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.