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Mother says son arrested in runner’s death is not a criminal

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this Aug. 6 photo, mourners carry the casket of Karina Vetrano from St. Helen’s Church following her funeral in the Howard Beach section of the Queens borough of New York.

NEW YORK >> 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 today 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.

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