I was angry…”
The suspect involved in the murder and sexual assault of a jogger from Queens says that he killed the woman because of his troubled home life.
Karina Vetrano, 30, went out for her nightly jog Aug. 2 but never returned, according to The New York Post. Authorities found her body in a heavily-weeded area with bruises covering her neck.
A neighbor, identified only as John, said that Vetrano lived with her father, a retired firefighter. The two went on jogs every night until her father suffered a debilitating injury.
The two would often pass the weeded area where Vertano’s body was eventually found.
“He asked her, ‘Don’t go in there,’ ” said John. “They found her phone over here [on the path] … If these weeds weren’t this high, we would have seen her … all girls know not to walk along these weeds.”
Six months later, authorities were able to arrest a suspect after using DNA evidence found under Vetrano’s fingernails. The suspected killer confessed and was arrested Feb. 5.
Chanel Lewis, 20, told detectives that he was walking home when he came across Vetrano.
“I was angry. I had some issues at home. I just lost it. When I saw her, I just hit her and kept hitting her. I hit her and choked her,’” he said, per the Post.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce confirmed during a press conference that Lewis made “very detailed, incriminating statements” confirming his connection to the murder.
Lewis was ordered to be held without bond and will face second-degree murder charges. Near the end of his hearing, Vetrano’s mother, Cathie, leapt from her seat and screamed at the 20-year-old.
“A savage murderer! He f**king murdered my daughter, my beautiful innocent daughter! Now your nightmare begins!” she screamed. “He’s a demon! He should be in hell and burn in hell!”
After the hearing, Lewis’s father Richard told WCBS that he does not believe his son is in any way responsible.
“That’s what [authorities are] saying, but things are far more than that — far more — and that’s not him,” he said. “He has never done anything — nothing in his whole life. He wouldn’t have done it, because we live in an area where these people do a lot of things — a lot of hurt — and try to push it on other people, and he wouldn’t have.”
If convicted, Lewis faces up to 25 years in prison.
Sources: The New York Post (2), WCBS / Photo Credit: Katrina Vetrano/Instagram via The Daily Mail