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New Hartford students come together; boyfriend admits to intentionally killing girlfriend
NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - New Hartford Schools Superintendent Robert Nole says it is a very somber day in the district.
Nole says there are counselors on campus talking to any students who are having trouble with the horrible news of the death of 2012 graduate Alexandra Kogut over the weekend. Kogut's boyfriend has admitted to authorities that he intentionally killed her.
"We are trying to keep the instruction process as normal as possible, but when you have an instance like this, we're here to guide them and we're here for them," Superintendent Nole said.
Monroe County Sheriff's officials say Kogut was killed by her boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore, in her dorm room on the SUNY Brockport campus (west of Rochester) early Saturday morning.
Whittemore, who is also a graduate of New Hartford High School, graduating in 2011, was charged with murder on Saturday in Monroe County.
Police say Kogut's badly beaten body was found, after her mother called the authorities to check on her.
A criminal complaint says Whittemore told state troopers that he intentionally killed the 18-year-old Kogut. No motive was given.
Whittemore has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and is being held without bail. His public defender hasn't returned a call for comment. He was currently a sophomore at Utica College, which issued the following statement via President Todd Hutton.
"I join the entire Utica College community in grieving this terrible tragedy," Hutton said. "Our hearts go out Ms. Kogut’s family and friends, and we send our profound condolences to members of the SUNY Brockport community, the New Hartford community, and all those who have been affected by this senseless act of violence."
Nole says Alexandra was a very popular girl, who, having just graduated three months ago, still has many friends in high school.
She was on the swim team and participated in a number of other activities, and was also very involved with helping youth within the district.
Nole says many of the high school students wore purple on Monday to raise awareness of domestic violence.
"Students have arrived with purple clothing on today," Nole said. "Certainly it is symbolic, and if it assists them through the grieving process, we realize it's providing some sort of unity for them through this grieving process."
Nole says even some teachers who were very close to Alexandra, couldn't teach on Monday, so extra substitute teachers were called in to help.
Nole also wanted to get the word out on Monday to parents in the district, that if they see that their kids are having problems dealing with this tragedy, those parents should contact the district, and they will make sure kids get the help they need.
"We will have additional services provided for for the foreseeable future," Nole said.