Four of the 12 jurors who convicted Chanel Lewis of murdering Karina Vetrano committed misconduct, Lewis’s legal team claims.
Earlier this month, Lewis was convicted of the brutal killing in his second trial; the first ended in a mistrial with a hung jury in November.
Vetrano was found dead in August 2016, hours after leaving her Howard Beach home for her regular after-work run. Lewis was arrested in February of last year, and initially confessed to murdering Vetrano, but attorneys from the Legal Aid Society who defended him claimed the confession was coerced.
Defense attorneys also challenged the DNA evidence that linked Lewis to the sexual assault and murder.
Court documents obtained by the New York Post reportedly show that Lewis’s attorneys have accused “at least” four jurors of misconduct, claiming one of them ripped up a note from another juror asking to see additional evidence because they wanted to go home for the day.
Another juror is accused of dismissing a fellow juror’s concerns about the DNA evidence, insisting that she knew more about sexual assault because she was a rape victim herself.
“JUROR D improperly supplemented the evidence presented at trial with her own personal experience in such a way that led others to feel they could not challenge her and had to take her at her word,” the documents say, according to the New York Post.
The lawyers claim that yet another juror who previously sat on a rape trial also interjected comparisons between that case and the case against Lewis. Further, the documents say two jurors discussed the case prior to deliberations, which was prohibited by the judge.
The filings are reportedly asking for the conviction to be overturned, and Lewis’s sentencing was postponed until after a judge could hear the case early next week.
[Feature image: Karina Vetrano; Instagram/Chanel Lewis; Charles Eckert/Newsday via AP, Pool, File]