The father of the Brooklyn man charged with murder in the strangling death of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano says his son is a "good and humble kid," despite his recent run-in with the law.
Richard Lewis says his son, Chanel Lewis, aspired to work in social services and was taking classes about social work. He described him as a "very humble kid" and says it's "extremely surprising" that his son is the prime suspect in Vetrano's death.
"It's extremely surprising because he's not the person for that," the elder Lewis said. "Chanel would have never gone to do what they say he has, he would never."
Chanel Lewis was charged Sunday with second-degree murder. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years to life in prison.
He went to school in Far Rockaway and excelled at school, according to his father. He took high school classes in preparation for a career in social services.
Several awards, including three for academic achievements and two for honor roll, decorate a section of a wall of Lewis' childhood home. In the center of the awards is Lewis' middle school diploma.
Last October, his father says Chanel was taken to a downstate hospital after three people attacked him and hit him in the head. The same attackers antagonized his son a second time and tried to steal money from him. As far as he knows, this is the only instance of trouble his son has been in.
When asked if he had heard of Karina Vetrano's killing in August, the retired school teacher shook his head.
"Never heard of it," he said.