A few days ago, the transcripts were released from Jenn’s recorded police interview (from 3:45 p.m. on February 27, 199), Jay’s first recorded police interview (from 12:30 a.m. on February 28, 1999), and Jay’s second recorded police interview (from March 15, 1999). I’ve been trying to update my earlier post on how the witness statements compare to the cell phone records, based on the new information.
But it’s slow work. Because good god, Jenn and Jay’s statements are a complete train wreck. Trying to create a timeline out of their statements made me truly understand what Sarah Koenig and Dana Chivvis were talking about, in Episode 5, while trying to track Jay’s movements on the day of Hae’s murder:
Koenig: I’m trying to think of an analogy of what the uselessness of what we’re trying to do by recreating something that doesn’t fit, it’s like a– like trying to plot the coordinates of someone’s dream or something . . .
Chivvis: I think they call that a fool’s errand.
Because here are a couple of quick examples of what we’re dealing with from these transcripts:
Jay: [Adnan] wanted me to revisit the body.
Detective: And when did that conversation take place?
Jay: Um prior to Hae Lee’s death. (Int.1 at 27.)
Detective: What happened after the conversation with the officer?
Jay: Um ah he ah he got kind of frantic and we had to go back and get the car, we went back and got the car and ah then we went back to my house. I gave him a shovel, gave him a pick. He ah.
Detective: When you go back to your house , who drives, drives Hae Lee’s car?
Jay: We didn’t have Hae’s car then.
Seriously now. What am I supposed to do with that? Adnan and Jay discuss revisiting Hae’s body, and this conversation occurs prior to Hae’s death? Jay and Adnan “went back and got the car” and went to Jay’s house, but then they didn’t have Hae’s car when they were at Jay’s house?
There are dozens of these chronological paradoxes in Jay’s police statements. (And just to make things even more fun, Jenn’s statements during her interview are equally incomprehensible.) As a result, I’m not even sure a meaningful comparison of the various police statements can be done at all — it’s completely impossible to set down a definitive narrative of “this is Jay’s story in the first interview” or “this is Jay’s story in the second interview,” and then look at the differences between them. Because the stories Jay tells in his police interviews have more continuity errors than a bad 90’s sitcom.
And all of these bizarre claims aren’t just misstatements or slips of the tongue that we’re talking about here. Or, if they are, then that alone is grounds for tossing out the entirety of what he told the police — because if that’s the case, Jay is so hopelessly confused that we cannot assume he actually meant any of what he said. If every chronology he gives might have been nothing more than another misstatement, how can we know that anything Jay says is “the truth”?
But of all the things that didn’t happen the way Jay says they happened, there is one thing that didn’t happen the most: his stories about how Hae was buried in Leakin Park. To get an idea of how irreconcilable Jay’s statements are, that is a good place to start.
Jay’s First Recorded Statement
In Jay’s first recorded statement, Jay tells the detectives how he and Adnan leave the McDonald’s after shortly after Adnan gets a call from a detective who is looking for Hae. Jay then says that the following happens:
Jay: [Adnan] said take him back to the Park and Ride, I took him back to the Park and Ride um he told me follow him, drove me all around inaudible. Got back to Leakin Park he said um . . . I pulled up next to him he’s like “we’ll park up around the corner. I’ll be there in a second.” Um I went up a round the corner, after a while it was like ten minutes, fifteen minutes.
Detective: You go up around the corner, you still within a view of ah Hae Lee’ s car?
Detective: Was it way out of sight?
Detective: How did he knew that you just didn’t leave him there?
Jay: He didn’t .
Detective: So you’re up around the corner, so then what happened?
Jay: We dropped her car back around the corner and um I was turned around so he thought I left him. He’s walking around the streets and I picked him up and ah.
Detective: What does he say to you?
Jay: He says “she was heavy” and um he starts to throw up and than he ah was like “you got to take me back there. I got to bury her.” And then ah we argue um for about five minutes so we go back, we park the car and pull off up the side of the road. [ . . . ] I went back there and ah she’s kind of like laying against a log and he asked me to help him dig. We argued some more than ah I started digging a hole and.
Detective: Who started digging a hole?
Jay: Adnan started digging and um threw up once more and he ah finished the hole and put Hae in there, face first.
[. . .]
Detective: Where is Hae Lee’s body when he’s digging the hole?
Jay: Right next to where he’s digging.
Detective: After he completes digging the hole, than what happened?
Jay: He throws her in there.
[. . .]
Detective: How long does it take Adnan to dig the grave?
Jay: Like a half an hour.
Detective: And during the digging process do you assist him at all?
Jay: No, not at all. I sat there and smoked a cigarette on a log. It’s kind of like I don’t believe what happened. . . . he throws up first then he covers her up. . . . Then we left um. [I got into] [t]he ah Accord [and Adnan gets into] Hae ‘s car, the silver car. (Int.1 at 14-16, 18-19.)
Go ahead, read that statement through as many times as you want. Take your time.
But it’s never going to start making sense.
Why? Because Jay is almost certainly describing something that never happened. In reality, there was probably only one car involved in Hae’s burial — and that’s the reason why the two cars in Jay’s story keep vanishing and magically reappearing out of thin air. Jay doesn’t know how the story is supposed to work when two cars are involved, because the only experience he has to draw from is on how it occurred when there is only a single car involved. So when he is telling his story to the cops, the details just don’t line up right. It was too hard for him to think up, on the fly, what tweaks needed to be made to his story to account for the presence of a second car.
Here’s a challenge for those of you who disagree, and still think that Jay’s testimony about how Adnan buried Hae is credible: try and turn the Jay’s word salad into some kind of coherent narrative of events.
Here’s my best shot: Jay and Adnan are out together, eating at a McDonald’s, which they drove to in Adnan’s car. After the call from Officer Adcock, Adnan gets “frantic” and tells Jay to take him to Hae’s car. Jay drives Adnan back to the Park’n’Ride, and Adnan gets out and tells Jay to “follow [him],” and then gets into Hae’s car. Adnan proceeds to drive “all around” Baltimore for a while, with Jay following, before Adnan leads him “back to Leakin Park” (interestingly, this would seem to imply that they had been their earlier in the day as well). Once in Leakin Park, Adnan and Jay pull up beside each other, blocking both lanes of traffic, while they quickly talk. Adnan instructs Jay to go “around the corner,” where they will park their cars, and tells Jay that he will be there “in a second.” Jay then drives Adnan’s car down the road, out of sight of Adnan (and Hae’s car), where Jay then waits for 10 to 15 minutes.
And then this happens:
We dropped her car back around the corner and um I was turned around so he thought I left him. He’s walking around the streets and I picked him up and ah. [ ] He says “she was heavy” and um he starts to throw up
We know, from Adnan’s comment, that Adnan has (presumably) just removed Hae’s body from the back of her trunk. But nothing else about Jay’s statement describes a series of events that could have actually occurred in real life. We know that Adnan (and Hae’s car) are somewhere up the road, out of Jay’s sight. And we know that Jay is sitting “around the corner” in Adnan’s car, waiting for Adnan as instructed. But somehow, the very next event that happens is, “We dropped her car back around the corner.” But this doesn’t work: (1) Jay could not have dropped Hae’s car back around the corner, because he is already back around the corner, and (2) “we” could not have done anything, because only Adnan is with Hae’s car, Jay is not with him.
It gets weirder. Because suddenly Adnan is “walking around the streets.” And, for some reason, he thinks Jay has “left him,” because Jay has turned around. But why would that make Adnan think Jay had left him? Adnan just told Jay to go park around the corner, which is what Jay did; the fact that Jay “turned around” wouldn’t have given the appearance of Jay leaving. But more importantly — why is Adnan walking around on the street? Why does Jay need to “pick him up” off the side of the road? Adnan was driving Hae’s car, but now Adnan is suddenly walking around on foot? Why did Hae’s car poof our of existence, leaving Adnan to hitchhike through Leakin Park?
According to Jay, after he picks Adnan up from the side of the road,
[Adnan] was like “you got to take me back there. I got to bury her.” And then ah we argue um for about five minutes so we go back, we park the car and pull off up the side of the road.
So wherever they are when Jay picks Adnan up, it’s not near Hae’s grave. They have to go “back there.” Jay agrees to take Hae back, and they pull up at the side of the road, where (apparently) Adnan had previously removed Hae’s body from her car. Adnan and Jay get out of the car and walk back into the woods, where Jay sees Hae’s body leaning against a log. Jay and Adnan argue some more, and then Adnan digs a hole next to Hae’s body. (But did you notice this slip? Jay first says that after arguing some more, “I started digging a hole.” It’s only when the cop asks Jay to clarify that Jay’s story changes: “Adnan start[ed] digging a hole).
While Adnan is busy digging the hole, good ol’ Jay sits on a log and has a smoke. A half-hour later, Adnan finishes the hole and throws Hae’s body in, using the shovel to cover herup. Jay and Adnan walk back to the road — and when they get there, Hae’s car has magically reappeared again. Jay gets into Adnan’s car, and Adnan gets into Hae’s car, and they drive away.
