Fate of Clayton Whittemore in the hands of the jury

Clayton Whittemore

Jurors have begun deliberating in the second-degree murder trial of a 22-year-old upstate New York man charged with beating his girlfriend to death inside her college dormitory room in 2012.

Local media report that defense attorney Mark Curley in his closing arguments Thursday asked jurors to find that Clayton Whittemore lost control of his temper because he was in the throes of an extreme emotional disturbance the night he killed 18-year-old Alexandra Kogut.

Curley said Whittemore's abuse-filled childhood was a big factor in the deadly attack at the State University of New York College at Brockport, 15 miles west of Rochester. Curley asked jurors to convict on a charge of first-degree manslaughter, which carries a lesser sentence.

Prosecutors argue that Whittemore intentionally killed Kogut out of pure anger and rage.