Chanel Lewis, the Brooklyn man who was convicted Monday of murder and sexual assault in the strangling death of a jogger, is apparently basking in the notoriety his crime has brought him, according to the New York Daily News.
“I’m on the front page — of both papers," he told the publication a day after his murder conviction, referring to the Daily News and the New York Post.
Lewis was found guilty of killing 30-year-old speech pathologist Karina Vetrano as she was running through a park in Howard Beach, Queens in 2017. The crime, which attracted national interest, went unsolved for six months, until DNA evidence linked Lewis to the murder.
It was the second trial for Lewis. The first ended in a mistrial in November.
When asked for his reaction to the verdict or Vetrano, Lewis simply said “nothing.” He also reportedly had nothing to say to the victim’s family, either.
Instead, he said he was "focused on my family. They’re trying to hang in there.”
Lewis avoided talking case specifics and was “evasive” when it came to the court’s ruling, aside from mentioning his lawyers plan to appeal, according to the paper.
Lewis was represented by attorneys from the Legal Aid Society, who called the court’s decision “a complete miscarriage of justice.” His lawyers believe DNA evidence in the case against their client wasn’t collected correctly and pointed to an anonymous letter sent to police, which alleged “alternate suspects.”
Lewis, 22, grew up in a East New York housing project and graduated from Martin de Porres School for developmentally delayed children, according to the Daily News.
According to his own self-taped confession, Lewis snapped on Aug. 2, 2017. He was furious with a neighbor for playing their music too loudly and headed to Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach where he “lost it.” He channeled his rage into strangling Vetrano to death instead.
“She didn’t do anything,” Lewis said. “I was just mad at that time. I beat her to let my emotions out. I didn’t really mean to hurt her. It just happened.”
Lewis’ lawyers maintain this confession was coerced.
Since his arrest, Lewis has maintained an awkward relationship with New York’s tabloids. For months, the Daily News reported, he’d been writing them about the lackluster conditions in prison. He claimed threats had been made on his life, that he'd been verbally abused by corrections officers, and even complained of fellow prisoners openly masturbating.
Lewis could face life imprisonment. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on April 17, according to USA Today.
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