‘He pummeled her. He strangled her’: Details of Karina Vetrano’s brutal murder heard in courtroom as suspect’s trial begins

The murder trial for the man accused of killing Karina Vetrano is underway in Queens, New York, more than 2 years after the 30-year-old beauty was killed in broad daylight while jogging near her Howard Beach home.

The New York Daily News reports that Karina’s mother Cathy Vetrano sobbed in the courtroom during prosecutor Brad Leventhal’s opening statements on Monday at the murder trial for 21-year-old Chanel Lewis, as the attorney detailed the attack that killed the young woman on August 6, 2016.

Vetrano’s family reported her missing when she did not return home from an early evening jog in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach. Her father, who usually ran with her but did not that day due to an injury, was among those who found her body during a massive search.

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Authorities determined that Vetrano had been strangled and sexually assaulted, and arrested Chanel Lewis in February 2017 after seeing on surveillance video that he had been near the park around the time of Vetrano’s murder. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lewis confessed to killing the young woman in a random attack of rage, reportedly saying he “lost it,” but denied sexually assaulting her.

“She was attacked brutally,” Leventhal reportedly told the jurors.“Her attacker struggled with her. He pummeled her. He strangled her. He put his legs on her chest. Then she fought for her life. She struggled to get away. But he overpowered her.”

“And he strangled her until she could not struggle anymore. He strangled her until she was dead.”

Lewis’s defense team has argued that his confession was coerced, and the suspect has entered a not guilty plea. The defense lawyers are expected to argue that Lewis’s videotaped confession be ruled inadmissable at trial, the Daily News reports.

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