NYPD Lieutenant John Russo testified in court Thursday and recalled details of his first meeting with the man accused of brutal raping and strangling Queens jogger Karina Vetrano two years ago.
Russo, 42, shared details in Queens Supreme Court about the meeting on May 30, 2016 in which he spotted Chanel Lewis (22) around Howard Beach.
The high-ranking officer, who was then free, said in the statement: "To see a person dressed with long sleeves and a hood in warm weather it seemed to be a place.
After a few minutes of looking, I believed he was about to commit or had committed a burglary before … so I called 911 and reported a suspicious man. & # 39;
Lewis disappeared from Russo's view before the authorities came to the neighborhood. Russo had watched his unusual behavior for almost an hour, he said.
The next day, Russo Lewis traced the same area and called detectives to interrogate him. Lewis was eventually released.
NYPD Lieutenant John Russo testified Thursday in court where he returned details from his first encounter with a man accused in the brutal rape and murder of Queens jogger Karina Vetrano
Russo leaves the Queen Supreme Court after he has testified in the trial against Lewis
Russo (seen outside the courtroom) shared details at the Queens Supreme Court about the meeting of May 30, 2016 in which he kept Chanel Lewis (22) lurking around Howard Beach.
Karina Vetrano was 30 years old when she went jogging in August 2016 at her home in Queens, where she never returned. Lewis, pictured right, is accused of her murder
His dramatic arrest came eight months later during the investigation into the murder of Karina Vetrano, who was murdered in the same area where Russell had his meeting with Lewis.
Russo commissioned detectives to track him down and eventually found DNA from his house that matched the DNA at the crime scene.
Lewis is accused of sexually assaulting and strangling Vetrano as she ran on a secluded park course in Howard Beach, Queens in August 2016.
The Public Prosecutor told the court Monday in his opening speech that the 30-year-old runner had been addressed and caught when she jogged along Spring Creek Park on August 2, 2016.
Vetrano was slapped in the face, thrown to the ground, violently raped and then strangled in a swamp, about a block away from her house, where her father, Philip Vetrano, later found her body.
Phil Vetrano is seen on the third day of Lewis, who is accused of having killed his daughter
Cathy Vetrano leaves Queens Supreme Court on the third day of the trial against Lewis for the murder of her daughter
Veta Lewis enters the Queens Supreme Court on the third day of the trial against her son
The authorities said earlier that the victim was desperately fighting for her life until the end.
Despite making a filmed confession, claiming to have murdered Vetrano, saying he was angry with his neighbor when he randomly noticed and snapped her, Lewis did not plead guilty to accusations of second-degree murder and aggravated sexual abuse.
In February, a judge decided to have DNA evidence and a videotaped confession used during the trial.
Lewis's lawyers were more concerned about the validity of his DNA sample from a consensual cheek rod, compared to DNA evidence found under the victim's nails and the way his confession was obtained.
This screenshot shows Karina jogging along Spring Creek Park on August 2, 2016, shortly before her rape and strangulation
Authorities said that Karina (left and right) fought a battle before her killer stifled her to death
On day 1 of the Lewis trial, the defendant, dressed in a gray suit, looked at Vetrano's mother and sister, who swayed back and forth on her chair.
Cathie Vetrano cried when the public prosecutor described the moment when her husband, Phil, saw their daughter with their faces in the mud.
He fell to his knees, cried and did what every parent would do. He rocked her and lifted her back to his chest, & quot; Leventhal said, according to the news from the Queens Daily Eagle
Lewis's mother, Veta, was also in court today. She arrived in the company of State Assembly Charles Barron and the Rev. Kevin McCall.