Full disclosure: this post is something of a cop-out, since I probably will not have time to write another substantive post until this weekend. But while I already addressed a lot of the oddities in Jay’s police interviews, in my previous post about Jay’s descriptions of how Hae was buried, people have been asking about the rest of Jay’s transcripts. So even though, at this point, I am beating a horse that is extremely deceased, I have cleaned up some of my notes on the rest of Jay’s transcripts. But you’ve been warned — unless you happen to have an interest in the smallest details of Jay’s police statements, this post is not for you.
Also, I want to preface this by noting that, from the comments I have received on my previous posts about Jay’s questionable trial testimony, it would appear there is a large segment of Serial listeners who find all of this irrelevant and pointless. A common response seems to be, “Well of course Jay lied about everything — we already know that. But the fact Jay was never able to tell the truth about what happened does not mean that Adnan is innocent, it just means Jay helped Adnan kill Hae.” And I promise that I am getting to that; there is definitely an important discussion to be had about everything in the prosecution’s case that was not based on Jay’s testimony.
But the fact that Jay lied throughout all of the statements he gave cannot be dismissed as blithely as some people would seem to like. First, although Jay’s lies are often excused on the basis that they were only told either to minimize his role in the crime, or to protect Jenn, that simply cannot explain the bulk of Jay’s lies. Yes, some of his lies do appear to have been directed at protecting Jenn, and that is an important piece of the puzzle. (And I would fully agree that all of Jay’s lies are designed to protect himself from being charged with a more serious crime.) But most of Jay’s lies are not about things that could alter his culpability for any crimes — in fact, Jay’s statements grow steadily more inculpating as his interviews go on. (Alhough, if anyone would like to theorize about why lying about Patapsco State Park was so crucial to Jay’s defense, please be my guest.)
Second, while it is true, like I mentioned earlier, that one witness’s fabricated testimony cannot be used to prove Adnan’s innocence, by the same token that fabricated testimony cannot be used to prove Adnan’s guilt, either. Because once you agree that Jay’s story is unreliable, inconsistent, and manufactured, then the only way to conclude that Adnan is guilty is to discard everything in Jay’s statements that is inconsistent with the theory that Adnan and Jay worked together to kill Hae (which is a lot of things to discard), and to also assume the existence of a whole host of additional facts that were not contained in Jay’s testimony, or anywhere else.
But once your theory of the case is based on accepting only those parts of Jay’s testimony that are consistent with Adnan’s guilt, and by speculating about the existence of additional sets of facts to which Jay has never testified — well, how is that any different from simply writing a piece of fiction? By using that approach to Jay’s testimony, it is possible to invent a narrative that supports the guilt of just about any individual connected to Woodlawn.
The Evolution of Jay’s Statements Throughout the First Two Police Interviews:
The transcripts we have from Jay’s first two recorded police statements are not complete records of his interviews with the police on those days. Prior to both the February 28th and the March 15th interviews, the detectives spent a lot of time talking to Jay without the tape rolling. As discussed in Episode 8 of Serial,
This is what’s called the pre-interview, and [Jim] Trainum says, that’s where the mischief can happen. (Episode 8.)
And we know for a fact that, during these pre-interviews, Jay made some pretty significant statements to the police. Statements that were wholly different from we have in the taped portion of the interview:
Detective: And during that conversation [before the recorded interview] we spoke probably for about a half hour, forty-five minutes, the information that you provided during this interview was it the same information that you provided during the first interview?
Detective: During the first interview there were a lot of inconsistencies.
Detective: And there are too many to go over but you kind of disassociated yourself from all the information you provided in this interview. Why is that?
Jay: Scared. (Int.1 at 24-25.)
We also know that, prior to the interview on March 15, 1999, there was a pre-interview that lasted even longer than the one before the first interview — approximately three hours in total. Later that evening, throughout the “real” interview (the taped interview), the detectives repeatedly referred to Jay’s statements during the pre-interview to prompt Jay into including details he had forgotten to include for the taped portion:
Detective: After you go to Best Buy parking lot, you said in the, the pre- interview that there may of been a reason why he picked that particular spot? (Int.2 at 51.)
