issue

Associated Press Modified: October 2, 2012 at 2:32 am •  Published: October 2, 2012
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — As her family mourned her death, the friends of a college freshman who police say was beaten to death in her dorm room by her boyfriend have rallied people to wear purple to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Alexandra Kogut's body was found early Saturday at the State University of New York College at Brockport, near Rochester. Campus police discovered the 18-year-old Kogut's body after her mother called them concerned because she couldn't reach her, Monroe County sheriff's spokesman John Helfer said.

Kogut's boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore, 21, was arrested at a New York Thruway rest stop near Syracuse, 100 miles east, about an hour later. He told state troopers he intentionally killed Kogut, according to a criminal complaint. No motive was given.

The cause of death was ruled blunt force trauma, Helfer said, but he declined to say whether a weapon was used.

University officials described the slaying as an isolated tragedy that came without warning.

SUNY Brockport spokesman John Follaco said dormitories are locked at all times, and residents swipe identification cards to gain access. Guests must be signed in, and all procedures were followed in Whittemore's case, he said.

Kogut's family released a photo of her along with a statement asking for privacy.

"Alexandra Kogut was a bright, beautiful young woman who was thrilled to be beginning her college education," the family said. "Her lovely and sweet demeanor was truly infectious and she will forever be missed."

A Facebook page set up in Kogut's honor had hundreds of messages of condolence Monday, and several friends and a former teacher urged supporters to wear purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which began Monday.

The Utica Observer-Dispatch reported that students at Kogut's and Whittemore's alma mater, New Hartford High School, wore purple T-shifts to school and released 100 purple balloons in Kogut's memory.

New Hartford, in central New York, is about 150 miles east of Brockport.

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