By the way – during the course of this entire recorded interview, the cops never once question Jay about the fact that his story makes no sense. They just roll with it.
Here are two more weird things about this narrative:
(1) Why would Adnan tell Jay to go “around the corner” in the first place? This is never explained. According to Jay, Adnan’s next move was to get Hae’s body out of the car — but why does Jay need to go wait around the corner for that? Perhaps because there’s not enough room for two cars to park at the side of the road there, I suppose. That could make sense… except for the fact there should have been enough room for two cars to park there, sense they could have driven onto the pathway next to the road. But, perhaps they didn’t want to draw more attention to themselves by having two cars pulled over at the same spot. But if that’s the case, why did Adnan tell Jay “we’ll park up around the corner,” when there’s nowhere around the corner for the cars to park? As Jay explains in the second interview, Adnan chose to bury Hae where he did because it was “only [parking spot] that was open” “up and down the road,” as “[a]ll the rest had been buried up” (Int.2 at 30). So if Hae was buried at the only parking spot that was open, why is Adnan telling Jay that they’ll go park both cars around the corner, where they have already determined there is nowhere to park?
(2) Notice anything important that’s missing from Jay’s story? Like, say, Jenn? In telling the detectives how Hae was buried, Jay makes no mention of the calls that were made to and from Jenn while the cell phone was in Leakin Park. The way Jay tells it, no calls are made, no calls are received, they simply did not happen. In fact, Jay is adamant about not needing a ride home from Jenn, because after he and Adnan ditch Hae’s car off Edmondson, Jay “drive[s] [him]self home and on the way home [Adnan’s] like ‘stop here.’ We stopped at ah Westview and one of the dumpster’s behind Westview he threw all the stuff in.” (Int.1 at 20.) So there was no reason for Jay and Jenn to be communicating anyway. (Also, in addition to there being no reason to communicate it, Jay could not have known that he needed to communicate to Jenn that she should pick him up from Westview. According to Jay, Adnan chose it at random on the way home. But according to Jenn, Jay told her 20 minutes in advance that she needed to pick him up from Westview. Hard to reconcile those two claims.)
Jay’s Second Recorded Statement
In the second taped interview with the police, Jay says that, after leaving Cathy’s place, he asks Adnan for a ride home. (Jay does not explain why he left Cathy’s, or asked for a ride home with a murderer, when he and Jenn actually had plans to hang out at Cathy’s that night.) They drive to Jay’s house, but when they get there, Adnan blackmails Jay, telling him that he will “turn [Jay] into the Authorities” if Jay doesn’t help bury Hae’s body. Jay, who is definitely the dumbest person on earth, actually believes Adnan’s threats, and thinks there is a real possibility that the guy who just murdered someone and showed Jay the body is going to call the cops on Jay for selling pot. So Jay agrees.
According to Jay, Adnan grabs “[two] shovels,” and
put[s] them in the back of his car, in the back seat. Um, he still driving, now we proceed from my house to 70 Parking Ride. . . . Um, we leave the 70 Parking Ride, he’s driving Hae’s car now and I’m following him, um, we end like I said, we drove around the lot, we end up going down Franklintown Boulevard. (Int.2 at 28).
They don’t go straight to Leakin Park, though — it’s time for another side quest to Patapsco State Park! Because after leaving the Park’n’Ride, “for about an hour before [they] came out [Leakin] Park [they] went up to Patapsco State Park” (Int.2 at 55). Later, they rejoin the main storyline, and once back in Leakin Park,
Jay: [Adnan] ah, he stops her car, actually he pulls over to the side and tells me to ah, ask me if I could help him and I told him fuck no, I’m not touching none of her stuff. I’m not helping you drag her out of the car, none of that, you know. And um, he says okay. So then he drives her car up around the corner and ah, parks its and we park his car down at the burial site and.
[. . .]
Detective: Now do you park around the corner?
Jay: Not, not now. We’re, we’re sitting um, side by side, blocking both lanes. And he’s talking to me, he asked me am I gonna help him. Like get out of the car and stuff and I, I told him no, hell no, fuck that. And so then he’s like okay and he drives her car up around the corner and ah, I follow him. Once we get up around the corner, he gets back in his car. We come back down um, we pull into this little ah, spot, it has like white pillar that are there from the highway. And we go 20 yards back or so and ah, he start digging.
Detective: Why did you pick this location?
Jay: That’s were he wanted. Ah, I couldn’t convince him to do anything like, he he, anything I said it just kind a, it was like I don’t know. (Int.2 at 28-29.)
So Adnan and Jay stop in the middle of Leakin Park, blocking both lanes of Franklintown Road (or does Adnan pull over to the side? Jay says both happen, who knows). Jay and Adnan argue for a bit over whether or not Jay is going to help Adnan bury the body. Jay tells him “fuck no,” and Adnan finally gives up on asking. So they drive both cars “around the corner,” where they park Hae’s car. Adnan gets in his car with Jay, and Jay drives back to the burial site. He pulls Adnan’s car up at the spot with the “white pillar” and parks it. Adnan and Jay head back into the woods 20 yards and start digging a hole.
And then, in another Jay Paradox, Jay and Adnan simultaneously dig a hole with the shovels and without the shovels:
Detective: Do you have the digging tools at this point?
Detective: What happens?
Jay: Um, dig a small hole, put the shovels back in the back seat of his car. (Int.2 at 32-33.)
So according to Jay, he and Adnan get to the grave site and start digging. They do not have the shovels. Then they spend “20-25 minutes” digging a hole (Int.2 at 33), before putting the shovels back in the back seat of Adnan’s car. Makes perfect sense. But this time around, at least, Jay at least does more than sit on a log and have a smoke break. He and Adnan both dig the hole — although it turns out one of them is a slacker, because Jay “wouldn’t say” that the two of the did “equal work” (Int.2 at 34).
After digging the hole, Jay says that,
Um, I get in the driver seat of his car, he gets in the passenger seat. I drive him back up around the corner to Hae’s car. Um, he asked me to help him again up there. Like I said before I told him no I’m not touching none of her shit, none of her, none of that stuff. He ah, he gets back in Hae’s car, he drives back down around the corner. A long time goes by maybe like, almost a half an hour. And ah, after that he reappears back around the corner. Um, he gets back in his car, um, instructs me to drive down to the small, excuse me, the small parking lot area. Um, to get out of his car um, bring the shovels. He ask me to help him bury her; I, we argue. Um, he throws dirt on top of her and she was already, I’m sorry. Um, we we we pull back into the parking lot and on the way back there, there’s a coat laying there on the ground. And ah, I said who’s coat is that and he picks it up, and like flings it way back in the woods. And ah, then I walk up and Hae’s laying in the hole with her head facing away from, on her, on her stomach face down with her arm behind her back. And ah, he ask me if I was gonna help. And I told him fuck no and he starts to shoveling dirt onto of her. And after ah, we leave there um, ah . (Int.2 at 33.)
The story is actually coherent this time — or at least it no longer violates basic laws of physics. The cars no longer poof into and out of existence. But Jay’s new version of events has Jay and Adnan acting in bizarre and illogical way; for instance, in order to bury Hae, they choose a method that requires them to make four separate trips to the pull-up next to the burial site, and three separate trips to the grave site itself. First, Jay and Adnan pull up next to the grave site and argue, befor going “around the corner” for unspecified reasons. Then drive Adnan’s car back to the grave site pull out, walk back to the woods dig a hole, and then go back to the car and drive it around the corner. Adnan then gets in Hae’s car and drives back to the grave site, and is gone for half an hour. Presumably, Adnan spends that half-hour transferring Hae’s body from her car to the hole they had just dug. Adnan then “reappears,” and gets back in Adnan’s car. (I spoke too soon — no word on where Hae’s car is now, it’s poofed out. We won’t hear about it again until a detective reminds Jay it should still exist.) Adnan tells Jay to drive them back to the white pillar parking spot, and orders Jay to bring the shovels with him to the grave site (because apparently Jay and Adnan brought the shovels back to the car after digging the grave, but before covering up the body). (Also, Adnan is such a jerk. Jay is doing him a huge favor helping him dispose of this body, so why is he ordering Jay to carry both shovels back to the grave, instead of offering to carry one himself?)
They walk back to the grave, where Jay finds Hae’s body already in the hole. But Jay decides he is not going to help with covering Hae up, because really now, that’s just too much for Adnan to ask of him — Jay’s not going to help anyone bury a body. Dig a hole for the body to be buried in? Sure. But fill the hole in? “[F]uck no.”
But why on earth do Jay and Adnan go back to grave? The hole had already been dug, and covering it up won’t take more than a few minutes — so why does Adnan return “around the corner” once more, and bring Jay back, so that Jay can stand there uselessly and watch Adnan shovel dirt onto the body? There is no need for this this trip to the grave site.
