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Karina Vetrano murder suspect's phone reveals evidence of motive, prosecutors say

Chanel Lewis's phone shows possible evidence of web searches about forceable rape, assistant Queens DA says.

Chanel Lewis of Brooklyn is led out of

Chanel Lewis of Brooklyn is led out of the 107th Precinct in Flushing on Feb. 5, 2017. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The accused killer of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano had pornography on his cellphone that was seized by police as possible evidence of web searches about forceable rape, prosecutors disclosed in court Thursday.

Assistant Queens District Attorney Brad Leventhal made the revelation to Queens State Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise in a pretrial hearing for Chanel Lewis, the Brooklyn man accused of murdering and sexually abusing Vetrano in August 2016.

Leventhal contends the phone evidence is an indication of a sexual motive for the crime.

Aloise will have to rule on whether the evidence can be used at the trial, which the judge set for Oct. 29.

Vetrano, 30, was murdered when she went for a run near her Howard Beach home on Aug. 2, 2016. She was found strangled and sexually assaulted in a marshy area, police said.

More than six months later, on Feb. 5, 2017, police arrested Lewis, then 20 years old. He was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Vetrano's death.


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