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Queens Chronicle

Chanel Lewis arraigned on Vetrano murder, rape charges

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Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 12:34 pm

Chanel Lewis, the man accused of sexually assailing and killing Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano, was arraigned on a 13-count indictment Tuesday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. 

Lewis, of Brooklyn, faces four counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual abuse and two count of first-degree sexual abuse. If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Legal Aid Society, which is representing the East New York man in court, said in a prepared statement that he pleaded not guilty and "Under New York State law, the Queens District Attorney's Office must now begin to disclose and turn over all evidence related to the prosecution of this case. Our defense team looks forward to closely reviewing all case documents during this process.”

Lewis allegedly came across Vetrano by chance during her evening run Aug. 2 when, the authorities say, he sexually assaulted and fatally strangled her in Spring Creek Park. Vetrano, 30, was found dead by her father, Phil Vetrano, hours later.

Police and the FBI spent months searching for clues. A crack in the case came when Lt. John Russo discovered cops had issued summonses to Lewis for illicit behavior in the park weeks before the murder.

Detectives questioned Lewis Feb. 2 and took a DNA sample from him, which they say matched strands found on Karina Vetrano's corpse. Additionally, the NYPD claims, he made incriminating remarks about the alleged encounter with Vetrano.

Lewis was arrested Feb. 4 after a test determined his sample matched the one at the crime scene. He has been held without bail since.

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