Sentencing Postponed For Man Convicted In Murder Of Queens Jogger Karina Vetrano

April 17, 2019 - 12:02 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Sentencing for the man convicted in the murder of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano has been postponed. 

A judge agreed to delay the sentencing for Chanel Lewis until next week after his lawyers requested a hearing on allegations of jury misconduct.

"What happened today was a delay of justice in not letting him go," one of his lawyers said. "There will be a hearing on Monday to determine whether the conviction should be thrown out because of the behavior of the jury. We say he should be liberated on Monday."

Lewis' mother and supporters gathered outside the courthouse following the judge's decision, chanting "Justice for Chanel."

"All I want for my son, what I want for my son is justice for Chanell," his mother, Veta Lewis, said. "My son Chanel Lewis is innocent."

If a motion is denied, Lewis will be sentenced next Tuesday.

Jury deliberations earlier this month lasted only a few hours before the 22-year-old Lewis was found guilty of strangling and sexually abusing the 30-year-old speech pathologist as she ran on a trail at Spring Creek Park near her family's Howard Beach home in August 2016. Her father found her body. 

Lewis had no reaction as the verdict was read. The murder conviction, which came months after another jury was unable to reach a verdict, triggered cheers in the courtroom from the victim's family. Her father declared that justice had been served as legal aid lawyers for Lewis promised an appeal.

Authorities said Lewis confessed to the crime and his DNA turned up on Vetrano's neck, cell phone and under her fingernails. His cell phone placed him in the area and police said he had downloaded images of the crime scene.

In the eleventh hour, an anonymous letter from someone claiming to be a police officer alleged police suspected two white men in the murder but only took DNA samples from over 360 black men in the area. Prosecutors said the letter contained no verifiable information. The NYPD said the letter was "riddled with falsehoods and inaccuracies."

The judge denied a request from the defense asking for a hearing on the letter and also denied the defense’s motion for a mistrial.

Lewis' lawyers claim the confession was coerced and the DNA evidence tainted.

Lewis faces life without parole.