Larry Celona, Jamie Schram and Bruce Golding, NY Post, February 6, 2017
The man accused of killing Karina Vetrano told cops he strangled the beautiful Queens jogger simply because he was in a bad mood, law-enforcement sources told The Post on Sunday.
“I was angry. I had some issues at home. I just lost it. When I saw her, I just hit her and kept hitting her. I hit her and choked her,’’ said unemployed Chanel Lewis, 20, according to sources.
The suspect, who was charged in the murder Sunday, told detectives that he happened to cross paths with Vetrano on a path inside Spring Creek Park while walking from his Brooklyn home to get something to eat in Howard Beach, Queens, on Aug. 2, sources said.
Lewis made “very detailed, incriminating statements” in which he described “each step of the assault,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters at a press conference.
Boyce added that “Karina helped us identify this person.’’
“She had the DNA under her nails, she had touch DNA on her back, and there was more DNA on the cellphone,” Boyce said, adding that the samples matched Lewis.
Lewis was ordered held without bail Sunday night at his arraignment on a second-degree murder charge in Queens Criminal Court, where he stood impassively with his wrists handcuffed behind his back.
He didn’t enter a plea or say anything, but Vetrano’s mom, Cathie Vetrano, leaped to her feet and cursed Lewis as the hearing was winding down.
“A savage murderer! He f- -king murdered my daughter, my beautiful innocent daughter! Now your nightmare begins!” she screamed.
“He’s a demon! He should be in hell and burn in hell!”
But while Lewis admitted committing the attack in “two video confessions to investigators,” he denied sexually violating the victim, sources said.
“The perp said he had a bad temper. He confessed on video about the assault specifically. He did not want to admit to the rape,” a source claimed.
Neither Mayor de Blasio nor Police Commissioner James O’Neill attended the news conference about the blockbuster arrest, which capped more than six months of investigation.
Onlookers shouted, “You murderer!” and “Shame on you!” when Lewis was led from the 107th Precinct station house — with his wrists and ankles shackled and a bulletproof vest bulging underneath a blue-and-gray striped sweater — to head to his arraignment.
He ignored questions from reporters but stared wide-eyed at news cameras and didn’t try to hide his face.