A man who allegedly killed a Queens jogger explained in graphic detail how he brutally beat and strangled his victim to death, according to video footage broadcast at his pre-trial hearing Monday.
Cathie Vetrano broke down sobbing while she listened to Chanel Lewis calmly tell police how he beat her daughter, Karina, unconscious before strangling her, the New York Post reports.
“I was mad, I saw red,” Lewis told police in the video, which was recorded in February shortly after his arrest.
Prosecutors played the video at the Monday hearing to see if it could count as evidence against Lewis.
At one point, the mother lifted a foot-long golden crucifix to her face as the court broadcast the footage of the suspect’s confession.
Police said Lewis, 21, murdered Karina Vetrano, 30, on August 2, 2016, while she was jogging along a path in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach, Queens.
Lewis told investigators he grabbed Vetrano while she jogged past him in a swampy area along the trail, adding that she scratched his face while he beat her multiple times.
“She didn’t yell. She was finished,” he told investigators.
“I finished her off, I strangled her. She fell into the puddle and drowned,” he added. “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],” he says, describing the puddle by making gestures in front of his face.
After he finished his confession to police, he asked if he could pay his way out of the murder charges through a “restitution program.”
“I can straighten out my stuff?” he asked the prosecutor. “Well you’re the DA right? Where do we go from here? Is there a restitution program or something?”
Despite Lewis’ confession, he did not admit to sexually assaulting Vetrano as police have suggested.
When investigators asked why he attacked Vetrano, Lewis responded that he did it “because a guy moved into my house and the neighborhood.”
A detective told the court Monday that Lewis made his confession shortly after his February 4 arrest. The detective said Lewis originally refused to talk to police and asked to watch cartoons on TV instead, the New York Daily News reports.
Lewis’s family reportedly left the courtroom as the video played.
“His family left the room,” Phillip Vetrano, Karina’s father, said, telling the Post that he lashed out at Lewis’s family out of anger before they left the court.
“They couldn’t listen to his confession. We know where the coward got his cowardliness from,” Phillip said.