‘I FIN­ISHED HER OFF’

Jury hears grisly con­fes­sion of Ve­trano-slay sus­pect

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY NOAH GOLD­BERG AND LARRY MCSHANE

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).

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