CLEVELAND - Prosecutors showed video Thursday of the interrogation of Christopher Whitaker after he was arrested in connection with the murder of 14 year-old Alianna DeFreeze.
The interrogation tapes, in which Whitaker ultimately confesses to the crime, came during testimony by Cleveland Police homicide detective Kathleen Carlin. She testified that DNA testing led investigators to identify Whitaker as a person of interest.
Whitaker repeatedly changed his story, making false claims that he had scrapped inside the home and was doing crack cocaine with others inside the house, while still denying he had anything to do with the murder.
As detectives kept pressing, presenting evidence linking Whitaker to the crime, he eventually confessed to the crimes.
"I turned around, and it's like I punched her, but then after that it's like a blur. Like, I almost blacked out or something," Whitaker said, claiming he was high on crack cocaine at the time of the murder and in a drug-induced haze that affected his memory.
"People are going to look at me like a monster. I'm not a monster. I'm just an addict who made a mistake that shouldn't have happened," he said to detective in the interrogation video. "I don't remember what I did. I just remember when I came through I was just disgusted with myself."
After his admission, Whitaker seemed to realize the gravity of his actions, saying it would not have happened if he were sober.
He was also concerned with his own reputation, and at one point, Whitaker told detectives he wanted to avoid a "circus" and did not want his face in the news.
"The world is going to hate me now," he said in the interrogation. "She never had a chance to grow up, never had a chance to experience anything, and I took that away from her."
Whitaker, 45, is on trial on charges of kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder in the January, 2017 slaying of DeFreeze. She went missing on her way to school on Cleveland's east side. Her body was found by police in a vacant house on Fuller Avenue three days later.
In the interrogation tapes, Whitaker first denied having ever seen DeFreeze.
A Deputy Medical Examiner testified this week that DeFreeze died of multiple wounds inflicted by tools found in the house.
Closing arguments in the case are expected Monday.