Although suspect Chanel Lewis admitted to killing Karina Vetrano because he was :”just mad at the time,” his defense team is now arguing it was coerced
Within minutes of his arrest, 21-year-old Chanel Lewis, the suspect in the strangling of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano asked a detective to pass along an incriminating message to his mom, the investigator said Tuesday.
“When I put him in the cell, he said, ‘Tell my mother I’m sorry,’” Detective Christian Quezada testified at a pre-trial hearing in Queens Supreme Court.
Vetrano was strangled during her run on a remote path near her Howard Beach home
Karina Vetrano, a fitness fanatic was said to be a keen poetry fan and writer
Chanel Lewis is accused of pouncing on the 30-year-old Vetrano as she was running along a remote path near her Howard Beach home on Aug. 2, 2016.
Prosecutors say the suspect confessed to punching Vetrano several times in the face before wrapping his arms around her throat and squeezing the life out of her.
Revealed! Accused killer Chanel Lewis says he ‘just lost it’ when he ran into jogger Karina Vetrano in confession to police
Police arrest 20-year-old Chanel lewis in slaying of jogger Karina Vetrano after cops link him to DNA found on victim’s body and phone
“I was just mad at the time,” Lewis said in his confession, which was played in court on Monday.
“I beat her to let my emotions out. I never really meant to hurt her, it just happened.”
Police investigate the crime scene where Karina Vetrano’s body was found in the marshes in Howard Beach, Queens, NY
CCTV footage captured the last image of Karina Vetrano jogging before her disappearance
Quezada testified that Lewis made a series of odd requests during the drive to Queens Central Booking.
“He asked me if the victim’s family was watching on the news,” Quezada testified. “He asked me to see a picture of them. I said no. I didn’t say anything to him.”
Lewis has since denied the killing and his legal team has claimed that the confession was coerced.
Karina’s parents Phillip [left] and Cathie Vetrano [center]successfully urged NY state lawmakers to allow the use of familial DNA testing, to aid identifying suspects in their daughter’s murder
After initially signaling that they would pursue an insanity defense, the suspect’s lawyers changed course after doctors told them he was not legally insane.
Lewis’ lawyers are instead focusing on the circumstances of his confession and the validity of the DNA evidence.
In a statement released Tuesday, the suspect’s Legal Aid Society attorneys said they plan to challenge whether his statements to the police were “legally and voluntarily obtained.”“The evidence presented during suppression hearings shows that this is not a clear-cut case, and there are many unanswered questions,” the statement said.
“The Legal Aid Society defense team will work to expose the police and prosecution interrogation techniques used during the many hours that Mr. Lewis was detained in the precinct.”