Published February 09, 2017
The mother of a man charged in the strangulation death of a New York City runner says her son was raised to respect life and is not a criminal.
Vita Lewis read a statement Wednesday saying her 20-year-old son, Chanel (shuh-NEHL') Lewis, is "friendly, God-fearing and would not hurt anybody. She also says he has mental health problems and needs help.
Police arrested Lewis on Saturday. They say evidence including genetic material was found under victim Karina Vetrano's fingernails and on her phone and neck.
Police also say Lewis made detailed, incriminating statements to detectives.
The 30-year-old Vetrano was attacked while running near her Queens home on Aug. 2. Her father found her badly beaten body in a secluded marsh.