Verdict in trial of slain jogger
A man has been found guilty on all counts in the murder of jogger Karina Vetrano, who disappeared while out running in a New York City park.
Chanel Lewis, 22, killed the 30-year-old jogger while she was out running near her home in Queens in 2016.
Her father Philip found his daughter's body dumped on an overgrown path at Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach. She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted before she was left on the weed-covered path with her top and shorts pulled down.
Jurors on Monday night found Lewis guilty on all counts after a short deliberation, CBS reported.
His first trial ended with a hung jury in November, and the retrial has been a rollercoaster of eye-opening revelations and heartbreaking testimony.
A mysterious letter, allegedly written by an New York Police Department detective, was sent to the defence o Friday, claiming prosecutors had withheld vital evidence in the investigation.
The note claimed during police officers had been looking for "two jacked up white guys from Howard Beach", before switching focus after trace DNA on Ms Vetrano's neck and phone was identified as belonging to a black man.
The NYPD said that over the past two years it had "already exhaustively examined the issues in this anonymous, 11th-hour letter, a missive riddled with falsehoods and inaccuracies."
Lewis's lawyers had tried to claim the defendant was the victim of a "race-biased dragnet", in which police took DNA samples from 360 black men before accusing him. But the judge on Monday denied the defence's request for a hearing on the letter.
Ms Vetrano vanished after telling her father she was going for a run in the local park at around 5pm on 2 August 2016. Mr Vetrano had declined to join her because he was having back problems.
When she did not return, the worried father called his police chief neighbour, John Cassidy, and a massive manhunt followed, with 100 detectives assigned to the case.
Detectives collected saliva samples from men who had been arrested in the surrounding areas, including Lewis, of East New York, Brooklyn.
Forensics teams said his DNA matched traces found on Ms Vetrano's neck and phone, as well as a mixture from two of her fingernails.
Prosecutors said the accused had a hand injury the day after the killing, which a doctor said was consistent with punching someone.
Lewis initially confessed to the crime during a police interview, but later said he had been coerced.
The young woman's mother, Cathie, took the stand during the retrial to describe how she last saw her daughter alive when the 30-year-old checked on her after she returned home from a hospital procedure.
She said she broke down in the street when she learned her daughter was dead. "I was screaming in the street and an ambulance tried to put me in because I just had surgery," she said.
"I saw my husband coming down the block and we just grabbed each other crying."