Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Chenel Lewis with Karina Vetrano Murder

By Forum Staff

A Queens grand jury has returned a 13-count indictment charging Chanel Lewis with murder and sexual abuse in the strangulation death of Karina Vetrano as she jogged alone on a park trail near her Howard Beach home last August, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The indictment charges Lewis, 20, a resident of East New York, with four counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Brown noted that Lewis, who was ordered held without bail following his arraignment on murder charges on Sunday, Feb. 5, will be arraigned on the indictment at a later date in the Supreme Court at Kew Gardens.

According to the charges, Vetrano, 30, was jogging alone in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach at approximately 6 p.m. on Aug. 2, when she was attacked by Lewis who sexually abused and strangled her. Vetrano’s body was discovered by her father and the police later that day lying in a marshy area, approximately 15 feet from a trail near 161st Avenue and 78th Street in the park.

“This is truly a very sad case in which a beautiful and talented young woman senselessly lost her life,” Brown said when Lewis was arraigned two months ago. “Thanks, however, to the persistence of the hard-working detectives of the NYPD, assisted by members of my staff, the person allegedly responsible for her brutal murder finally has been brought to justice. I extend my deepest condolences to the Vetrano family, particularly Karina’s parents, Phil and Kathy, and thank them for their vigilance throughout this lengthy investigation and assure them that the law enforcement community will work tirelessly to ensure that justice is done in this case.”

If convicted, Lewis faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


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