The NYC man convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Karina Vetrano was sentenced to life without parole on Tuesday.
Chanel Lewis, 22, was sentenced in a Queens Supreme Court nearly three years after Vetrano’s death, according to the New York Post.
Prior to his sentencing, Lewis repotedly told the court, “The only thing I want to say is, I’m innocent. I’m sorry for the family’s loss, but I didn’t do this.”
Lewis reportedly confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering the Queens woman in 2016, allegedly saying that he was angered by Vetrano’s attempt to fight off his attack. According to court documents, Lewis can be heard on a police recording admitting that he repeatedly punched the jogger and dragged her “by the hands” into the tall grass near a jogging path in Howard Beach.
“I finished her off,” Lewis allegedley told detectives.
Lewis was arrested nearly six months after the attack on Feb. 5, 2017.
Lewis’ defense attorney from the Legal Aid Society claimed that the NYPD obtained their evidence from an illegal stop-and-frisk arrest. The Daily Beast reported that Lewis’ confession to detectives seemed to have been coerced and coached, and that the prosecution used a DNA test that was notoriously unreliable and inconclusive.
During the retrial in March, Lewis was ultimately found guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and aggravated sexual abuse.
“So repulsive are you, that you left her [body] hidden to be further desecrated in the summer heat by bugs and animals … like a snake you slithered away into the night,” Karina’s mother Cathie Verano said in court, according to The Post.
“My hope is that you live a long life within the prison of the law and the prison of your conscious.”