The cops, of course, do not question Jay about he and Adnan’s bizarre actions. Once again, they just roll with it.
At this point in the interview, Jay makes an interjection, unprompted by the detectives, and adds this:
Um, d[ur]ing the time of this digging we received a phone call to ah, cause I was suppose to meet some people in ah, a couple of minutes. And I remember when I was waiting um, for him, when I, when he was trying to pick out the spot, I had remembered I suppose to meet some people and received a phone call from them. And I didn’t even get a chance to talk to um, he told ah, that ah, I was busy and that I have to call them back. . . . I later learned that it was [Jenn]. (Int.2 at 33.)
Let’s break this down. The phone call Jay is reference is, presumably, the 7:09 p.m. call, although it could also be the 7:16 p.m. call. But even though Jay is now discussing a call made to Adnan’s phone, Jay’s story still doesn’t include him making any calls from the phone. In Interview #2, like Interview #1, Jay never once says that he actually paged Jenn at 7:00 p.m. (although at trial he will testify that he did).
But who was this call from? Jay says he “was suppose[d] to meet some people.” Not that Jenn was supposed to “pick him up,” just that he was meeting unspecified people. Jay “remembered [he was] suppose[d] to meet some people” in “a couple minutes” and, coincidentally, he then “received a phone call from them” — despite the fact he is not even late for the party yet. And all of this occurred while Jay “was waiting um, for [Adnan], when I, when he was trying to pick out the spot.”
(Catch that slip? “When I, when he was trying to pick out the spot…” Jay initially starts to say that he was the one picking out the burial site, before correcting himself. Could it have been a simple case of Jay misspeaking? Sure. But it’s an awfully curious mistake, either way. Because if Jay is trying to “pick out the spot,” this either means that: (1) He and Adnan are driving around, still looking for where to go, in which case Jay would have no idea about the call from Jay’s friends, because he and Adnan are not in the same car; or (2) they are actually at the burial site — in which case Jay’s statement that he was “waiting um, for [Adnan]” at that time can’t be true, because according to Jay, there was no waiting then. They parked the car(s), walked back, and started digging.)
But when asked about this phone call by the investigators, Jay clarifies that “[he] didn’t even get a chance to talk to um,” because Adnan “told ah [that] [Jay] was busy and that [he] have to call them back.” This is significant; Jay is denying having any knowledge that it was Jenn calling the cell phone. He’s very careful about it, too — he avoids using her name, to keep up the fiction that, at the time the call happened, he didn’t have a damned clue who was calling. He only “later learned” that it was actually Jenn.
Which leaves one to wonder… Why is Jay so insistent on lying about his contact with Jenn that night? And why does his testimony completely change at trial?
Finally, Jay tell the cops that after they finish burying Hae’s body, “we[ ] get[ ] back in his car” and “we drive to Westview on, I told him take me home” (Int.2 at 34-35). No mention of Hae’s car is made until a detective interrupts him:
Detective: You got 2 cars?
Jay: Oh I’m sorry, I apologize. Um, I’m missing.
Jay: Top spots. Um, yes I’m sorry. We leave, we we still do have 2 cars. Um, he he ah, motion for me to follow him.
It’s funny how often that happens in the second interview. Jay keeps forgetting his story — he’s so lucky he has the detectives there to remind him.
Comparison of the First and Second Taped Interviews
In Jay’s first two recorded statements about how Hae was buried, almost no two events occur in the same sequence. Adnan and Jay do go to the Park’n’Ride before they go to Leakin Park, but other than that, the timeline is completely fluid. But of all the discrepancies between the statements, perhaps the most glaring is the question of when Hae’s body was placed in the hole. In Jay’s first story, Adnan removes the body from the car and places it in the woods, and then he digs a hole while Jay watches, and drops the body in the hole. In Jay’s second story, Adnan and Jay dig a hole first, and then Adnan gets the body and puts it in the hole while Jay is waiting in a car “around the corner.”
Why on earth does Jay screw this up? There is no conceivable benefit to him in lying about it, so it cannot be explained that way. But there is no conceivable reason that he would forget something like that, either — this is not the kind of sequence of events that gets jumbled around in your head. It’s hard to think of any explanation for the inconsistency, other than that Jay is simply making a story up, and can’t remember what happens when.
The other inconsistencies are not quite as incomprehensible, but still jarring. For instance,
- In the first interview, Jay simply agrees to help Adnan dispose of Hae’s body, without making a fuss. Adnan gets frantic, so Jay drives him back to his house, gives him the pick and shovel, and then takes him to Hae’s car. In the second interview, Jays only agrees to help bury Hae’s body after Adnan threatened to call the police and tell them Jay was a weed-dealer.
- In the first interview, Jay gives Adnan a shovel and a pick. In the second interview, Adnan takes two shovels for himself.
- In the first interview, Jay drives Adnan to the Park’n’Ride. In the second interview, Adnan drives Jay to the Park’n’Ride.
- In the first interview, Jays says that Adnan throws up twice: one while digging the grave, and once after putting Hae in the grave. In the second interview, Jay says that Adnan threw up twice: once after taking Hae’s body out of the car and driving “back up around the corner” to get Jay, and once after Jay and Adnan were getting “getting back in his car” after finishing burying Hae.
On the other hand, despite all the inconsistencies between the two statements, there is one consistency that is as equally glaring as the inconsistencies, if not more so. In both statements, Jay never pages Jenn before or during the trip to Leakin Park — something we know, for all but certain fact, actually did occur. Only according to Jay, it never happened at all. True, in the second statement, someone who turns out to be Jenn does make a call to Adnan’s cell phone — but in neither version does Jay ever page or call Jenn, or communicate anything to her in any fashion.
I’m seriously wondering if Adnan is serving a life sentence for something he didn’t do.
What a grave injustice that would be.
I’m convinced he’s serving a life sentence for a case the state had no chance of proving beyond a reasonable doubt.
Proving that Adnan is innocent isn’t something that can be done, absent some seriously compelling DNA evidence or a seriously compelling recantation. But the only evidence against him was the testimony of a hopeless liar, and the assertions that his behavior was “shady.” You don’t get beyond reasonable doubt on that.
Would you say his defense did a malpractice on him. She just seemed so unprepared and focused on the wrong stuff like if Jay was stepping out on his girlfriend.
A dumb jury did him.
I read through those statements last night and tried to take notes — very frustrating.
Your analysis of Jay’s statement was spot on. The cops didn’t push him on many major inconsistencies. They just needed a story that was “good enough.”
Short of any bombshell evidence, I think you’re right. There is a ton of reasonable doubt here.
Can they do one of those Rule 37 hearings like they did with the WM3? How will they reopen the case?
One last note — I was just looking at picture of Hae’s car. That ’98 model allows for easy access to the trunk through the backseat. It would be awkward and clumsy, but still easier to move the body over a reclined seat than to walk into a parking lot with a corpse.
Maybe that’s how Adnan/Jay knocked the turn signal handle off?
I agree. I keep coming back to the following indisputed facts:
1. Jay is a liar. He admits that he lied, and if he is lying about that, then he is a liar.
2. Jay has three different stories, each of which is inconsistent with the others in major ways, and some of which are internally inconsistent.
3. Jay knew where the car was, which means one of the following is true: a) he killed Hae; b) he was an accessory; c) his information originated with the killer or an accessory; d) his information originated with the police; e) he happened to see the car; f) he heard about the car location from someone uninvolved with the crime who saw the car. If a or b or c is true, then Jay is involved in the crime. If d or e or f is true, then Jay claimed to know about the car location because of his involvement in the crime, but this claim was in fact false (according to d or e or f), which means that he lied about the essential aspect of every one of his stories, and he intentionally made things look worse for himself than they actually were.
4. The state built its case around Jay’s testimony.
To convict, a juror would have to believe that the evidence was so overwhelming that it would be unreasonable even to question Adnan’s guilt. A juror would have to believe, “Given the facts, it’s unreasonable of me even to think that Adnan is innocent!” The evidence is so far below this standard that it is appalling, truly appalling, that any juror returned a verdict of guilty.
“Proving that Adnan is innocent isn’t something that can be done, absent some seriously compelling DNA evidence or a seriously compelling recantation.”
Why is this?
Obviously, the best course of action for Adnan, dispelling compelling DNA evidence or a recantation, is an appeal to show insufficient evidence that dismisses ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ that he committed the murder. I’m living in the UK but generally the law does presuppose innocent until proven guilty – though this isn’t pan Europe, e.g. France – but only when it comes to murder. Obviously if the victim is alive and can speak this changes things, because the victim has to be believed in order to proceed with the prosecution thereby discounting that the accused is innocent. Clearly, I’m not a lawyer, but a dead body doesn’t speak. Evidence to link that body to a specific person has to be concrete and compelling. Certainly there has to be physical evidence corroborated with witness testament. What I find utterly strange about this case is that the phone logs is being used as physical evidence – it can’t be all they’ve got!
