This page will list things which indicate a false confession.

A false confession does not necessarily indicate the person did not commit the crime, but usually it does indicate that.

The Reid Technique page defines what is a real confession and what is a false confession 


1) The overprepped suspect

This refers to evidence within a supposed confession which indicates that police did inappropriate things to direct the person to confess without regard for facts.

Example, Chanel Lewis 

Notice that at least three times during the interview Chanel Lewis tries to bring into the conversation something about him being mad at somebody, and that this anger may be his motive for the murder.

Within the context of that interview this indicates that somebody, probably a police officer, constructed a sort of logic bubble around the case, and made a confession part of a 'transaction' which Chanel Lewis would want to be part of.

The end result of the off camera 'pre interview', not shown to the public but reliably inferred from the interview, was a psychological 'transaction' in which Chanel Lewis agreed to confess to the crime in exchange for various benefits he would get from including a third person indirectly in the crime i.e., the person he was supposedly angry at.

If he assumed that the police could assign responsibility randomly for the murder then one of the 'benefits' would be that instead of having to fight with lots of police over 'who was responsible', he would only be in competition with one person.

The reason this kind of psychological transaction produces such a high quality false confession is that the subject is motivated to confess. He, Chanel Lewis, knows that he only gets the benefit of the transaction if the confession is accepted as fact, so whatever resources he has will go into building a good confession, whether true or false.

In this case it isn't clear if he is guilty or innocent, but there are a lot of warning signs that shouldn't be ignored, including

  1. The father of the victim was a NYFD firefighter, and as such the police were under much more pressure than usual to find the killer. If they could not find the real killer then framing somebody is more acceptable than not arresting anybody.
  2. There are obvious flaws in the facts of the confession which could be due to the police putting too much pressure, if he is guilty, or could be due to his not being guilty. One example is his description of how he moved the body.
  3. Notice that as the interview ends, Chanel Lewis suddenly raises a sort of protest, as if something is missing, yet to be done. This involves the transaction, and the fact that the person who prepped him carefully tied a lot of loose ends together, but that was not done during the on camera interview.
  4. The evidence supposedly indicated she was hit in the head with a rock.
  5. Chanel Lewis's comments during the confession regarding the broken tooth are obviously not from him, and were suggested during the pre interview.
  6. The confession has no value at all, and tends to exonerate him more than it tends to point to guilt, but the DNA evidence is strong, if it is truthful "On Wednesday, she repeatedly objected to Razzano’s testimony, noting that Razzano was not involved in the DNA analysis. The woman who oversaw the analysis and who previously testified during pre-trial hearings is no longer employed by OCME So, in the short span between murderand the hearing, maybe ~1 year, the DNA expert involved either was fired or quit or retired. Aside from that the DNA evidence looks strong.

Notice in the second article at the top " investigators found traces of his DNA on Vetrano’s body".

Under ideal circumstances DNA evidence would be highly reliable, and would provide a mathematical or statistical description of the 'evidence of guilt'.

But the simple truth is that in a case like that, if the police are motivated enough to 'find' DNA evidence then they will.

So details around that DNA evidence have to be examined a little more carefully than, for example, the DNA evidence in a random trivial case in which nobody has any motive to deceive.

Notice too that in the video he says he has an older brother, which could be confabulation.

"Chanel Lewis is a first-generation American and the only son of Richard and Veta Lewis, who came to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1992" 

And from that same article 

""Chanel said Howard Beach is a peaceful place to go to. He went there to go to Subway and KFC. I love the pizza from there, he brings it home to me," Veta Lewis, Chanel’s mother, told "Nightline" in an exclusive interview" 

And 6 years before 1992 

An incident that would have been known to most of the higher level court and police types involved in the case.

In this case, if the DNA was identified on the body, fingernails, etc before Chanel Lewis was identified, and if that DNA was reduced to some sort of timestamped provable record, which is likely, then it would point to him almost certainly being guilty, even though the confession is worthless. 

The evidence seems to point to Chanel Lewis being guilty, but in any civilized place the police involved in the interviews would be charged with a crime for grotesquely distorting facts as a precaution, in case he was not guilty.

In other words, in this case it looks like the police got lucky, and extracted a ridiculously false confession from somebody who probably was guilty of the crime.

One possibility that should not be ignored is that he was framed by out of control cops.

He had been stalked and targeted by a cop in the recent past before the killing.

"That changed in February when NYPD Lt. John Russo, who also lives in Howard Beach, remembered seeing a young black man there over Memorial Day weekend, about two months before the murder. As the man walked around the neighborhood, Russo, with his two daughters in the back of his car, tailed him for an hour before calling 911 and reporting him for suspicious activity."

"Officers then stopped and frisked the man, 20-year-old Chanel Lewis, who told them he was just walking around looking for a place to eat. They gave Lewis a ride out of Howard Beach to a McDonald’s in the Rockaways, a neighborhood farther from his family’s home in East New York than he’d been but one with much more public housing."

"That was Russo’s account in Queens criminal court last week in proceedings to determine what evidence will be admissible during Lewis’ coming murder trial. Police sources had previously given reporters a slightly different story, in which Russo’s tip this year led murder investigators to find a 911 call from the following day in which the caller named the man as Chanel Lewis and said he had a crowbar and looked like he might be about to break into a property with it. Running Lewis’ name, they found he had three summonses from 2013, one for public urination and two involving breaking park rules in Spring Creek Park."


"At 10:54 p.m., Lewis got up again and told the detectives he was hungry. Brown then took Lewis out of the interrogation room, and away from the cameras, into the cell inside the Detective Squad where Lewis says he stayed awake, unable to sleep, for the next seven hours, talking to numerous detectives and asking to watch cartoons on the television there."


"In searching for a suspect in the Vetrano killing after finding no match in the state DNA database, the NYPD took cheek swabs from at least 163 people and compared them to the samples of DNA found at the crime scene. It is unclear how the police determined whose DNA to test. The head of the NYPD’s Forensic Investigation Division told The New York Times that the department used a contentious method called phenotyping to determine that the suspect was “was of African descent” (Lewis’ attorneys say they have not been informed that any phenotyping was done to narrow the pool of suspects)."

"The results of those 163 tests were prepared by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and turned over to Lewis’ defense team; two of the samples were deemed to be matches." 

Final verdict /

60% chance he is guilty

35% chance he was framed by cops who used their connections in the Medical Examiner's office to monkey with DNA

5% chance some other scenario

The big issue in this case has to do with the type of responsibility assigned to various people. A fairly simple minded boy is held to a very high standard for something he possibly did, but some better trained, and highly paid, police officers face no accountability for something they did. The process has nothing at all to do with justice and everything to do with what a predatory group can get away with.



In Progress