NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was an emotional day in court Wednesday as Karina Vetrano’s father took the stand in the trial of her alleged killer.
Karina, 30, was strangled and sexually assaulted in August 2016 while running alone near her family’s home in Howard Beach, Queens.
Vetrano’s father, Philip, found her lifeless body later that night.
Phil Vetrano was on the stand for more than an hour. He described the day of his daughter’s killing, including how he discovered her body.
While on the stand, Phil Vetrano was often in tears, so emotional he often struggled to speak. He was shown crime scene photos of his daughter, which he hadn’t seen before.
During opening statements Monday, prosecutors called it a “run from which she’d never return.”
Prosecutors said Lewis told police he was angry about a neighbor playing loud music so he went to Spring Creek Park to clear his mind. When he ran into Vetrano, he “just lost it.”
Prosecutors said he “strangled her until she couldn’t struggle anymore… until she was dead.”
Lewis was arrested six months after Vetrano’s death. He allegedly confessed to killing her and provided a DNA sample, which came back a match.
The Legal Aid Society says it has “serious doubts” about the police activity that led to his arrest.
Lewis has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.