Prosecutors will seek death penalty against suspect in Alianna DeFreeze killing

Christopher WhitakerCleveland police  CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze. A grand jury on Monday charged Christopher Whitaker with aggravated...

Prosecutors will seek death penalty against suspect in Alianna DeFreeze killing
Christopher WhitakerCleveland police 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze.

A grand jury on Monday charged Christopher Whitaker with aggravated murder, kidnapping, rape and committing offenses against a human corpse in the girl's death.

The indictment includes capital specifications, alleging that Whitaker killed Alianna in the commission of rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary.

The indictment signals that prosecutors will ask a jury to recommend Whitaker be sentenced to death if he is convicted. A judge would have a final say whether to impose death.

Whitaker was arrested Feb. 2 after the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office used forensic evidence to identify him as a suspect in Alianna's death, the Cleveland police department said in a news release.

Alianna, who suffered from mental health issues, was reported missing last month after she did not show up to school. She got onto an RTA bus about 6:45 a.m. Thursday on the 3400 block of East 149th Street and got off the bus to switch lines at East 93rd and Kinsman Avenue, police said.

Alianna never made it onto the second bus, and she was found dead Sunday evening inside an abandoned home on Fuller Avenue, east of East 93rd Street and south of Kinsman Road.

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