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Queens Chronicle

Juror in Lewis case can’t sway judge

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Posted: Monday, April 22, 2019 3:11 pm

The judge in the Howard Beach murder trial dismissed a last-ditch attempt by the defense to get a new trial on Monday and ordered the convicted killer, Chanel Lewis, to be sentenced Tuesday.

Lewis, 22, faces a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder of young Howard Beach speech pathologist Karina Vetrano who was strangled to death in August 2016 while out jogging near her home.

After a controversial mistrial last fall, Lewis was convicted earlier this month after just five hours of jury deliberation.

State Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise held an extraordinary hearing Monday morning after one of the jurors alleged misconduct during the brief deliberations.

Lewis’ lawyers claim the charges that several jurors had announced early in the trial that they had already made up their minds was grounds for tossing out the guilty verdict.

The juror, who was not identified, described him or herself as “the last holdout” on the jury in an interview with The New York Times. 

“I was getting flustered, having migraines, and they were serving food from a pizza joint — not the healthiest,” the juror told the newspaper. “I felt I needed to get out of there.”

Prosecutor Brad Leventhal presented the judge with affidavits from three other jurors disputing the claims by the holdout juror, called Juror A in court papers.

Leventhal said last week that he agreed to Monday’s hearing “in the interest of justice” so that the public could be assured the verdict was “valid.” 

Lewis’ mother appeared visibly shaken by the decision to move on to sentencing Tuesday.

“Shame on the judge,” Veta Lewis was quoted by CBS News as telling reporters. “But you know what? I will get my reward from the righteous judge up here, God almighty. No sin goes unpunished.”

CORRECTION

This article originally misstated the year in which Karina Vetrano was murdered. It was 2016. We regret the error.

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