The man convicted of killing Alianna DeFreeze was sentenced to death Monday morning. Christoper Whitaker, 45, was convicted of 10 counts, including aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping in the death of the 14-year-old girl. A Cuyahoga County jury recommended the death penalty. On Monday, Judge Carolyn Friedland upheld that sentence.

“He snatched a branch off our family tree and our lives will never be the same,” said Wytonya DeFreeze, the victim’s stepmother.

Alianna was last seen on Jan. 26, 2017 getting off of an RTA bus at East 93rd Street and Kinsman Avenue in Cleveland. Her mother reported her missing when she learned Alianna didn’t make it to school.

Police searched yards and vacant homes in the area. Three days later after her disappearance, they found her body in an abandoned house on Fuller Avenue.

Whitaker, a registered sex offender, was identified using DNA.

Read more here. 

Our thoughts and prayers are still with the family and all those effected by the death of young Alianna.