I have to stake that my opinion is that there is, as it currently stands, insufficient evidence to prove that Adnan murdered Hae Min Lee. Whether he is innocent of murdering her is up for discussion. But then this could apply to a number of people involved. It certainly isn’t something that should be discussed, especially, when it comes to appeal.
Hypothetically, can Jay be proven innocent of murdering Ms Lee?
Such an interesting blog and your arguments and examination of the case are meticulous and plausible. I’m fascinated and hooked. `
I think what they mean when they say that proving Adnan didn’t do it is much harder than showing that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that he did. It’s pretty easy to show that the evidence used against him wasn’t enough to convict him, but without compelling DNA evidence or recantation, it’s basically impossible to prove that he definitely didn’t do it.
Hypothetically, I think Jay needs just as compelling DNA evidence to be proven innocent as Adnan does. I honestly think the case against Jay seems like it would be easier to put together than the case against Adnan, except that it’s difficult to understand what his motives would be, both for doing the crime itself and for coming forward with the testimony that he did. It’s definitely something that needs to be reinvestigated to a degree.
Wow, excellent read. I still have my doubts about Adnan and his guilt but this trial was a joke and just on doubt he should have been acquitted.
What I don’t understand is if Adnan vomited 2x, at the body burial sight his DNA would have been all over that soil and still there weeks later. Why was it never tested? Total incompetence.
Jury Instructions Matter: Hearing from a member of the jury on their deliberations provided a rare glimpse into their thinking and for me, at least, really revealed a fatal flaw in that non-sexy and yet vital issue of jury instructions. A well instructed jury would not normally jump immediately to Adnan’s lack of testifying. Good jury instructions should be woven into the summation — another area where Guitz failed generally, and shockingly — as well. Many juries do, indeed, veer into areas the judge admonishes them that they may not consider, such as a defendant’s decision not to testify. However, a good instruction on this point matters a great deal.
Susan, I would be curious to see the instructions, which I assume you have.
Susan, I love you!! Thanks for such great analysis. This is quickly taken reddit’s place in my daily routine.
Would you say his defense attorney did a malpractice on him? She just sounded so unprepared and focused on the wrong stuff like if Jay was “steeping out” on his girlfriend. I’m not sure she understood the tower pings.
Watch a video of that trial.
I have no idea, I don’t have the trial transcripts. The portions of the trial played on the podcast did sound pretty bad, but they were likely selectively edited for the show. And also a being terrible at a cross examination isn’t itself grounds for malpractice.
Not investigating Asia was an inexplicable call, though.
Not really. I’m pretty sure it was expected by everyone that they thought the timeline of the murder was that it happened around 3:40pm. The idea that the state would argue so vociferously that she was murdered before 2:36 never entered their mind until the second trial. So her “alibi” wouldn’t have mattered as much if you thought you had 2 hours to cover, not 21 minutes.
Just a thought.
That’s an excellent point. I’m glad you agree with my blog post on that very subject.
But it still does not explain the failure to interview an important alibi witness who can attest to the defendant’s motives in the hour before the murder. In a case where Adnan’s alibi was of such central importance to the case, being able to show that Adnan was in the library fooling around on a computer, in the hour before her death, would have been hugely important.
Because if Adnan was trying to kill Hae that day, and he knew Hae left the school quick to go get her cousin, why would he be off campus at the library at 2:30, rather than trying to find her or get in her car?
Not only did the lawyer not even speak to the witness, it would seem she never went to the library, or checked metadata on Adnan’s hotmail account… unless she did and it didn’t pan out, but Aisha sounds more sure of her memories of that day than anyone else, and she is always consistent. I can understand that because she says she was really angry at her boyfriend for being hours late. I think we tend to remember events where we get really angry with people.
Actually I think there are 2 glaring consistencies in Jenn and Jays testimony. The one you mention and secondly that Jay was with Jenn at her house during the crucial hour between just after 2pm and quarter past 3pm, infact they add 30-45 min to be sure. They stick with this even when other part of at least Jay testimony contradicts this, like the Jenn call, Nisha call, Phil call and Patrick call, depending on version. This mean Jay has always an alibi. Now why is that so important?
Are you suggesting that there is a convergence of accounts as to when the actual murder happened and Jay and Jenn are covering up for one another?
Am I the only one who wants to see the autopsy report on Hae’s body to determine where the contents of her last meal was in her digestive tract?
There are a couple of incorrect assumptions you are making while obviously trying to confirm a prejudiced opinion that anything Jay and Jenn say can not be trusted.
“In both statements, Jay never pages Jenn from Leakin Park — something we know, for all but certain fact, actually did occur.”
Wrong, we don’t know this for a fact. To the contrary: The phone logs indicate that the page to Jenn is made BEFORE they went to Leakin Park – when they were located somewhere in the Woodlawn area.
Now If Jay didn’t page Jenn while in Leakin Park, then for him not saying that he paged Jenn while in Leakin Park is actually consistent with the truth.
You’re right, I edited the post to reflect the fact that Jay’s story is that he never paged Jenn before or during the Leakin Park trip.
But I’m not sure how that shows Jay was actually telling the truth about something?
Counter question: How is the observation that Jay did not explicitly mention the 7:00pm page to Jenn any indication of him NOT telling the truth?
He was after all never specifically asked by the cops about that call.
Also, he surely does refer to that very page when he says “I was suppose to meet some people in ah, a couple of minutes”.
Interestingly, according to Jenn, this is exactly what the 7pm page was all about : “i got voice message from Jay like telling me to get him from the between seven and seven-thirty” (statement p.12)
At trial, Jay testifies that he made the page to Jenn from Leakin Park itself. So yes, the phone records strongly suggest that part was a lie.
The problem is that, in the transcripts, the detectives specifically asked Jay if he had any telephone conversations prior to Leakin Park. Jay denied it. So if you’re going to give Jay every benefit of the doubt, then that wasn’t a lie, a page is not a telephone conversation. But even that can’t make Jay’s testimony truthful. Jay claims he had no idea who would be calling to look for him when the call is received in Leakin Park, but given that he paged Jenn nine minutes earlier, and Jay does not have a single other friend who would be calling Adnan’s phone to reach him, he should have had a damned good idea who it was.
Why are people not dwelling on the mother of all lies?
Jay does not want to say where adnan popped the trunk and showed him a body. He changed it once he thought there may have been cameras at the location he picked.. This alone should set off huge alarms. This can only suggest adnan never showed Jay a body.
If this is false. if this is not how it happened. iam gonna go ahead and suspect jay actually killed her and once he saw adnan was the suspect, he went along with it. He saw it as his only exit. His plan was never to frame adnan. Thats why burried her. . and he never told Jenn adnan killed anyone. although he may have told her after she saw him cleaning shovels and fringer prints and throwing stuff in the dumpster and he was forced to explain his creepy behavior to her. He may even told her he killed Hae since Jenn admits to never liking Hae. The cleverest thing Jenn did was not go with the cops when they showed up at her door but instead first consulted with Jay and they agreed on the contours of a story. but not the gritty details because there is no way they could plan a ready answer for every question the cops asked for an hour interview. this is where their inconsistencies shows. There are just going to be questions they didnt expect or think about before hand. and it’s where their stories will differ.
I doubt Jay would go to all this trouble and involve himself with murder, and run back and forth all night cleaning shovels and throwing away his clothes and boots and wiping fingerprints. Bringing all that huge risky and all that stress and anxiety on himself on behalf of some acquaintance he sold weed to. For What? I dont even think he would go through all that hell for his own father, Let alone some acquaintance/stranger. Adnan would also probably not trust Jay this much.
Jay claiming he was threatened with a hitman, or threatened with being reported for his weed selling. This just shows Jay making up stuff on the spot. I have to give Jay credit for imagination and thinking on his feet. Although he could do better in the memory department and paying little more attention to his words. But he was 18 years old trying to get away with murder, Too much stress.
It’s amazing how many different stories Jay and Jenn have told. To me, it’s clear Jay is telling the story plugging Adnan’s name in for himself. Jay and Jenn both get a few major details of the plot the same that they coordinated (adnan kill her, and Jay’s alibi at Jenns house), but stumble with ughh um ahh when making up the minor details which change every time they tell it. Jenn’s transcripts are so interesting, she’s well spoken and clear when answering basic questions that don’t have any implications on the investigation. Then it’s all stumbling when telling the details of the case. She has to make sure all her responses match up with multiple layers of lies, and it’s an incoherent mess. They schooled the police bad on this one.
Thanks very much for your excellent blog. Your analysis is clearer and more comprehensive than any other I’ve seen by a pretty wide margin.
