The mother of murdered jogger Karina Vetrano gave emotional testimony on Tuesday during the first day of her daughter's suspected killer’s retrial.
Chanel Lewis, 22, is accused of killing Vetrano while she jogged on a trail in Howard Beach, Queens, in August 2016. Prosecutors said Vetrano had been sexually abused and strangled, and her father discovered the body.
Last year, a mistrial was declared for Lewis. The jury was split over his guilt or innocence, as Lewis had made a taped confession, but attorneys said the confession was wrongly obtained and should not have been admissible in the trial.
“I was screaming in the street and an ambulance tried to put me in because I just had surgery. I saw my husband coming down the block and we just grabbed each other crying,” Cathie Vetrano testified on Tuesday, according to NBC New York.
Tuesday marks the first time that the mother testified in the case.
Vetrano's father, Phil Vetrano, also gave emotional testimony last year during the first trial, describing the gut-wrenching moment when he found his daughter's body.
"She was on her stomach, her right arm under her," he testified. "Her left arm next to her. Her legs were in a running position. Her head tilted back to the side."
He recalled how he completely broke down.
"I let out a sound like I've never heard before," he said. "A wail. I screamed, 'My baby, my baby.' I grabbed her and pulled her up to me."
He gave similar testimony on Tuesday.
During the retrial’s opening statements on Monday, prosecutor Brad Leventhal blamed Lewis for choking the victim “until she couldn't struggle anymore."
"He squeezed and he squeezed and he squeezed," Leventhal said. "He choked her until she couldn't resist anymore. He choked her until she couldn't struggle anymore. He choked her until she couldn't breathe anymore. He choked her until she died, alone, scared."
Lewis faces three counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree sex abuse.
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