NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The man accused of killing Queens jogger Karina Vetrano in 2016 was back in court Tuesday.
Prosecutors are retrying 22-year-old Chanel Lewis, after his first trial ended in a mistrial last November. A judge declared the mistrial when the jury could not come to an agreement after deliberating for a day and a half.
Lewis, 22, is accused of strangling and sexually abusing the 30-year-old while she was jogging through Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach. Her father later found her body in a marsh near their home.
“This girl jogging and one thing led to another, because of some other situation, hitting her and stuff like that,” he told police, adding he hit her “five” times and she didn’t scream “because her tooth broke.”
“After that, she was just lying there, and then I got her by her ankles and then picked her up, threw her on my back and threw her in the bushes,” he continued.
Vetrano’s family did not speak after the ruling. Lewis’s legal team, however, did.
“The jury is understanding that DNA is not all it, confessions are not all it. There are issues in the case that as you all see is much more complex,” said Jenny Chung.
“As we have said since day one, this case is far from conclusive and the jury’s deadlock proves this. The death of Karina Vetrano is tragic and our hearts go out to her family, but the rush to criminalize our client is not the answer nor is it justice. We will continue to fight on behalf of Chanel Lewis at the retrial in January,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement.
Jury selection for the new trial will begin March 12th.