Although the sequence(s) of events Jay gives for the burial don’t make a lot of sense, I don’t think the idea of parking ‘around the corner’ at some point is that far-fetched. Winans Way is right near the Franklintown pulloff, and looking at the Google Maps street view from 2007 there are no traffic barriers and there seems to be enough room between the street and the trees to park a car (https://goo.gl/maps/HKO4o). It could be a detail from what really happened: the car could have been parked in the pulloff to remove the body but then moved around the corner to avoid drawing attention to the actual burial as it was happening. This would fit with your single culprit/single car theory.
Great work. It all sounds plausible but it comes unstuck for me after 6.30pm when Adnan says he had his phone with him all evening. I also don’t believe that it would have been difficult for adnan to remember what happened that evening, esp. given that he went to someone’s house for the first time. I understand it was 6 weeks earlier but if I recall a memory from 6 weeks ago and it was when I went somewhere for the first time, I can fairly easily remember what happened when I left that particular place. The other piece of information that I find cant simply be a coincidence is that Adnan buys a new mobile phone one day and the next he lends it to jay. I don’t get that. I’m beggining to think that Adnan paid jay to help him with the murder (actually undertake the murder) and jay has changed his story to protect himself, hence all the flaws in his story.
I think Jenn’s testimony is useful in this respect. It’s fairly certain that on February 13, 1999, Jenn was informed about the murder of someone she knew, and that she was then involved in the disposal of clothing and shovels used to bury the body. That’s going to stick in your mind, right?
But look at her answers. When the cops ask what she did that day, she says, “Well I usually do this.” And they ask her what happens the next day: “I would have done this, unless it was a Sunday or Saturday.” They ask her if she remembers Jay receiving calls that day: “Yes, because you told me that’s the day it happened on.”
I guess I don’t think it’s fair to judge someone’s guilt by whether their memory works the way mine does. I also think a lot of peoples’ memories wouldn’t recall that sort of information; people recall the novel part of the day, but once they go back to their routine, the memories turn into the “well-I-would-have-done-this” again. Besides, it was Ramadan — Adnan would have gone to mosque every night that month! So of course he assumes that’s what he did, because it’s what he would have done.
Fair enough about memory, especially when a teenager is high on the green stuff !
What about Adnan stating that he had his phone with him that evening. Do you think he just forgot that he gave it to Jay (and gets it back off jay later) ? Surely he would have remembered getting it back from him after the mosque), esp. when questioned / arrested by the police?
That is the only part I don’t get.
I suspect Jay took it without Adnan’s knowledge or consent. I seriously doubt Adnan would have taken it into the mosque, so I don’t think he would have missed it for the time he was in prayers. And the cell tower info indicates it WAS near the Mosque, and it was used to contact Jenn. Did Jay live within walking distance of the Mosque?
Just for fun, I went back 6 weeks from today to see if I could remember a) what I was doing, and b) a rough timeline of this. For the purpose of this comparison, I’m presuming Adnan is innocent. Here’s how it goe:
It was Halloween. That makes it a lot easier for me to remember because it was a significant Holiday.
For Adnan: Let’s assume Adnan remembers the cops & Nisha calling him and vaguely recalls Hae “going missing” (but since school was cancelled for the next two days, on the day-of he doesn’t really know that Hae’s going missing is a big deal).
For me: I threw a Halloween party. I had like 25 people coming to my house that day. I didn’t have to work. But that said, I have NO idea what time I got up. If I were being interrogated, I would have said “around 11”.
For Adnan: He had a free period at school. He presumably did different things on his free periods at school each day (I did when I had a free period). He knows it’s Stephanie’s birthday and so he remembers something like “oh hey I called Jay to get her a present, and I lent him my car and my phone.”
For me: I lent my brother my car. He had to run an errand, and I needed him to pick something up for me. I have ZERO idea when that was during the day. But, the party started at 8 and I know he was back before dark so let’s say he had my car for the afternoon even though it was likely about 2 hours at most.
For Adnan: He goes to track practice. He knows that every xx day of the week, he goes to track practice from approximately 3:30 – 5 (I’m not looking up exact times here).
For me: I have an ‘alibi’ should I need one for SURE from the time guests arrived at my party around 8 or 8:30. But basically the whole day before that I have NO idea what I was doing except generally.
For Adnan: He knows that he has an alibi at track (or THINKS he does) and at the mosque although that didn’t matter.
Anyways, the whole point I’m getting at is that if you actually TRY to think about your exact movements on one specific day six weeks ago, its REALLY hard!
Well, presumably you were not around a murder scene on Halloween, or interviewed extensively about that holiday relatively soon. If you had been asked by friends, family, police etc. you would likely recall details. Maybe you watched part of a rerun on Bravo. The cops would ask you what it was, and then reconcile your timeline with that show.
A normal day can be a blur, even a typical holiday. But the day a baby is born? Or you have surgery? Or got accepted into college? You’ll recall more, much more…
I’ve had a baby and an operation. I haven’t a clue what else happened on those days.
Great job! I started with Jenn’s instead of Jay’s and couldn’t even make a list of notes, she was so confusing. I’d love to see your take on her statement.
In regards to the “turned around” business– I think he meant lost, as in “got turned around”. Here’s what I think happened in Jay’s head just then: he says “Um I went up a round the corner, after a while it was like ten minutes, fifteen minutes.” The detective says, “How did he knew that you just didn’t leave him there?” and Jay replies, “He didn’t,” (as in, “oh I never thought of that”) Then Jay backs up a bit in the timeline and repeats the part about driving around the corner, only he says “we” for some unknown reason:
“We dropped her car back around the corner and um” [hey, I can use what the cop just said…]
“I was turned around” [I got lost and took way longer because I got turned around, that’s why it was like ten, fifteen minutes before I see him again]
“so he thought I left him.” [like the detective just said]
“He’s walking around the streets” [looking for me, because I got lost and wasn’t parked where he expected, so he’s wandering around looking for me]
“and I picked him up and ah.” [you buying this?]
Now this also makes no sense, how do you get lost and drive around for 15 minutes trying to find the spot around the corner, for goodness’ sake? But that’s what I think the “turned around” business was about, if it helps.
Thanks for your posts!
That’s a better guess than I could come up with, it would at least sort of explain why Adnan was out “walking along the streets.” But totally agree about that whole statement only occurring in the first place because the cop suggested it. That happens at a dozen different points in the transcripts.
I’m working on Jenn’s, but not sure I’ll get a chance to finish before next weekend. She does seem to be a lot more truthful than Jay, but she’s also just not an eloquent witness, which makes for a confusing mess of a transcript.
Please make sure to cover the part where Jenn claims she must have received a call from Adnan on her landline because “you told me that he called the landline”. She clearly is mixed up, it seems clear that during the pre-interview the detectives told her “we’re interviewing you because you got all these calls from Adnan on your landline the day Hae was murdered”, and so she’s trying to explain the calls on her landline as Adnan maybe calling that (like the cops said), not realizing that they meant from Adnan’s CELL PHONE, the one that she’s claiming was in Jay’s possession sitting right next to her in the house (which doesn’t make any sense because why would Jay call her house that he’s in? this is why we know that he/they are obviously lying about Jay being at her house at this time).
Except I’m sure you can explain all that more eloquently than me!
I read “turned around” as “parked on the opposite side of the street”.
I’m assuming the sequence doesn’t make much sense because it’s made up. Jay is trying to explain two cars and two people when only one (of each) was really there.
Too bad he didn’t have jillkswanson to help him make the story more plausible. 🙂
Susan, do we know anything about his real first interview pre-2/28???? I’m so curious.
The “real’ first interview was probably very late on 2/27/99, and is the interview that occurred before the detectives turned the tape on at 12:30 a.m. on 2/28/99.
The only thing we know about the pre-tape interview is that it was (1) completely different from what Jay said in the taped part of the interview, and (2) had even more internal inconsistencies.
Of course it did.
Thanks for this blog, it’s really interesting.
So, while I agree that there is a dearth of the standard physical evidence in this case, allowing for some doubt to be leveraged, I don’t think as a juror that I would have had much doubt about what happened.
Jay is lying about certain details, but not the jist of the story: He and Adnan planned the murder & burial and carried it out. Jay probably buried Hae by himself & took care of her car, hence the crazy inconsistencies. He also is fudging things around earlier in the day, trying to protect Jen and make the whole thing look as spontaneous and Adnan-driven as possible.
There are lots of parts of the story obscured by shady memories. (Was Adnan at track? Was Adnan at the mosque?) But Hae didn’t leave school with Jay, she left with someone she trusted and went to a place nearby where they had a clear history of going (maybe BB, maybe another parking lot). And Adnan certainly hasn’t forgotten Jay or how and when he lent his car to him. He conveniently “forgets” anything he can’t explain away. (Who had the phone at 7pm during the burial? Not Adnan despite his claims, Jay did.)
The “come and get me” call is probably not the 2:36pm but the ~3:15 call(s), maybe even the one to Jenn’s house at 3:21 that Jenn mentions Jay is waiting for.
