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A Baffling Case, an Arrest, and Now a Mistrial

Jury deliberated for day and a half in case of slain NYC runner Karina Vetrano
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2018 10:45 AM CST
In this Aug. 6, 2016, file photo, mourners carry the casket of Karina Vetrano from St. Helen Church following her funeral in the Howard Beach section of Queens.   (Steven Sunshine/Newsday via AP, File)

(Newser) – The trial of a man accused of killing a woman who was sexually attacked while running near her family's New York City home ended in a hung jury late Tuesday. Judge Michael Aloise in Queens granted a mistrial after the jury sent him a note saying it was split after just a day and a half of deliberations, reports the AP. "It doesn't seem like we can make progress. We feel that we have exhausted all of our options," the jury wrote. Chanel Lewis, 22, was accused of killing 30-year-old Karina Vetrano as she ran on a park trail in Howard Beach, Queens, in August 2016. Prosecutors said Vetrano had been sexually abused and strangled. Her father discovered the body.

The closely watched case baffled investigators, who for months were unable to find anyone who matched DNA that was found under the victim's fingernails as she fought back. The DNA also was found on her neck and phone. Robert Boyce, the former New York Police Department chief of detectives, said the break came after police went back through 911 calls and found one reporting a suspicious person in the area near the attack. Lewis was tested and linked to DNA found at the scene and on the victim, Boyce said. Defense attorney Robert Moeller said the case was based on circumstantial evidence. He argued that the crime scene was corrupted and that DNA evidence was suspect. Prosecutors said they'll move to retry Lewis, who's expected back in court on Jan. 20. He'll be held in custody. (Read more on the case here.)


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