Detective: During the pre, pre-interview you said um, maybe you wanna try her new boyfriend that she may be with him? (Int.2 at 63.)
This is significant because of how much power it puts in the detectives’ hands to shape the narrative, even if they do nothing else to distort Jay’s statement. Because if Jay said anything troubling to their case during the “pre-interview” phase, then the detectives can simply fail to bring it up during the “real” interview. Conversely, if during the “pre-interview” Jay said anything particularly useful for their case against Adnan (even if Jay also gave contradictory evidence at the same time), the detectives can be sure to selectively bring the useful portion up in the “real” interview, while neglecting to prompt Jay to discuss any of the more troubling portions of his earlier statements.
This is not to say that the way the detectives questioned Jay was somehow “wrong” or prohibited; all of this was permissible, at the time. But while not unethical, the detectives’ method of questioning of Jay now leaves us with many reasons to be skeptical about the information he provided. Because not only were his statements inconsistent, they also often seem to have originated from a source other than himself.
Again and again throughout the interviews, the detectives try to pin Jay down by asking him aggressive questions designed to confirm the detectives’ theory of the case. The detectives propose a theory, and when Jay says “yes, that’s what happened,” the detectives simply accept his answer, even though the suggestion originally came from the detectives, not from Jay. Or, sometimes, the detectives do even try to confirm that Jay’s “yes” answers are legitimate, by asking Jay to provide additional details. But when Jay is completely unable to provide those additional details, the detectives simply move on, completely ignoring the fact he was unable to verify his prior responses.
Let’s take an example from the first interview. The following exchange occurs when the detectives are asking Jay about what happened when he picked Adnan up from Edmondson Avenue:
Detective: You arrive twenty minutes later at this location on Edmondson Avenue, then what happens?
Jay: Um I drove… I followed him to…. I followed him out into…
Detective: Do you get out of your car when you get on Edmondson Avenue and have any conversation with him?
Jay: Uh huh, yeah.
This excerpt is particularly interesting, because we now know that the Edmondson Avenue story was complete bollocks. So, with that in mind, it seems like there is an obvious reason why Jay is having trouble thinking of an answer to the detective’s question: because he is making the whole thing up. But look at how Jay’s responses conform to the detective’s suggestion. When trying to explain what happens after he arrives at Edmondson, Jay starts stammering, unable to answer, and appears to be immediately jumping to the portion of the story in which he follows Adnan to the I-70 Park’n’Ride (“Um I drove… I followed… I followed…”). But this is not how the story is supposed to go — there is supposed to be this whole scene where Adnan performs the infamous “trunk pop.” Only Jay has completely omitted it.
So the detective cuts in and saves Jay from screwing up his story, by suggesting something that might have happened while he and Adnan were still on Edmondson Avenue: “Do you get out of your car . . . And have any conversation with him?” Jay takes the detective’s suggestion and runs with it, answering, “Uh huh, yeah.”
The detective then asks Jay a follow-up question, apparently trying to induce Jay to give the trunk-pop story. But when Jay is asked to talk more about what this imaginary “conversation” actually entailed, it does not work:
Detective: Tell me about that.
Jay: Um we got out, oh and we… He’s walking around with red gloves on um. (Int.1 at 7.)
Jay initially starts to stammer an answer, but he is unable to describe the conversation he had with Adnan; he apparently does not remember that he is supposed to be talking about the trunk pop. So Jay starts describing Adnan’s gloves, before launching into a story about a conversation he and Adnan had about those gloves:
Jay: Yeah, they’re like wool with ah leather palms and … and that sparked you know, “what the fuck you walking around with gloves on for,” and then, I’m sorry, um and then he goes “I did it, I did it. You don’t fucking believe me, I did it.” He pops the trunk open and he’s like “she’s all blue up in there inaudible in the trunk.” (Int.1 at 8.)
There is something odd about this exchange that I will discuss more in a bit.1 Notice how, after Jay initially tries to describe the conversation about the red gloves, Jay suddenly stops himself, says, “I’m sorry,” and begins describing an entirely different conversation instead? Why exactly is Jay apologizing here?
