What to Know
- A jury found a 22-year-old man guilty of murdering a woman when she went out for a run in Queens in 2016
- On Tuesday, her parents described the pain they endured as they sat through two trials following their daughter's death
- A previous trial ended in a hung jury in November
The parents of slain jogger Karina Vetrano thanked jurors for finding their daughter’s accused killer guilty at his second trial — calling him a “savage demon” responsible for her “horrendous” death.
Cheers erupted inside the courtroom Monday night as a jury found Chanel Lewis guilty on all counts at his retrial for Vetrano’s murder.
Vetrano’s mother Cathie Vetrano on Tuesday described the pain she and her husband Phil Vetrano endured as they sat through two trials following their daughter’s August 2016 death.
Vetrano was brutally strangled and sexually assaulted while jogging alone in a park blocks from her Howard Beach home. A previous trial ended in a hung jury in November.
“Today is a day where grieving can begin,” Cathie Vetrano said, clutching a photo of her daughter. “I thank the jurors from the bottom of our souls and hearts. I thank them.”
“I sat for two and a half years listening to the most disgusting details of [my daughter's]... most horrendous death, and last moments of her life, at the hands of a savage demon,” she added. “And it has nothing to do about what color he is, or who he is.”
Lewis' attorneys, the Legal Aid Society, called the outcome "a complete miscarriage of justice." They had unsuccessfully sought a hearing Monday after getting an anonymous letter saying that police had pursued two white suspects before taking DNA samples from hundreds of black men — in what the defense called a "race-biased dragnet" — and coming to focus on Lewis.
Phil Vetrano on Tuesday said his reaction to the verdict was “uncontrollable.”
“It was just total jubilation, and all the anger, all the years of pain, but mostly the anger, was lifted, it was gone,” he said.
“Nobody will ever forget our daughter Karina,” he added. “I mean, it’s obvious she’s magical, she’s special, she’s an angel.”
Lewis is set to be sentenced on April 17 and faces up to life in prison. His attorneys plan to appeal.