If you haven’t listened to the podcast Serial, and you’re a fan of murder-mysteries, you’re doing yourself a disfavor. This is by far and away the greatest podcast that I’ve listened to. Serial is about Adnan Syed, a teenager accused of and convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD. Serial tackles the case against Adnan, who declares his innocence, with interviews, forensics, and case analysis.
Quick summary: Syed and Lee were dating in high school until late 1998 when they broke up. On January 13th 1999, Lee went missing and her body was found (by a strange character) a few weeks later on February 9th. After a police investigation, Syed was arrested on March 1st and charged with her murder. The reason they arrested Adnan? His buddy Jay Wilds told the police Adnan confessed to killing her.
- Timeline – The prosecution says that Adnan killed Hae in the Best Buy parking lot by 2:36pm. Class let out at 2:15pm and this was a school of 1500 kids so it takes a little while to actually leave the school. As Serial discusses and tests, in my opinion, there is no way that Hae can grab a snack, leave the school, drive to Best Buy, and be strangled by Adnan in 21 minutes.
- Pay Phone – Shady character Jay said that Adnan called him from a Best Buy pay phone to come get him because he just killed Hae. Numerous people have said that there was no pay phone at Best Buy and the police never went to Best Buy to validate the existence of a pay phone.
- Jay’s stories – Jay had told numerous conflicting stories about the conversations with Adnan, conflicting stories about his whereabouts, and numerous stories about the events leading up to the death of Hae. Jay said that Adnan told him he was going to kill Hae. Adnan was going to purchase a gift for Jay’s girlfriend and I think Jay was jealous. He is not trustable and frankly a number one suspect.
- Alibi – Adnan has no recollection of his whereabouts the day Hae disappeared. This is disturbing. How do you not know where you were the day your friend/ex disappeared? He was apparently at the library according to his friend Asia who wrote to him in prison. This is one of the reasons for his appeal. Adnan was supposed to be at track practice while Jay and he buried the body but the coach cannot remember if he was there. The coach cannot recall if he was there? Huh?
- Discovery – The man who discovered the body in Leakin Park said he stopped to urinate and stumbled upon it. The body was a couple hundred yards from the road. Who stops to take a leak that far from the road? The investigator was inches from the body and still could not see it. How does this guy see it?
- Cell phones – Activity between Jay and Adnan’s cell phones are the main reason for a possible retrial. Some point to Adnan being at Leakin Park when Jay says they are burying the body. But the cell phone company specifically says that incoming calls cannot be verified for an exact location.
- Drugs – Both Jay and Adnan say they were high that day. This makes their stories even more difficult to believe.
- Hae’s car – After Jay confessed to the police that Adnan killed Hae, he led them to her abandoned car. This is something I cannot get over. Jay knew something. Jay was either telling the truth that Adnan killed her or Jay had actually killed her. There is no way he had knowledge of where her car was a month after she disappeared without knowing how she died.
So where do we stand? I have listed a 1-page summary of the case but the case itself is thousands of documents and years of trial and error. Adnan is serving a life sentence and hoping for a re-trial. He actually had his first trial end in a hung jury before his second trial ended in a murder conviction. He is currently waiting for his appeal to be heard on the grounds of inadequate representation. His attorney never called the witness Asia, who confirmed his alibi that he has at the library when the prosecution said the murder took place.
Where do I stand? If I was on the jury, there is no way I could have convicted him. There is plenty of reasonable doubt here. Did he do it? Why would he? I don’t see a strong enough motive and Adnan seems to be a decent human being. But if he didn’t who did? If you force me to decide, I’d say he’s innocent.
Check out www.serialpodcast.com to learn more.