But aside from the odd apology, you can also see how the detective’s question appears to be directing Jay to give a particular statement, cuing him in to the fact that he needs to talk about how Adnan showed him Hae’s body. Because if the detective had not stopped Jay, it seems like he was going to launch straight into the story of how they went to the Park’n’Ride.
Things get worse in the second interview. The leading questions from the first interview were not particularly unreasonable, in themselves, but by the time the second interview comes around, the questions are no longer simply “leading.” The detectives are not just prompting Jay to give a specific answer — they are prompting Jay to change answers he has already given. There are numerous examples of this throughout the transcript: Jay will answer one of the detectives’ questions, but the detective will indicate dissatisfaction with Jay’s response — and Jay will respond by instantly reversing himself, giving a completely new answer to the question than he had before.
For example, while discussing the conversation Adnan and Jay supposedly had at Patapsco State Park, the following exchange occurs:
Detective: Did [Adnan] name any locations [where he could bury Hae’s body]?
Jay: None at all.
Detective: Um, he didn’t say, you know what about here you know, he didn’t name up a half dozen locations and you gave him thumbs up or thumbs down?
Jay: Um, I just nah he ah, said something to me ah, to the effect of the State Park, where we were, a little bit up the river, but I told him people walk up and down there. That was the only thing that. (Int.2 at 18-19.)
Note here how Jay gives a very direct answer to the detective’s question — “none at all.” But the detective immediately pushes back, asking, “Are you sure that this hypothetical conversation didn’t happen, where Adnan names places to bury Hae’s body and you gave approval or criticism to his ideas? Like, perhaps, did Adnan maybe suggest what about burying the body here?” And Jay stammers for a moment, begins to repeats his answer of “no,” and then suddenly changes his story to match the detective’s question, flipping his answer from “none at all,” to “ah, yes, actually, something exactly like you suggested did occur.”
A similar exchange occurs later on, when the detectives are questioning Jay about why Adnan chose the spot on Franklintown Road to bury Hae:
Detective: Did it seem like he had been there [to that spot] before?
Jay: Possibly. (Int.2 at 30-31.)
But the detective doesn’t seem to like that answer. A moment later, he asks Jay the exact same question once again:
Detective: Did he give you the impression that he had been there before?
Jay: Why, because he knew that there was ah, I had heard a noise and I looked up and inaudible a small creek that ran behind there. (Int.2 at 31.)
Even though that exact same question had been asked literally seconds before, the second time the question is asked Jay gives a new answer, this time one which supports the detective’s premeditation case. But when the detective tries to ask Jay for more details in support this new answer, Jay completely falls apart. He can’t do it. Look at how nonsensical his response is — how could Jay have possibly gotten the impression that Adnan had been there before based on the fact that Jay heard a noise, looked up, and saw a creek? Note that Jay is not claiming Adnan ever told him about this creek — he just launches into a story about what he heard that night as he walked out into the woods. (Besides — if Adnan had been to this spot before, why does Jay also say that Adnan spent 45 minutes driving to Patapsco and back looking for a grave site? And why does Jay also say that Adnan only chose this spot because it was the only spot in Leakin Park where they could find somewhere to park?)
There are numerous other examples of how the detectives keep asking Jay the same questions until they get an answer they like. For instance, Jay’s initial story was that Adnan only told him about the murder on the day that it occurred, and Jay had not believed him. In the first interview, Jay said this about his conversations with Adnan, when Adnan was talking about killing Hae:
Detective: Did you believe ah [Adnan] during this conversation?
Jay: Not in the context of the conversation, it didn’t, no. (Int.1 at 4.)
And at the start of the second interview, Jay tries to stick with this same story:
Jay: During the conversation [Adnan] stated, um, that he was gonna kill that bitch, referring to Hae Lee. Ah, I didn’t, I took it with contexts and stand out my inaudible. (Int.2 at 4.)
But the detectives clearly are not satisfied with this answer (likely because they are looking to beef up their premeditation charge against Adnan, and need some firm evidence from Jay that Adnan planned the murder in advance). So after Jay finishes his initial statement in the second interview, the detectives immediately begin to push back against Jay’s claim that he thought Adnan was joking:
Jay: [Adnan] told me, he said, almost jokingly, I think I’m gonna kill her, yeah, I think I’m gonna kill her.
