22-year-old Chanel Lewis was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for sexually abusing and murder by strangulation of Karina Vetrano.
Vetrano was jogging through Spring Creek Park in Queens when she was attacked in August of 2016, which mother Cathie Vetrano referred to Lewis’ act as he “carried out the work of Satan.”
The sentencing of Lewis concluded an emotional court session, which allowed for the parents of the victim to speak out passionately regarding the act and the effect that it placed on their family.
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“The angels wept and the devils danced in delight as you began to torture and impose the most brutal death on my daughter,” Vetrano spoke to Lewis.
According to the New York Daily News, father, Philip Vetrano, also spoke to the effect the murder had on his family, while also pointing toward defense team’s work making the trial “a circus.”
“Only my faith in God and my belief in heaven keep me from killing myself, for fear of not being allowed to go into heaven to see Karina,” he said.
“The defense chose to put us through this torture,” Vetrano added. “They could have made it easier on us and him if they would have taken a plea. It’s still bewildering to me … but today everybody got justice. Karina got justice, and the murderer got his justice.”
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During the trial, Lewis maintained his innocence and offered condolence to the family, however, Queens Criminal Court Judge Michael Aloise believes he will admit to the murder.
Lewis’ mother Veta also believes in her son’s innocence and stated that he was not granted justice. Also present at the courthouse were supporters for Lewi who chanted “Justice for Chanel!”
“I believe with all my heart God at this very moment is embracing Karina … and that same God is ready and anxious to forgive you,” said Aloise to Lewis during sentencing.
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Veta Lewis believes her son is being framed by prosecutor Brad Leventhal but did not present any information to support her claim.
“As a mother sitting down there, it is unbearable,” said Veta Lewis. “Chanel did not kill this lady. The judge tried to sentence him without compassion … What he did today is not justice for Chanel.”
When Vetrano’s body was found, officers state it was both assaulted and “savagely beaten” and the DNA of Lewis was found on her body.
After his first trial resulted in a hung jury, Lewis was convicted on April 1, with only five hours needed by the jury to return with a verdict.
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Murderer of Queens jogger was sentenced to life without parole