Attorneys for a New York man accused of murdering a female jogger in Queens say they received an anonymous letter that claimed police withheld key evidence in the trial, including that 'jacked up white guys' were among the potential suspects.
Chanel Lewis, 22, is currently on trial accused of raping and strangling 30-year-old Karina Vetrano as she ran on a park trail in Howard Beach, Queens, back in August 2016.
Defense attorneys say they received the anonymous letter claiming to be from a law enforcement source late Thursday after the jury went off for deliberations.
The letter alerted them to so-called exculpatory evidence about other potential suspects that they say was withheld from them.
It included a claim that NYPD officers had repeatedly said in the first two weeks of the investigation that they were 'looking for two jacked up white guys who are from Howard Beach'.
Karina Vetrano, 30, was murdered as she ran on a park trail in Howard Beach, Queens, back in August 2016. Police said she had been raped and strangled
An NYPD spokesperson, detective Sophia Mason, said the '11th-hour letter' was filled with 'falsehoods and inaccuracies'.
Lewis' defense attorneys plan to file a motion on Monday to be allowed to investigate the claims made in the letter.
His attorneys further claim that police used a 'race-biased dragnet' to collect DNA samples from 360 black men in Howard Beach before targeting Lewis and that detectives coerced his confession.
'We received troubling and reliable information indicating that the police withheld critical... information about other potential suspects, which was never turned over to the defense,' Tina Luongo, a Legal Aid attorney representing Lewis, said.
'Moreover, we learned that the police approached our Mr Lewis to obtain a DNA swab as part of a race-biased dragnet, which involved the swabbing of over 360 African-American men in Howard Beach and other neighboring sections of Brooklyn and Queens.
'In light of this case-altering information, we plan to submit motions on