On August 2, 2016, 30-year-old Karina Vetrano was murdered in cold blood. According to reports, she was out for a jog in Queens, New York, when she was attacked in an area of Spring Creek Park. Called “the weeds,” the area is known for its abandoned trails that serves as a host to many homeless camps and illegal activity.
According to The New York Times, Vetrano usually jogged with her father but, because of a recent back injury, he was unable to join her that day. He told the publication she liked all the butterflies that inhabited the park so, despite her father’s plea to avoid the park, the woman went anyway, telling her father:
“Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll be right back.”
Sadly, after several hours and countless phone calls, the police found her body about 40 yards into the trail. She was reportedly lying face down with her fists still clenching the grass — her body was black and blue.
Nearly six months later in February, police arrested 21-year-old Chanel Lewis. DNA Info New York reports that after voluntarily submitting a DNA sample, Lewis was matched with the DNA found under Vetrano’s fingernails. Her parents and tight-knit community were one step closer to reaching justice for their beloved daughter — and, suffice it to say, they wanted justice.Darleneonlinestore/Instagram
Before Lewis’s arrest, Vetrano’s father addressed her daughter’s killer in front of the press, according to The Daily Beast. He said:
“Whoever you are, I’m here to remind you in case you don’t already know, that now it’s the whole entire world against you. The whole entire world knows what a pathetic, puny, weak piece of filth you are. The whole world knows that.
And soon, I know, they’re all gonna know your face as well. Soon we’re gonna have a face to the d**kless piece of garbage that you are. And above and beyond all, you know that my daughter was a force to be reckoned with, and I guarantee you, I guarantee you, you motherf**ker, that you will be reckoning with that force not only for the rest of your pathetic life, but for the rest of eternity as you f**king burn in hell. I guarantee you that.”
According to reports, Lewis confessed to murdering the 30-year-old shortly after his arrest. He told officers he “beat her to let my emotions out” after going into the park for “peace and quiet.” Officials said he explained that someone in his home had been playing loud music and that he never meant to hurt her.
In court on Monday, both Vetrano and Lewis’s family sat in to listen to Lewis’s confession. According to the New York Post, Lewis said he grabbed her as she ran past and hit her five times, breaking her teeth, before she was unconscious. He said he “saw red”:
“She didn’t yell. She was finished.
I finished her off, I strangled her. She fell into the puddle and drowned. I got up and wiped off the blood. And she was calm, she was in the pool [of water]. It was like all the way over [her face].”
The New York Post reported the victim’s family was sobbing and clutching a gold crucifix while Lewis calmly described the murder.4_ever_diana11/Instagram
Shortly after detailing what happened that day, Lewis then asked the court if he could literally pay for what he did:
“I can straighten out my stuff? Well, you’re the DA, right? Where do we go from here? Is there a restitution program or something?”
At the time of his arrest, Lewis’s mother said her son suffers from mental issues, although it’s unclear what mental issues specifically.
But what seemed to outrage the Vetrano equally as much that day was Lewis’s family who left the courtroom. Vetrano’s father, Philip, told the press:
“His family left the room. They couldn’t listen to his confession. We know where the coward got his cowardliness from.”
He continued, saying:
“The truth hurts. It’s pathetic. It’s just so tomorrow they can say their offspring is not guilty.”
The New York Post reported that Lewis’s family did not answer any questions after court. Despite finally hearing exactly what happened to their daughter from her killer himself, it’s clear the Vetrano family will never be able to fully recover from such a devastating loss.