New York Post
Karina’s ‘killer’ drops psych claim
The man accused of killing Queens jogger Karina Vetrano no longer intends to pursue a psychiatric defense, his attorney said Thursday.
Lawyer Robert Moeller surprised the court with the announcement that doctors have determined that Chanel Lewis is not legally insane.
“I didn’t expect this,” Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal said, looking astonished.
“I can see that,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak noted, to chuckles from the gallery.
Lewis (inset right), from East New York, allegedly strangled Vetrano (inset left) during her regular run along the Belt Parkway’s bike path in August 2016. While her jogging shorts were pulled down, the 21-year-old has adamantly denied raping her.
Vetrano’s parents, Cathie and Phil, were in court Thursday to hear the news. As she did during Lewis’ previous appearance, Cathie Vetrano clutched a crucifix to her chest and glared daggers at the back of the accused killer’s head during the brief appearance.
The couple left court without comment.
In an apparent confession, Lewis previously told cops he was ran- domly walking along the path when the jogger neared him, and he “lost it.”
“I hit her about five times, and her teeth broke. I got madder and madder and I strangled her,” he allegedly told cops.
Moeller told reporters, “Our doctor doesn’t feel [Lewis] fits the criteria for being legally insane. Not that [Lewis] doesn’t have a mental illness or disability, but it doesn’t rise to the point of mental insanity.”
“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a problem,” the attorney added.
Lewis’ mother, Veta Lewis, has said cops are “framing” her son.
Lewis is due back in court Nov. 20. He faces life behind bars if convicted of first-degree murder.