There may be some doubt about specific details of the murder plot, but I have very little that it existed between A&J and was carried out.
There is not just a dearth of physical evidence. The only evidence connecting Adnan to the murder is Jay’s story.
But you agree that Jay’s story is unreliable, inconsistent, and made up. In order to find Adnan guilty, you have to discard everything about Jay’s stories that is inconsistent with that (which is a lot of things to discard), and you have to assume that Jay forgot to include a lot things he never actually said.
But when you’re choosing to accept only those parts of Jay’s testimony that make Adnan guilty, as well as assuming additional facts that Jay never even testified to, how is that different from simply making up your own story about how Adnan did it?
I’m with you, Susan.
But I do find it shocking that so many people believe that Adnan was involved in Hae’s murder just because Jay says so. The only motive I’m interested in at this point is why Jay is giving this wildly improbable and unreliable account in the first place.
For all we know, Adnan was just a typical absent minded, self-absorbed teenager who never knew what hit him.
But what is sadder? That he may have spent a good chunk of his life behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit or that so many people can’t reason through the problem with Jay’s testimony?
There was more than one instance where someone says Jay was afraid either for himself or Stephanie. But I don’t buy that he was afraid of Adnan. I think there was someone else involved, and Jay knows who and is framing Adnan to cover for that person, who is probably actually a very scary person. As a matter of fact, the call Jenn makes where she is told Jay can’t talk, doesn’t at one point Jenn say it sounded like an older person?
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Why did the detectives use Jay’s testimony to frame “innocent” Adnan when Jay already confessed to all those details about the crime? If he seemed “suspicious” and admitted to lying, why didn’t the cops try to get a confession out of him? Probably easier, more certain and ethical than using his lies to frame an innocent teenager. Have you ever thought about that?
I’m not sure I understand what your trying to say, but if I gave you the impression that the cops were “framing” Adnan, then that’s incorrect. I do not believe the cops framed anyone.
Not at all. I do not think you are suggesting that at all. However, the general sentiment of the Adnan is innocent group is that Jay lied to frame Adnan and the cops went along with his story. What I don’t get is, if Jay were, in fact, just trying to frame Adnan, wouldn’t his inconsistencies raise a red flag for the detectives to investigate Jay himself more thoroughly? Given that they already had a guy (Jay) confessing to knowing all those details, doesn’t it make him a suspect? And just like they filled or ignored the gaps in his narrative, couldn’t they have done the same for Adnan’s narrative and used it against Jay as Adnan’s alibi and then extracted a confession out of Jay. I just don’t get the logic of justifying that they used a shady story to convict an innocent man.
That said, I totally agree with you and your detailed analysis that there are enough holes in the story to argue that it is not enough to convict anyone, guilty or not.
From the detectives’ perspective, they already had Adnan long before they ever had Jay.
Between the anonymous call and and the cell records, it was looking an awful lot like Adnan was their guy. But how are they going to prove it? Suddenly, they get to Jenn, and she gives them a huge break in the case: Adnan admitted to doing it, and she knows the guy he admitted it to.
So when they talk to Jay, they are super skeptical about parts of his story (“What do you mean Adnan didn’t pay you to help?!? Come on, Jay, this is a bullshit story, of course you were getting paid! Why else would you have helped?”), but they are not skeptical of the central claim he is making about Adnan being responsible for Hae’s murder — because it exactly matches the detectives’ pre-existing theory.
That just seems awfully irresponsible on their part. You’d think they would question Jay more thoroughly before ruling him out as a suspect and sticking with Adnan. I wish we could hear their story for why they were so convinced that is HAS to be Adnan, and not Jay.
Welcome to the world of wrongful convictions. Regardless of whether Adnan himself is innocent or not, it remains true that wrongful convictions happen all the time. For way more insight, listen to the This American Life episode Confessions (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/507/confessions), which is how Sarah Koenig first met Jim Trainum (who is interviewed in episode 8).
The cops’ job is to get someone arrested and move on to the next case. Going down the wrong path happens all the time. You get a idea or a tip, you find some facts that seem to confirm it, and you arrest somebody. I wouldn’t call it irresponsible, I’d call it human nature.
The prosecution is charged with proving the story beyond a reasonable doubt, and the defense attorneys are supposed to help expose the cracks in the case and introduce the doubt. The jury was persuaded by the yes ma’am and no ma’am in Jay’s testimony. They were also INCORRECTLY persuaded by the fact that Adnan didn’t testify.
I don’t know who did or didn’t do the crime, but this was a miscarriage of justice in my opinion.
IMO – The reason the cops could not pin it on Jay (as the much easier choice based on his poor re-enactment and lies around every corner of testimony)….was that the info would lead back to this “older voice” who in fact was released from prison (accidentally?!). During Jenn’s testimony to the police she initially does NOT say the voice is Adnan. So are we to believe that Adnan (who is throwing up multiple times) decides during this process of burying his ex- that he loved more than anything…to deepen his voice and tell the woman on the phone that “Jay is busy and he will call you back”. I bet the detectives got “push” not to trace this crime back to this “person” as it would show a level of incompetence to those in higher command. It also makes sense that the DNA was not tested outside of Adnan and Jay (with a criminal database). I bet that some of the dialogue between Jay and this true criminal could be corroborated by the Blue Jay Pool Hall records (or surveillance during that period). Interesting fact is that from BLUE JAYS (near Jay’s home) is also walking distance to Patapsco Park. Perhaps this is where the “popped trunk” occurs. Or perhaps the popped trunk actually happens near the school…even in the library parking lot (maybe as a message/warning or threat to Jay). This idea would allow for Adnan to use his cell phone during that brief window before track to call his new girl — Nisha. It would also allow for Jay and Friends to leave the area and start discussing NEXT MOVES. If the track is the crux of Adnan’s alibi for his supposed crime (according to Jay)….and being late to track would cause all those there that day to know he was late (according to testimony of track teammates and the coach)…late was not an option!!! This means Adnan was not with Jay during the day (2pm-3pm and 4pm-530pm). Adnan was either at track ON TIME….or he never attended. Jay never back tracks on Adnan not being at track as he was sure that witnessing could trace him to track that day….but he has to make Adnan late to track to fit in his whirlwind of lies. The reason he sticks to this timeline and that Adnan is late is that the cell phone records would agree with that detail. I believe he made it to track on time leaving time for Jay and his Friend to search some potential burial sites (or maybe just for Jay to see his wonderful sunset in Patapsco park prior to needing to pickup Adnan from track. Jay mentioned that HE would not take his advice….but why, if he was the criminal mastermind of ABC city? Wasn’t the only reason he told Jay was that he could help him determine a proper hiding site and help him hide his crime??
This detail was from the “Court of Special Appeals” and related to testimony from Jenn:
[Jenn] called the cell phone later and someone answered the phone and
said, “Jay will call you back when he is ready for you to come and get him, he is busy.”
(2/15/00-189) The voice on the cell phone was an older male, deep, not like a kid, and it was not Wilds. (2/16/00-169)
The burial occurs during this time (with the help of Jay) and involved this FRIEND. This is who Jay is scared of (and based on his history I could see why). The burial either occurred during that 3-6pm window (right after the crime) and his FRIEND directed Jay to drive Adnan around the area they chose to put him in that area. Or the burial occurs much later that night after Adnan drops off Jay and prior to the drop off he chooses to drive him to the spot as a foreshadowing of where they would later bury his ex-gf. I know this is all conjecture….and really the truth “lies” with JAY. Where is that jacket that was cast aside and used to partially cover a burial until they later arrived at the site for the 3-4-XXX time during the day.
What a great breakdown of Jays inconsistencies!
One of the points I think that stands out is the Phone Call from ‘Jay’s friends’. At this part of the interview he’s over thought how to explain it.
To know that the phone call happened he would have had to have been with Adnan at the time it happened. “Jay is busy, he’ll have to call you back” would surely be immediately followed by Jay asking “Who was that?” and why would Adnan refuse to tell Jay when he’d let him page her only minutes before hand.
Also, the fact that Jay interjects with this little after thought about the phone call without being prompted for it by the detectives means to him its of importance. Why is it that this phone call is important when all the other phone calls or pages that happen aren’t? Because it’s fabricated by Jenn and Jay to tie their stories together.
Jay referring to Hae’s car as “hot” has me thinking this may have been a car-jacking gone bad. In Jay’s versions, I don’t equate the driving around in Hae’s car as a “stolen car.” What if Hae had been driving and saw Adnan’s car and flagged Jay down thinking it was Adnan ( just to say hi, or whatever)? Perhaps someone was with Jay in Adnan’s car who decided to take the opportunity to steal Hae’s car (or do something to her), but she fought back?
I seriously doubt this was a car-jacking gone wrong. Who steals the car of someone who can identify them? Why steal any car when he’s using Adnan’s car that day already?
The car is not just “hot” because it’s stolen, it is hot because it is a murder victim’s car. It is a red-hot piece of evidence – Jay’s knowledge of the car’s location is the most telling fact that is known to be true.
