Crime: A Queens Jogger’s Murder Shook the City. Two Years Later, an Emotional Trial Unfolds. - PressFrom - US
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CrimeA Queens Jogger’s Murder Shook the City. Two Years Later, an Emotional Trial Unfolds.

05:21  19 november  2018
05:21  19 november  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

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Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds . Cathie Vetrano, center, attending the trial of Chanel Lewis earlier this month in Queens . Mr. Lewis is charged with the murder of Ms. Vetrano’ s daughter, Karina.

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Philip Vetrano held back tears as he recounted the final words he exchanged with his daughter, Karina, before she took off for a run on their usual path, along overgrown, weeded trails in a park near their home in Howard Beach, Queens.

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A Queens Jogger ’ s Murder Shook the City . Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds . Mr. Portas also said that, before he gave testimony at the trial , a detective had drawn attention to Mr. Landano after he had passed by in the courthouse corridor and said, ''You know he is our man.''

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“She asked me if I wanted to go for a run,” he said, choking up as he testified in a Queens courtroom. “I said, ‘I can’t, my back hurts.’” When he asked his daughter if she was going to run in “the weeds,” Mr. Vetrano said his daughter replied yes.

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“I said to her, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea,’” he added, pausing between sentences. “She said, ‘Don’t worry, Daddy, I’ll be O.K.’”

Mr. Vetrano’s testimony was one of several emotional moments in the trial of Chanel Lewis, a 22-year-old man from East New York, Brooklyn, who pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting and murdering Karina Vetrano in 2016 while she was on that after-work jog.

On Monday, jurors will begin deliberating in the case, which shook and riveted the city in 2016 as the search for her killer went on for six months. The criminal trial at State Supreme Court lasted two weeks, as the prosecution called forth a parade of witnesses, including Mr. Vetrano — who was the first person to find his daughter’s body in the grassy hedges — and crime scene investigators.

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In opening statements, Brad Leventhal, the Queens assistant district attorney, gave a graphic play-by-play of Ms. Vetrano’s last hours alive. He said Mr. Lewis attacked Ms. Vetrano, 30, on an early August evening as she jogged along a path in Spring Creek Park. His motive remained obscure, Mr. Leventhal said.

“He placed his hands around her neck, and he squeezed,” he told the courtroom, while Ms. Vetrano’s family members sobbed in the audience. “He strangled her until she was dead.”

The defendant was left with scars on his hand from punching Ms. Vetrano repeatedly, Mr. Leventhal said. The day after the attack, the prosecutor said, Mr. Lewis sought medical treatment for hand injuries at a Brooklyn hospital, injuries that Mr. Lewis told medical officials he had received from falling while “jogging in the park.” A doctor later wrote that Mr. Lewis had sustained a “classic boxer’s injury,” appearing as if he had punched someone.

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A Queens Jogger ’ s Murder Shook the City . In his 39-page ruling, the judge wrote: ''The jury will determine at trial whether Dinkins or Brown, or any other state actor, had assisted in creating or increasing danger to the plaintiffs and, if so, whether such actions were the proximate cause of any

New York. A Queens Jogger ’ s Murder Shook the City . Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds . Grace Notes. The Worst Bad Poem? Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds .

Months later, Mr. Lewis was confronted at home by police investigators on the advice of John Russo, a police lieutenant, who told jurors he had twice spotted Mr. Lewis walking around Howard Beach in the months before Ms. Vetrano’s murder.

Lieutenant Russo said his suspicions about Mr. Lewis were aroused because he wore heavy clothes when it was warm out and walked quickly away from the lieutenant, as if he were anxious to avoid the police. Mr. Lewis was interrogated at a precinct station house, where he twice admitted to Ms. Vetrano’s murder, but not to sexually abusing her.

The confessions, which were videotaped, were a point of dispute in the case. At first, Mr. Lewis’s lawyers said, the defendant repeatedly denied to investigators any involvement in the crime. On the videotape, however, Mr. Lewis is seen telling a Queens assistant district attorney, “I was beating her and was mad at her.” He later says to detectives that neighbors had been playing loud music, which had frustrated him and had caused him to lash out at Ms. Vetrano when he spotted her in the park.

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Yet at times, Mr. Lewis, who attended a school for students with learning disabilities, appears confused on the videotape. He occasionally mumbles through his responses.

His statements did not align with autopsy evidence. Strangulation was ruled the cause of death, and Mr. Lewis told an investigator that Ms. Vetrano had died by drowning in a puddle. He denied sexual assault, but the victim’s body was discovered partially clothed with signs of sexual abuse.

Mr. Leventhal told jurors that Mr. Lewis’s cellphone contained downloaded images of the crime scene, and he had searched online for results related to “second chances.” The DNA evidence found on Ms. Vetrano’s body matches evidence taken from Mr. Lewis by police investigators when he was arrested, Mr. Leventhal told the jury.

“The evidence in this case, ladies and gentlemen, is overwhelming,” he said.

One of Mr. Lewis’s lawyers, Jenny Cheung, raised doubts about the DNA evidence and its collection. She suggested in her opening statement that the confession had been coerced, noting Mr. Lewis had never spent a night away from home and was subjected to a long interrogation.

“This case is all about rushing to judgment,” she said.

Throughout the trial, members of Ms. Vetrano’s family sat in the second row, sometimes visibly distraught. Cathie Vetrano, the victim’s mother, often held a crucifix and a photo of her daughter. When gruesome photos of the killing were first shown as evidence, someone yelled out, “Oh, god!” and cries rippled throughout the room. Ms. Vetrano’s relatives held their heads in their hands, refusing to look.

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NYC jogger Karina Vetrano murder case declared mistrial by judge A mistrial was declared Tuesday night in the trial of a man accused of beating and strangling a woman who was jogging in New York City more than two years ago. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Chanel Lewis, 22, pleaded not guilty to murder and sexual abuse charges in the death of Karina Vetrano, 30. The woman was jogging in Howard Beach, Queens in August 2016 when she was attacked "until she could not struggle anymore.

New York. A Queens Jogger ’ s Murder Shook the City . Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds . Grace Notes. The Worst Bad Poem? Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds .

New York. A Queens Jogger ’ s Murder Shook the City . Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds . Grace Notes. The Worst Bad Poem? Two Years Later , an Emotional Trial Unfolds .

On several occasions, Justice Michael B. Aloise, who presided over the case, told the people in the gallery to curb their emotional responses. Mr. Lewis regularly hung his head during the testimony and occasionally peered back at his relatives in the audience.

In testimony, Mr. Vetrano told the jury that he had a “bad feeling” less than an hour after his daughter left the house, because she had not returned. “I felt like something was wrong,” he said.

He tried to telephone her several times, he said, then entered the park, calling her name. Having no luck, Mr. Vetrano, a retired firefighter, called a friend in the Police Department, who sent officers to help Mr. Vetrano search.

Eventually dozens of officers arrived, with K-9 units and a helicopter joining in the effort, Mr. Vetrano said.

They found her cellphone first, he said. Then he noticed a place in the brush that look trampled, signifying “someone had been through there.” Minutes later, he said, he found his daughter’s body.

“I let out this sound that I’ve never made before, or since,” he told the jury.

He told prosecutors that he picked up his daughter and held her, even though officers told him not to. “I just said, ‘I have to take her home,’” he testified.

Mr. Lewis, who did not testify, faces life in prison if he is convicted.

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