Missing child murder charged
The man accused of killing 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze and leaving her body in an abandoned building was convicted in 2005 for sexually assaulting a woman, choking her unconscious and stabbing her in the neck with scissors.
Christopher Whitaker, 44, is charged with aggravated murder in connection with Alianna's death. He is expected to appear in court Saturday, but no date has been finalized.
Officials have not said how Alianna died, but Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams called the crime "heinous" in a press conference announcing the arrest in the case.
Whitaker is a registered sex offender stemming from the 2005 conviction.
Whitaker on April 8, 2005 called a then-45-year-old woman several times throughout the night. He asked permission to use the restroom in her apartment at the Trinity Towers apartment complex on Rockside Road in Bedford Heights.
The woman let him into the apartment. Whitaker went into the restroom and emerged with a pair of scissors. He choked the woman unconscious.
He sexually assaulted while she was unconscious and stabbed her twice in the neck with the scissors.
Whitaker left by the time she regained consciousness. She was treated at Hillcrest Hospital and Whitaker was arrested four days later.
He was initially charged with attempted murder and rape, but pleaded guilty to sexual battery and felonious assault. He was sentenced to four years in prison on that case.
Whitaker's most recent conviction stemmed from a 2013 burglary in in Bedford.
In that case, Whitaker broke into his then 39-year-old ex-girlfriend's home on Ledgewood Drive, just south of Turney Road.
Whitaker stole three televisions, a CD player, a fax machine, a computer, a washer and a cellphone. The woman also reported that Whitaker loaded the items into her car and used it to drive away from her home.
Bedford police used touch DNA from a coffee mug in the woman's home to link Whitaker to the crime.
Whitaker called the woman several days later and threatened to kill her, according to police reports. He told her he'd kill her unless she recanted her statement to police and told her: "When they find the DNA ain't mine, you will be sorry," police reports say.
Whitaker pleaded guilty to grand theft and was initially sentenced to two years on probation. He violated probation by using drugs and was sentenced to six months in the county jail.
When he was released, he continued threatening the woman, police reports say. He sent her Facebook messages on Dec. 23, 2015 that said he would harm her and her family, according to police.
In 1999, he was convicted of breaking into a family member's home and stealing her car.