It is also “hot” because they know that Have is missing, and that the cops must be on alert for her car. They surely have its description and license plate number, so they don’t want to be caught driving it.
That being said, your point about her flagging down thinking it was Jay, or that Jay was in the car, because Jay and Adnan do not look alike, is possible. Then Jay gets in a tiff with her because she insists she is going to tell Stephanie about his fooling around behind Stephanie’s back, and Jay loses it. That is a credible scenario.
Thanks for your efforts. Your take: Because Jay knew of the location of the car, he was involved in the crime. So, how and why did he commit the crime? Did Adnan have any involvement?
I think that (1) Jay helped bury Hae’s body; (2) Jay has never told the truth about what happened on January 13, 1999; and (3) the prosecution’s theory of the case at trial bears little connection with reality.
Since that still leaves us with a pretty vast number of options for what actually happened, there is no way to rule out the possibility that Adnan could have been involved in some way, under some hypothetical scenario. Based on what evidence we have now, I don’t think it’s particularly likely he was involved, but I’d want to see a lot more evidence before I had a firm opinion one way or another.
Just another example of Jay’s story being obsurd yet cops not investigating:
1st story: Adnan throws up twice around burial time, once right near body. Jay smokes a cigarette on a log near body. Was it too long after for this evidence to be searched for? They didnt find this evidence when they found the body? Maybe I’m making a bigger deal than it is but those types of details are so fishy that they’re even mentioned by Jay, like he’s putting in minute details to think of what he’s supposed to say next, I’ve known many liars to do the same thing.
You point out him saying “I” and correcting himself which is very telling, I also noticed him doing it previously.
Re: “Jay: Um prior to Hae Lee’s death. (Int.1 at 27.)” I really think he simply misspoke here, and possibly didn’t know what the word “prior” means.
I’m sure he did. The problem is not that he accidentally said “prior” rather than “after,” the problem is that he did not answer the detective’s question. If Jay had said “after Hae Lee’s death,” it still would not have provided any information about when this hypothetical conversation actually occurred. Of course it occurred after Hae’s death — but if it actually occurred, surely Jay would have been able to give an answer that contained useful information?
And the detectives never even attempt to force Jay to clarify what he means. It is impossible to develop a timeline based on these generic non-answers that don’t actually describe a coherent series of events.
Oh believe me, I’m with you here. I’ve been analyzing Jay for weeks now. I spent 8 hours yesterday making a PP document about him and came here to see that you had already covered everything I said, and better.
I was asked about the “prior to” comment from people who saw my presentation, and it had just always struck me that he didn’t mean “prior to.” Kind of like saying “I take everything with a grain of sand” instead of a “grain of salt.” He tries to sound more intelligent than he his and ends up making silly word mistakes like this.
This is so helpful, thank you. But my query is this – if the cops were not trying to frame Adnan, were they just incompetent? Truly, how did the prosecutor allow this to get to court when there is only Jay’s testimony and the cops never properly investigated it.
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Thank you for such an amazing account of the interviews – the standard of your analysis is so much more competent and balanced than the general reddit stuff.
Could I ask a question? I have been wondering if Adnan was coerced into helping Jay bury the body instead? Just a random thought…..
I would like to know to what extent do you think the inflammatory, prejudicial language used at the bail hearing impacted on the case?
Do you know if the negative comments Adnan’s teachers made regarding his Muslim upbringing were made known to the jury?
For me the mystery is why a jury was directed to find Adnan guilty on what I perceive to be weak evidence?
Fabulous analysis again. I haven’t read all the comments below your post, but I want to point out one thing: one of the critical points that Jay has to keep returning to is that he HAD to have seen Hae in the grave. In his first interview he describes Hae’s position in the grave, something he could only know because he in fact saw her in the grave. Every time his story veers away from his having been present, he somehow has to return to the grave so he has a reason to have correctly described her position in the grave. So, in the second story, he leaves after they dig the grave and waits around the corner while Adnan carries the body and puts it in the grave but — oops — that would not explain why he knew her positioning. So . . . he, for no clear reason, returns to the grave when Adnan comes to find him? And Adnan leaves her in an open grave to get Jay? For what purpose? Nonsense.
Another point missing from both yarns is the placement of the rocks on the grave. This was done by someone who knew it was a good idea to deter wildlife from digging her up. It is entirely possible that this knowledge was the result of watching too many episodes of Law & Order, but it is significant in terms of wrapping up the scene.
In conclusion, I must say that this is one of the best lines I’ve read in a while: “Jay, who is definitely the dumbest person on earth, actually believes Adnan’s threats, and thinks there is a real possibility that the guy who just murdered someone and showed Jay the body is going to call the cops on Jay for selling pot. So Jay agrees.” Thanks for making me chuckle.
This blog is better than the actual podcast. I have another theory to throw into the pot.
Maybe Jay IS telling the truth about his role as an accessory – but he’s changed the name of the murderer. Obviously I’m only reading the words so not getting the nuances of hearing Jay’s spoken testimonial but in amongst the jumble there seem to be small grains of truth where he speaks with confidence – ie when he is asked to help bury the body and said ‘Fuck no’ or words to that effect.
Also, his innate ‘fear’ of the person he’s with. The murderer is clearly the more dominant of the two – telling Jay to drive here, go around the corner, park the car, etc. Clearly Jay is stumbling around doing this guy’s bidding. This just doesn’t really work in the scenario that Adnan is turning to Jay for his help to get rid of the body – in which case Jay, as the quintessential bad dude would be telling Adnan what to do.
Unless … the murderer is someone higher up the food chain than Jay. Maybe one of these mysterious dealers such as Patrick or (sorry I forget the other P name … was it Phil?) maybe this guy has strong-armed Jay into the situation and is the one doing the ordering around.
Jay tries to make a feeble stand about not burying the body but this guy ultimately pulls rank and Jay ends up digging the hole (hence his slips of the tongue), throwing up (which he mentions more than once) while Mr X sits on a log, smoking and grabbing the phone when it rings to say that “Jay’s busy – call back”.
Of course, I’m only analysing behaviour here – no idea what motive Mr X might have had; no idea what motive Jay might have had. But it certainly seems that Adnan is the sacrificial lamb here – served up because he had the misfortune to lend his car and phone to Jay.
Regardless of all of the above, whether Adnan is guilty or innocent, I just cannot see how a jury got beond reasonable doubt on this verdict..
I have been thinking about that too. Jay seems very afraid of someone….but not Adnan. Also, I believe someone who answers the phone for Jay is identified by Jen in court as sounding like an “older man” who answers the phone and says Jay is busy. (I am pulling that from memory, though).
I did see on reddit that some are thinking about Roy Davis, “The Woodland Strangler” who killed a woman 7 months before Hae was killed. Roy Davis was convicted of strangling Jada Lambert and leaving her body in a wooded area by a stream, like Hae’s body. He lived on the street that both Hae and Jada would have traveled the day they disappeared: Liberty Road. Both women were last seen driving alone. Both were 18. However, Jada was sexually assaulted whereas Hae was not.
And may I just add that I very much appreciate the logical, analytical and, most of all, reasoned tone of the debate on these pages. Susan, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this but you have done a phenomenal job of putting this all together. Many thanks – from far-away Queensland!
Here is what happened with the car. You have to remember that time is sticky when you’re high and things don’t quite fit together when you remember them.
1. Jay and Adnan get a call at McDonald’s (more than likely Cathy’s) and then they drive to the Park n Ride.
2. Adnan drives Hae’s car with Jay following. Why they drive ‘all around Baltimore’ is nonsensical, but I will chalk that up to being high.
3. They get to Leakin Park and pull next to each other
4. Adnan tells Jay to go pull up around the bend which Jay does.
5. Adnan drives up around the bend to where Jay’s car is supposed to be (the we dropped it off is just a grammatical error) and then pulls it off the side.
6. Adnan does not see his car or Jay so he begins to think Jay bugged out on him.
7. He’s high, so he just starts walking down the road to somewhere, anywhere that isn’t in the middle of the woods with a dead girl and her car.
8. In reality, Jay had driven up the road a bit to find a place he can turn the car around (you can’t pull a u-turn on roads that are that narrow)
9. As he’s coming back, he sees Adnan just kind of walking down the road, so he picks Adnan up and they have a brief argument in the car.
10. They drive back to where Adnan has laid Hae’s body against the log. They either both or just Adnan take turns digging (I don’t really think that piece matters, and lord knows why but Jay might want to distance himself just enough to say he didn’t dig for or touch the body)
11. After the burial is complete they then get back into Adnan’s car, drive up to Hae’s car and then drive off with Adnan driving Hae’s car and Jay driving Adnan. Again, the fact that he left out the drive back to Hae’s car is not in and of itself super significant because the big point that is sticking out in his weed muddled mind at the time is the fact that they are driving away
I missed a step between 4 and 5 where Adnan is taking the body and putting it in the woods while Jay waits around the bend.
