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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — The man who kidnapped 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze in 2017 then raped, tortured and murdered the girl with a power drill and other tools will remain on death row.
The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed two of three capital convictions for Christopher Whitaker, 49, of Cleveland, for the “horrific crimes.” The high court dismissed Whitaker’s conviction and death sentence for aggravated burglary, but upheld the other two, according to a news release from the court.
Whitaker abducted DeFreeze, a seventh-grade student at E Prep in Cleveland, from her bus stop in January 2017.
Police later found her body in a vacant home along Fuller Avenue. They also found several bloody work tools and a bloody footprint, according to the court. Though Whitaker initially denied the crime, he admitted to murdering her after being confronted with DNA evidence. He was charged with 10 felony counts, three of which carried the death penalty.
While awaiting trial, Whitaker was heard in recorded jail phone calls asking a woman to help him craft an alibi.
Whitaker was convicted and sentenced to death in 2018. Death penalty convictions are automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court.