25 February 2018 :
A Cuyahoga County jury has recommended the death penalty for Christopher Whitaker (45, Black), who raped and killed Alianna DeFreeze, 14, Black. Judge Carolyn Friedland will decide whether to accept the jury's recommendation for the death penalty on March 5. Alianna was abducted while on her way to school on Jan. 26, 2017. Her body was found in an abandoned home 3 days later. Whitaker was previously found guilty of aggravated murder and charges including kidnapping and rape in DeFreeze's death. Authorities say Alianna was beaten and stabbed and the man's DNA matched evidence. Whitaker confessed to investigators, and said he was high on cocaine and blacked out. He tried to claim that Alianna attacked him.