Investigators found pornography on the cellphone of a New York City jogger’s alleged killer, a prosecutor with the Queens DA’s office said in court today.
The evidence suggests the suspect, Chanel Lewis, searched the web for “forcible rape,” assistant Queens DA Brad Leventhal told the judge in what he called a possible first indicator of a motive.
Lewis is due to go on trial Oct. 29 for the August 2016 murder of Vetrano, who was strangled and sexually assaulted in a wooded area of Howard Beach, where she had gone for a run.
Lewis, now 21, was arrested six months later on what police described as an inspector’s hunch and charged with second-degree murder.
The judge will rule whether the district attorney’s office can use the phone evidence at trial.
Lewis pleaded not guilty to the initial charges as well as the 13-count indictment that was handed up, which included aggravated sex abuse.
“Today, Chanel Lewis officially pleaded not guilty to all charges of the indictment,” the Legal Aid Society said in a statement in April 2017. “Under New York State law, the Queens District Attorney’s Office must now begin to disclose and turn over all evidence related to the prosecution of this case. Our defense team looks forward to closely reviewing all case documents during this process.”
His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.