Chanel Lewis, 20, was arraigned at a Queens court on Sunday night and formally charged with murdering Karina Vetrano in Spring Creek Park on August 2.
Cathy Vetrano, Karina’s mother, was joined by her husband Phil as Lewis was charged. Approximately 20 members of Vetrano family were in the courtroom, as were several members of Lewis’ family, including the suspect’s father.
“Now your nightmare begins,” Vetrano screamed as Lewis was charged.
According to police, Lewis was filled with lethal rage when he grabbed Vetrano as she went for a jog in Queens, New York. Lewis raped her and strangled the 30-year-old woman before leaving her body in weeds.
Via NY Daily News:
Detectives had little to work with to find the man who crossed Vetrano’s path. She scratched him and captured some of his DNA, but he had no record so no match could be made. The randomness of the attack added to the difficulty of solving the crime. It took months of searching the area and records, a cop’s suspicions, to finally land Lewis.
“He gave a detailed incriminating account of what happened — but he doesn’t really explain why it happened. It was a very random thing. He just came up on her and acted out. There wasn’t any conversation. It was a chance encounter. There was no reason to believe he was stalking her. He just happened to come up on her,” a law enforcement source told the Daily News about Lewis.
While police were able to recover Lewis’ DNA from Vetrano’s body and cell phone, the samples didn’t match anyone in both the New York or national DNA databases of convicted criminals.