$3 million bond for suspect in murder of Alianna Defreeze

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CLEVELAND -- The man accused in the murder of 14-year-old Alianna Defreeze appeared in court Saturday morning for his arraignment.

Christopher Whitaker, 44, is charged with aggravated murder.  Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Michael Sliwinski set his bond at $3 million at the request of the prosecution.

During opening remarks, the prosecutor said the following:

"The allegations are that the defendant followed a child from the bus stop, kidnapped then savagely and brutally assaulted and murdered her, taking the life of a beautiful, little girl. These actions, along with this defendant's extensive criminal history, are strong indicators that a high bond is necessary, and that he is definitely a significant threat to the safety of the community."

Whitaker's public defender, Antonio Nicholson, objected to the bond request, saying that $1 million was more appropriate because his client was "probably not going to get out (of jail) anyway."

Whitaker was arrested last week in Mayfield Heights by U.S. Marshals.  Officials say he has an extensive criminal record, including sexual battery and felonious assault, and is a registered sex offender in Cuyahoga County.

Whitaker will next appear in court on February 14.

Alianna Defreeze went missing on January 26 after getting off of an RTA bus at East 93rd Street and Kinsman Avenue.  Her body was found inside a vacant house on Fuller Avenue a few days later.

**Continuing  coverage, here**

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