The family of a man who confessed to murdering a 30-year-old woman in NYC last summer is claiming -despite DNA evidence and a confession- that the only reason the NYPD arrested the man is because he’s black.
“I think the cops framed him because he’s a black person. They couldn’t find anyone else to pin this on, so they pinned it on my brother,” Theresa Forbes, half-sister of 20-year-old murder suspect Chanel Lewis.
Lewis was charged Sunday with murder and sexual assault of 30-year-old speech therapist Karina Vetrano, having victimized her while she was jogging near a marshy area in Howard Beach.Police report she had been strangled and that her jogging pants were pulled partway down.
Her father, a grizzled NYFD retiree on disability, found her body while searching with police. On another day, he reportedly grabbed a club and got into his car when he was informed that they had found the killer.
Despite forensic evidence recovered from Vetrano’s back and fingernails, as well as two videotaped confessions from Lewis himself, Forbes is convinced that her half-brother didn’t do the crime and is an upstanding citizen.
“The DNA lies sometimes,” she said. “They wanted to get confirmation so they framed him for murder. My family, we are God-fearing people. The Bible tells us ‘Do not kill’- we do not kill.”
She added that her half-brother must have been coerced into giving a confession.
“I think they coerced him into a confession. They tricked him,” Forbes told the New York Post. “I’m sorry for [the victim’s family’s] loss, but they have the wrong person in custody.”
One of the other names in the Lewis-Vetrano case that has turned up public attention is that of NYPD Lieutenant John Russo, a “key player” in the identification of Lewis.
A local in the area, Russo took the case personally began checking out the surrounding area while off-duty.
Spotting Lewis prowling around suspiciously, he called for other officers, ensuring that the police interviewed the young man, even getting Lewis to give police a DNA swab.
The 41-year-old Lieutenant was described by sources to be a “respected” NYPD officer.
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