The parents of the Queens jogger who was murdered in August 2016 watched and wept as her accused killer told the courtroom how he brutally beat and strangled their daughter to death.
Chanel Lewis calmly confessed to the unprovoked killing of Karina Vetrano, whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Cathie and Philip Vetrano watched a video of Lewis’ confession and heard the killer talk about how angry he was that day, and how he took his frustrations out on the innocent jogger, according to the New York Post.
“I was mad, I saw red,” Lewis told cops in the video, which was recorded in February and played for the family on Monday, during a pre-trial hearing to determine if it is admissible as evidence.
Lewis, 21, talked about how he grabbed Vetrano, 30, as she was jogging past him in a marsh-swamp area of Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach, Queens. The murder took place on Aug. 2, 2016.
He recalled how she clawed at his face as he beat her five times, knocking her unconscious.
“She didn’t yell,” Lewis said in the video, his face emotionless. “She was finished. I finished her off, I strangled her. She fell into the puddle and drowned. I got up and wiped off the blood. And she was calm, she was in the pool of water.”
After he finished telling cops how he ended her life, he shockingly asked if there was a “restitution program” he could go through to seemingly pay his way out of murder charges.
“I can straighten out my stuff?” he reportedly asked the prosecutor. “Well, you’re the DA, right? Where do we go from here? Is there a restitution program or something?”
In the video, Lewis insisted he did nothing more than kill the woman, whose shorts were found around her ankles. “I didn’t do any of the stuff they said, sexual assault and stuff like that,” he said in the tape, claiming that her shorts fell off as he dragged her.
After the murder, Lewis said he was “shaken up” and started to walk home. He was bleeding where she had scratched his face.
Lewis cryptically told the police in the interview that he killed Vetrano because “a guy moved into my house and neighborhood.”
Lewis was arrested on Feb. 4, and initially refused to speak to police, asking instead to watch TV, a detective said in court on Monday. He confessed to the crime after watching cartoons in a precinct all night, according to the New York Daily News.
“He said he wanted to see cartoons, so we put cartoons on [for] him through the night. He said he couldn’t sleep,” Detective Barry Brown explained.
Philip Vetrano told the Post that he lashed out at Lewis’ family when he saw them at the courthouse on Monday. The family has publicly denied that the young man could have committed such a heinous crime.
“His family left the courtroom,” said the distraught father. “They couldn’t listen to his confession. We know where the coward got his cowardliness from. The truth hurts. It’s pathetic. It’s just so tomorrow they can say their offspring is not guilty.”