NYC jogger Karina Vetrano murder case declared mistrial by judge
A mistrial was declared Tuesday night in the trial of a man accused of beating and strangling a woman who was jogging in New York City more than two years ago.
Chanel Lewis, 22, pleaded not guilty to murder and sexual abuse charges in the death of Karina Vetrano, 30.
The woman was jogging in Howard Beach, Queens in August 2016 when she was attacked “until she could not struggle anymore.” Prosecutors said her body was left naked in a weed-covered patch of land before her attacker robbed her and fled the scene.
A judge on Tuesday declared a mistrial in Lewis’ case after the jury could not agree on a verdict following a two-week trial, theNew York Postreported.
“After deliberating for the entire day we are split. It doesn’t seem like we can make progress,” the jury wrote in a note to the judge Tuesday. “We feel that we have exhausted all of our options.”
Lewis’ attorney reportedly moved for a mistrial, which the judge granted. Prosecutors said they plan to move to retry Lewis in court. The suspect is due back in court Jan. 22.
Authorities arrested Lewis in February 2017 after his DNA matched samples from the murder scene, officials said. He admitted to the murder in a taped confession, but Lewis’ lawyers said the statement was coerced.
In his closing statement on Monday, Queens Assistant District Attorney Brad Leventhal described to the jury Vetrano’s ordeal.
“[Lewis] went to the park — Spring Creek Park. It was that fateful day that he came across Karina Vetrano jogging,” Leventhal said,according tothe Post. “He was angry, he was mad, and he took out his anger on Karina Vetrano, grabbing her, beating her, throwing her to the ground and strangling her until she was dead — his words.”
Leventhal added there was strong evidence linking Lewis to the case, alleging he is “the man whose hands were wrapped around [Karina Vetrano’s] neck, squeezing her neck, squeezing her throat, choking the life out of her body. He absolutely left something at the crime scene — his genetic fingerprint.”
Lewis, if found guilty, faced up to life in prison.
Fox News’ Katherine Lam contributed to this report.