The 20-year-old Brooklyn man charged in the death of Karina Vetrano, the New York City runner whose beaten, strangled body was found in a Queens marsh over the summer, will face a judge again in April.
Attorneys for Chanel Lewis attended a hearing Tuesday, though Lewis did not appear.
Jamel Reed, a former high school classmate and friend, told NBC 4 New York outside court that Lewis was "very quiet, very chill, laidback. He didn't bother anybody, he graduated, he didn't have a criminal history."
The Legal Aid Society, which is defending Lewis, reiterated its statement that he is "entitled to fairness and due process."
Police have said DNA evidence linked Lewis to Vetrano's killing, and that he made detailed, incriminating statements to detectives. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.
Lewis' family maintains he's innocent.
"He's just a good guy, a wonderful guy, don't interfere with anybody," his father Richard Lewis previously said. "He's never had that problem in the 20 years I've had him in my world."
"I raised my son to be a God-fearing man, and to respect life," mother Vita Lewis said. "My son is friendly, God-fearing, and would not hurt anybody."