Chanel Lewis Faces Sentencing In 2016 Murder Of Queens Jogger Karina Vetrano – CBS New York
Earlier this month, Lewis, 22, was found guilty of strangling and sexually abusing the 30-year-old while she was out for a jog in Spring Creek Park near her family’s Howard Beach home in 2016. His first trial ended in a hung jury.
On Monday, the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the guilty verdicts against Lewis, claiming juror misconduct.
Juror Christopher Gooley was called to testify for the defense during Monday’s hearing. He said the jury foreman, Brian Morrissey, made a decision on the verdict on the day Vetrano’s parents testified. The foreman allegedly said, “I made my mind up already. I hope you did too.” The comment violates court instructions to not speak about the case before deliberations.
Behind the Lens: CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez On Covering The Case
Gooley’s attorney spoke on his behalf after the hearing.
“He was trying to do the right thing,” said Vinoo Varghese.
Gooley agreed Lewis was guilty of murder, but said he was on the fence about the sex abuse charges. He accused two jurors of using their personal experiences to evaluate the evidence regarding that charge.
“I felt I couldn’t get my opinions out,” he said.
“I think there would have been a different verdict had he not been – the kind of pressure put on him, had there not been jurors who brought in outside experience from another rape trial,” said Varghese.
Web Extra: Chanel Lewis’s Family Reacts To Ruling
In court, however, Gooley testified no juror pressured him to vote to convict Lewis.
Lewis’s mother said she wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“This hearing doesn’t even matter, because the judge already made up his mind. And this was what the judge was going to do,” she said.
While leaving the courtroom, the family vowed to continue their mission to reverse her son’s conviction.
“I feel the Vetranos’ pain, because they lost a daughter. But I too lost a son, and my son is not the killer,” Veta Lewis said.
The Vetrano family did not speak to reporters after the hearing.
Lewis is set to be sentenced around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. He faces up to life in prison.