‘I FINISHED HER OFF’
Jury hears grisly confession of Vetrano-slay suspect
A Queens jury heard murder suspect Chanel Lewis recount in his own words the brutal 2016 killing of a Howard Beach jogger.
“I got angry,” Lewis acknowledged in his detailed Feb. 5, 2017, confession. “I saw red. I never meant to do anything.”
When NYPD Detective Barry Brown asked if he grabbed local resident Karina Vetrano in Spring Creek Park, Lewis replied, “Yeah, I just lost it.”
The accused murderer said the 30-year-old victim did not provoke him, and she never screamed during the random attack. “No,” he said. “Her teeth broke.” Lewis admitted hitting Vetrano “five or so” times.
He confessed to investigators, “I finished her off,” after he dragged her into tall grass.
The suspect’s sometimes mumbled replies to questions from Brown inside the 107th Precinct stationhouse came six months after the brutal Aug. 2, 2016 sexual assualt and murder of Vetrano. The suspect was arrested the night after cops made a match between his DNA and the victim.
Prosecutors later introduced medical records from Aug. 3, 2016, when Lewis appeared at SUNY Downstate Medical Center with an injured hand. Lewis claimed he was hurt after taking a spill while jogging, through the records indicate the injury was consistent with landing a punch.
The dead woman’s parents sat in the audience as they have throughout the trial, with dad Phil wrapping his arm around wife Cathie as the confession played. The mother hung her head as she listed to the voice of her daughter’s accused killer.
Lewis, 22, voluntarily went with Brown to the 107th Precinct stationhouse. They arrived at around 6:30 p.m., but Lewis didn’t confess until 6 a.m. the next day.
“She was coming down and I was just there,” Lewis said of his deadly ncounter with Vetrano. “I got scared and threw her in the bushes. I never meant to hurt her or anything but I got so angry. One thing led to another.”
He insisted he knew nothing about the sexual assault.
“I didn’t do any of the other stuff they said … sexual assault and other stuff like that,” the suspect said.
Defense attorney Robert Moeller asked Brown if Lewis was kept from making a phone call until after the confession. “That’s correct,” said Brown.
Chanel Lewis (left) listens in Queens court as jury hears his confession to police in brutal killing of Karina Vetrano (inset).