Jury selection begins in retrial of New York City man accused of killing jogger Karina Vetrano
The family of a New York City woman who was brutally killed during a routine jog near her home are expected to sit through a second murder trial starting next week — four months after the first was declared a mistrial.
Six jurors were chosen for the new trial on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Queen’s district attorney’s office confirmed to ABC News.
Defendant Chanel Lewis, 22, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if a jury finds him guilty of the first-degree murder of Karina Vetrano in August 2017.
Vetrano, 30, went for an evening jog for the first time without her father, Phil Vetrano, in Spring Creek Park, adjacent to their home in the Howard Beach area of Queens. Phil Vetrano, a retired firefighter, sat out from their daily run due to a back injury, according to trial testimony from November.
The St. John’s University graduate’s parents were concerned when she didn’t return home at her usual time and called a neighbor who works for the NYPD for help. A manhunt ensued, and Phil Vetrano found his daughter’s beaten and half-clothed body among weeds near the trail they usually ran together.
Investigators arrested Lewis in February 2018 as a person of interest. After hours of questioning, the 20-year-old allegedly confessed.
Lewis has been incarcerated since his arrest.
During deliberations during Lewis’ first trial in November of 2018, the jury requested to hear the hours of footage police recorded of Lewis’ alleged confession, testimony from a DNA expert, as well as other pieces of evidence, WABC reported at the time.
Queens prosecutors originally indicted Lewis on 13 counts, but dismissed nine of the charges before the first trial began.
Nonetheless, after a week of testimony and 13 hours of deliberations, the jury informed Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise that they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”
Seven of the 12 jurors were leaning towards convicting Lewis, according to The New York Times.
Prosecutors released a statement after the judge’s ruling, promising to try Lewis again.
A spokesperson for the Queens district attorney’s office could not confirm which day opening statements will begin for the new trial next week.