You are one of the few people that seems to interpret the chain of events the same as I do. Makes perfect sense to me.
I really love your analysis. I was really hoping Koenig would make mention of your blog posts in her final episode, but instead she just keeps plodding along, poking at the mystery in the way most people do: looking for a “smoking gun” of innocence, and not really looking for an explanation in Jay’s wildly inconsistent testimony.
The garbled mess you pick through above seems utterly convincing that Jay is making stuff up on the spot, and isn’t very good at spatial reasoning. I don’t think it would be all that hard to come up with a coherent story (“We drove together to the park. We pulled up one in front of the other. Adnan carried the body in, while I followed a bit later with the tools. We dug together, he pushed the body in, we covered it up, and walked back to our cars and went away”.) Simple, hard to mess up. It’s almost comical just how inept he is at this, even with very friendly cops doing their best to help him succeed. He seems to keep tangling up what actually happened (you get glimpses of it, like the reference to a white pillar) with this fictional story that just can’t remember.
I wish there was a graphical way to represent all this nonsense, like an animation or something, so that people could see just how bad (and hence worthless) his testimony is. It’s painful to see so many people excuse all the problems in Jay’s many stories, and yet seize on mistakes or gaps in Adnan’s testimony as instant indication of guilt.
I can appreciate the time you spent dissecting Jay’s statements, but it kind of makes me laugh at how the inconsistency of it all makes a case for Jay acting alone. I gather you haven’t been around stoners before – or maybe just not HEAVY stoners. Well, I have – everyday. My BF, whom I love dearly, is constantly high. All the time. And Jay’s statements sound like the kind of thing my BF would say. He (the BF) gets things wrong, turned around, backwards – and that’s regular conversation. He will say “as you said” when I didn’t say anything at all – he did. He is forever mis-remembering things, calling it out of order and switching around pronouns to the point that you almost have to already know what he’s talking about to understand the story he’s telling. He is ESPECIALLY bad at switching around pronouns (“I” instead of “you” or “they” and vice versa). So, when I read Jay’s statements, I’m just reading the words of a pothead – with no guilt or innocence implied.
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Found your blog late in the game. I’ve had to avoid internet discussions just so I could get my work done!
I’m pretty certain Jay did this or was much more intimately involved based on all the inconsistencies discussed previously, knowing where Hae’s car was, and also his friend Chris’ description of him (stabbing your friend because you think he *needs* to know what it feels like is not normal behavior.)
Your analysis has raised new questions for me but it relates to the investigation. Why, if Jay describes Adnan throwing up in the woods where Hae’s body had been buried, did the cops not have Jay take them to the spot so they could check for DNA evidence, thereby putting Adnan at the scene of the crime (well, one of the scenes)? I can see why the don’t want to expend energy on DNA analysis if it undermines their case (not pushing for analysis of the bottle or rope), but why if they believed Adnan was truly guilty did they not look for evidence of vomit at the scene? They could have taken a few dirt samples. They do more than that on cases from Forensic Files.
I guess someone up-thread said it best. They’re mostly interested in an arrest so they can move on to the next case. Actually solving the case or making sure you catch the real killer is just relegated to crime shows on TV.
To give the detectives the benefit of the doubt here, they were probably safe in assuming that in the weeks between the burial (and supposed vomiting incident) and Jay telling them this detail, there likely would have been no evidence of it to find between the rain/weather and animal/insect activity.
Everything we have to work with is just conjecture on our parts. We are missing some very important pieces of the puzzle, pieces that were available to the jury (I would assume). As the story progresses across the internet, it is intertwined with the opinions and suppositions of a multitude of people. All of these opinions are based upon an incomplete picture.
I for one would love to see Jay’s initial interview transcript to see how the two that followed compared. I would also love to see the trial transcripts.
Scroll up to the top of this page & click on the ‘previous’ icon. The previous blog compares all of Jay’s statements.
The Jury said 1) They believed Jay’s story, convicting mostly on his testimony & 2) They believed that Muslims were violent.
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I appreciate all the work you are doing on this, but Jay’s testimony about the burial doesn’t seem as implausible to me as it seems to be to you.
What I get from it is that they drive to Jay’s house in Adnan’s car and pick up the shovels (I know, Jay is confusing here, but I’m not sure it means anything more than that he is under stress in the interview).
They then drive to the Park & Ride and Adnan picks up Hae’s car. When they get to Leakin Park, they don’t want to park both cars at the roadside, so Jay goes up around the corner (Winans Way?) and Adnan moves Hae’s body from the trunk to the burial site on his own.
Adnan then drives Hae’s car up around the corner and parks it. He doesn’t see Jay immediately (maybe Jay was parked further from the intersection) and is ‘walking on the road’. Then do meet up and drive back to the burial site with the shovels. One or both of them dig the grave, go back out to the road to Adnan’s car, go back up around the corner to pick up Hae’s car, and leave the scene.
I’m not saying Jay is telling the truth, only that the transcripts seem to tell a plausible story to me, if you allow for a minor amount of confused misspeaking (picking up Hae’s car and getting the shovels), possible transcript confusion at times between the words ‘ah’ and ‘I’, and general stress.
I’ll admit I’ve not read everything on this blog but have listened to the Serial podcast numerous times. The podcast mentions on several episodes that there was an ice storm the night of the burial and school was cancelled for the two days after the burial. How is that no one is talking about the fact that Jay and Adnan are out driving around and burying a body in an ice/snow storm? Wouldn’t the ground have been frozen and wouldn’t it have taken considerable time to dig in frozen soil? Much more than 20 to 30 minutes that Jay testified to? Also travel times should be longer with bad road conditions.
Susan can definitely correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that the ice storm hit later in the night. Nevertheless, I, too, have wondered how on earth you would dig even a shallow grave that quickly.
However, as Susan can explain, there is an even bigger issue with the “we buried her at 7 p.m.” story: the burial site is easily visible off of a fairly heavily trafficked road. Anyone burying the victim at that time would have stood a very high risk of being spotted. . . particularly while removing a body from the trunk of a car and carrying it to the site.
I know I am VERY late to all of this stuff. And I am sorry to be commenting on posts you have moved on from. I do not expect anyone to notice this comment, but I haven’t seen others voice this fear, so I feel the need to do so.
I am not on social media at all, or reddit etc. so this is the only place I could think to put this, just in case. Sorry.
The interviews with Jay and Urik seem to be an organised effort to me. They are timed closely together and at the same outlet, which gives the appearence of organising between them. And the link with the lawyer Urik organised for Jay makes me suspicious (considering he apparently couldn’t even contact her after his plea etc.). Also, seeing the oddity of Jay giving an interview at all, nevermind one where he admits lying on the stand, and the “lawyered” appearance of the format (trasnscript) and the clear bias of the “reporter”/interviewer. It seems strategic. And considering the past behaviour of the authorities in this case, I consider a certain level of paranoia to be reasonable. (‘Though I may be too cynical).
My fear here is that this was the prosecution (through Urik etc.) floating a test kite for a new timeline. This fear occurred to me considering how quickly Adnan got a chance to try a new post-conviction appeal in comparison to how long the last one took. And that considering that in one of cases the innocence project worked, – I forget the name now began with a ‘B’ – they guy released was then re-arrested, it seems to me the prosecution in Baltimore seem unwilling to accept fault or error.
What if they grant Adnan a new trial? Will the prosecution be able to make up a new timeline completely? Could they do that anyway? Will the prosecution be able to exclude mention of, or impune Jay’s previous testimony by arguing that it is now publicly acknowleged to be untrue? Is there any way for the defence to exclude Jay’s testemony completely considering he has lied and changed his story through coaching? Is there any way to accuse the prosecution of subjourning purgery maybe if they call Jay? So many other ignorant questions from a foreign non-lawyer…
My gravest concern came from Jay’s new (more believale) time for the burial. Will Adnan now be expected to account for and prove what he was doing at midnight…when he was asleep…when no-one would be able to provide an alibi. And no-one could reasonably be expectd to unless they have CCTV in their room.
I just hope Adnan’s defence is prepared for this, as I can’t see why else they would have let Jay speak to anyone, and I doubt his statements weren’t vetted first. This is so obviously strategic.
This case is so frustrating. There is nothing those of us on the outside can do to help (bar donating to his defence fund) and in cases like this where it seems so obviously a miscarriage of justice, it breaks my heart for the families involved. It has inspired to me to look into becoming a criminal defence lawyer (or rather someone who trawls through documents for a lawyer, as I am not great with people, hence why I am not a practicing psychotherapist now lol).
I hope I’m just paranoid here, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is more to this. People are busy being happy Jay “screwed up”, but it doesn’t seem that simple to me.
Again, sorry to bother you.
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I just heard you describing this on Undisclosed- Susan your clarity and attention to details is a pleasure to read and hear.
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