Jury Gives Justice for Catholic Jogger

Tags: Currents Archbishop Molloy High School, Karina Vetrano, Queens, NY, St John's University, St. Helen's Church

By Tim Harfmann

It was the verdict Karina Vetrano’s family had been waiting for. During an emotional scene inside a Queens courtroom on Monday, April 1st, Chanel Lewis was found guilty on all counts in the killing of Vetrano.

The 30-year-old was brutally murdered in August 2016 while jogging near her Howard Beach home. “This is the end of a long journey for the Vetrano family and for Howard Beach,” said Father Francis Colamaria. He is the pastor of Saint Helen’s Church — the Vetrano family’s parish. Father Colamaria said now starts a healing process; “It caused an emotional state for this family that has really brought them to their knees. Who could imagine their daughter being brutally murder?”

Outside the Vetrano home were angel wings attached to the second floor. A white bow and purple flowers were tied to a nearby telephone pole. The family declined our request for an interview. Augustus Agate, a retired New York State supreme court justice, is a friend of the family. The former judge had left the Vetrano home moments before our interview. “Obviously, there is closure to this. It’s not a full closure. They still don’t have their daughter, but I could see a difference. They seem calmer,” said Agate.

Vetrano was raised Catholic and graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and Saint John’s University. DNA linked the killer to the Howard Beach jogger. As for Lewis, the 22-year-old was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

“The case is over upon sentence, but there’s always the appeals process,” said Agate.

“We say in our faith, ‘the truth makes us free;’ but in his case, it doesn’t,” said Father Colamaria.

Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced on April 17th and could face life without parole.