Phillip Vetrano, father of Karina Vetrano, sits outside a courtroom in New York, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Chanel Lewis is being retried for the 2016 death of Karina Vetrano. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Phillip Vetrano, father of Karina Vetrano, sits outside a courtroom in New York, Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Chanel Lewis is being retried for the 2016 death of Karina Vetrano. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Dad’s horror at photo of slain jogger

BEFORE her murder, her smile was "perfect", the father of tragic jogger Karina Vetrano told jurors in poignant testimony at her accused killer's retrial on Wednesday.

"She took extremely, extremely great pride in her teeth," Philip Vetrano testified sadly when prosecutors asked him to compare photos of Karina from before and after the August 2, 2016 murder.

A devastated dad has had to describe the moment he saw a photo of his daughter, Karina Vetrano, after she was killed while out jogging.
A devastated dad has had to describe the moment he saw a photo of his daughter, Karina Vetrano, after she was killed while out jogging.

Accused murderer Chanel Lewis broke the athletic woman's teeth while fatally beating her as he dragged her off the jogging path and into the high grass of Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach, Queens, prosecutors told jurors, the New York Post reported.

"They are beautiful teeth," Mr Vetrano, a retired FDNY firefighter, said when shown a smiling selfie that Karina, 30, took in January or February of that year.

Then, prosecutors showed the father an autopsy photo - a close-up of his daughter's face.

"It looks like Karina's teeth were cracked, and that's not how she left the house," Mr Vetrano said, maintaining his composure. "It looks like Karina's mouth, all beaten to hell."

The victim's damaged teeth are key evidence against Lewis.

Phillip Vetrano, the father of Karina Vetrano, sits outside a courtroom in New York on Wednesday. He described his daughter’s smile, which was badly damaged during the attack, as ‘perfect’.
Phillip Vetrano, the father of Karina Vetrano, sits outside a courtroom in New York on Wednesday. He described his daughter’s smile, which was badly damaged during the attack, as ‘perfect’.

The 22-year-old East New York, Brooklyn man had confessed to punching Karina in the face until she lost consciousness and admitted he'd hurt his hand on her teeth - only to later retract his confession.

On the day after the murder, he was treated at a hospital for what a doctor described in notes as "a classic boxer's injury" on his hand, prosecutors told jurors.

The defence is challenging the DNA evidence against Lewis on scientific grounds and his confession as "coerced." But the damage to Lewis's hand directly links him to the damage to Karina's face and teeth, prosecutors allege.

"They weren't cracked," the father told jurors of the last time he saw his daughter smile. "She had perfect teeth, and these are not."

The father testified on the third day of Lewis' retrial; the first trial ended with a hung jury in November.

This article originally appeared on The NY Post and was reproduced with permission

Chanel Lewis in court during his first trial in November 2018. After that trial ended with a hung jury, it is now before court again.
Chanel Lewis in court during his first trial in November 2018. After that trial ended with a hung jury, it is now before court again.
Karina Vetrano put up a furious fight during the alleged attack by Chanel Lewis.
Karina Vetrano put up a furious fight during the alleged attack by Chanel Lewis.

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