The cell phone call was made from the young man in the jeans and white t-shirt standing in front of the Thruway rest stop in Dewitt. He had made his escape from the Brockport campus where an argument with his 18 year old girlfriend escalated, turned violent and ended when he struck with his hands and a curling iron. Clay Whittemore is heard on the 911 recordings talking in a matter of fact way with the dispatcher about his desire to face the death penalty as punishment for the act he had committed.
At that moment Alexandra Kogut had yet to be found. Police across New York State were stringing together information coming from Whittemore's mother and father who had alerted authorities after their son admitted he had done something terribly wrong. The recorded conversations on September 29, 2012 shed light on the immediate admissions of the man now accused of Kogut's murder.
Credit goes to media organizations in the Rochester area who took legal action to force the court to release the 911 recordings. A few weeks ago Whittemore's attorneys had requested the recorded statements be suppressed. The judge denied that motion. That's when the media asked the recordings be released.
After all they are public documentation of what happened. Prosecutors had already entered the recordings into evidence during legal proceedings going back to last spring. As WHAM reported this was a rare show of unity by media agencies.
New York State law favors privacy over public release when it comes to many 911 recordings. That's why we don't often hear calls from the public to 911 for help as you might in other states. It is more common that the emergency recordings from dispatchers to police or fire are released for the public to hear.
As much as the release of the 911 calls is a bit of a news story, once you listen to these recordings you can help, but be drawn into the terrible tragedy as it unfolded that night. The Kogut family losing a daughter and the Whittemore family coming to the realization their son did something terribly wrong.
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