NEW YORK -- Karina Vetrano's mother had tears in her eyes as she took the stand in court Tuesday to testify against 22-year-old Chanel Lewis, who's accused of sexually assaulting and strangling her daughter in August 2016.
“She appeared to be beautiful as always,” Catherine Vetrano told jurors about the last time she saw her daughter, which was after she came home from work as a speech pathologist, and before she went for a jog.
Vetrano, who was emotional during the entire testimony, did not testify in the initial trial against Lewis.
“We grabbed each other and we were crying,” she said about the moment she saw her husband after Karina’s body was found.
Phil Vetrano, Karina’s father also testified about the moment he found his daughters body along a trail near their Howard Beach home.
He told jurors that he screamed, “my baby, my baby, my baby,” when he dropped down to his knees and tried to hold his daughter's stiff and cold lifeless body.
Police say Lewis murdered Vetrano and DNA proves that.
But defense attorneys argue there’s reasonable doubt.
Lewis’ first trial ended in November with a hung jury. Now, Lewis’ fate is at the hands of 15 new jurors, eight men and seven women, from different backgrounds.
Lewis’ parents were also in the courtroom. They maintain their son is innocent.
Trial resumes Wednesday morning at 10 a.m, with Phil Vetrano back on the stand.
If convicted, Lewis could spend the rest of his life behind bars.