Brooklyn man indicted in Howard Beach jogger murder

A Queens grand jury indicted Chanel Lewis for the murder of Karina Vetrano, who was killed last August.
photos ellis kaplan
By Patrick Donachie

A Brooklyn man accused of killing a jogger in Howard Beach last summer has been charged with murder and sexual abuse, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

A Queens Supreme Court grand jury returned a 13-count indictment against Chanel Lewis, 20, of East New York, Brooklyn Wednesday. Lewis is charged with the murder of Karina Vetrano, 30, who was killed in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach on the afternoon of Aug. 2, 2016.

Vetrano was jogging through the park when she was allegedly attacked by Lewis, who sexually abused and strangled her, the DA’s office said. The investigation spanned about six months and was exhaustive, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Boyce said investigators began zeroing on Lewis about 10 days prior to his arrest and credited NYPD Lt. John Russo, who lives in the Howard Beach area, for remembering a 911 call about a suspicious person in the area from months before the murder occurred. Russo’s information eventually helped lead the NYPD to Lewis.

The indictment came as the New York City Council honored Russo Wednesday, citing his work in helping to bring the investigation to a close.

Lewis will be arraigned at a later date and faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted, according to Brown.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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