Detective: However, the whole purpose of him being with you that day was to ask you for your assistance?
Jay: Yes. (Int.2 at 4.).
Note how Jay tried to keep going with the story that Adnan seemed like he was “joking” when he talked about killing Hae. But as soon as Jay did so, the detective jumped right in to correct him: “However,” the detective informs Jay, the real purpose of your shopping trip was to discuss your cold-blooded plans to kill Hae, correct? And Jay dutifully answers yes.
And again, in the following excerpt, you can see that the detective pretty much stops pretending to be seeking answers from Jay about how he and Adnan planned Hae’s murder. Instead, the detective describes to Jay how it happened, and asks Jay to confirm that is what occurred:
Detective: But he told you he was, he was gonna kill her?
Detective: Because she had broke his heart?
Detective: And that night he contacted you again?
Detective: And made plans to meet with you on the 13th?
Jay: Yes, to come, I’m sorry.
Detective: Where he could give you his car and cell phone to assist him?
Detective: And you’ll explain that later correct?
Jay: Yes. (Int.2 at 5.)
It is hard to say that Jay is even giving a police statement here. All he is doing is saying “yes,” while the detective provides his own answers.
And here is another example of where Jay starts to stray off of the narrative again:
Detective: So you knew the night before, what time does this conversation take place?
Jay: About 11 [p.m.], but it wasn’t like, I don’t know um, I’m sorry inaudible…
Detective: So he calls you sometime around 11 o’clock, this is your birthday and says, something to the effect tomorrow I’m gonna do it.
Detective: And you interpret that was, tomorrow sometime he’s gonna kill…
Jay: So he says yes. (Int.2 at 45-46.)
Detective: And where do you go?
Jay: We go back to 70 Parking Ride. Um, he gets out of his car, tells me to follow him. We get. he gets into her car um, he drives it we drove um, a round to a whole bunch of different places. Ah, some off of ah, Ro[lling] Road, ah, some off of Dogwood Road. Um, finally he he goes down pass [Leakin] Park, he ah, he um, no this is wrong, I’m sorry I miss something. We leave Cathy’s and Jeff’s and ah, I asked him to drop me off. And we go back to my house and when we’re standing on my porch that’s when he tells me that we have to go back, we have to get rid of the body, we have to get rid of the body.
Detective: But apparently you took him at heart because after he told you that, later that day you and Jenn went to Gelston [ ] Park and you told Jenn that.
Detective: That Adnan was gonna kill Hae Lee. So apparently he said some thing that made you think that he was actually gonna go through with it.
Jay: Yes he did, it wasn’t, I mean it was just I’m sorry.
Detective: He was no no longer joking around that he was gonna do it?
Jay: Right it wasn’t like you know, you can look in somebody’ s face and see a chuckle or a smile it’s stone cold, I think I’m gonna kill that bitch.
Detective: You took it so seriously that you told Jenn.
Jay: Yes. (Int.2 at 48.)
Notice a common theme here?
Take a look what happens every time Jay starts to give an answer that does not conform to the “Jay and Adnan planned this days in advance and buried her together” narrative: he says “I’m sorry” and changes his story. In fact, throughout all of the second interview, Jay apologizes to the detectives eleven times. In contrast, throughout all of the first interview, Jay apologized only twice — once in the first example, given above, and once more in an unrelated context, when Jay is identifying the name of Woodlawn High School.
So why has Jay started apologizing so much in the second interview? And why do all these apologies happen whenever Jay either gives an answer the detectives don’t like, or when he seems to have forgotten what he was going to say next?
Well, just from my own experience in sitting through depositions, and later wading through the transcripts, one possible explanation does come to mind: Jay is saying “I’m sorry” in response to non-verbal cues from the detectives. Intense stares, skeptical glances, or exchanges of knowing looks between the interviewers — it is impossible to tell what exactly is going on here. But something sure seems to be happening that is causing Jay to apologize every time he gets his story wrong.
Or take this example, of Jay describing what happened after leaving Hae’s car at the I-70 Park’n’Ride:
Detective: What do you do then?
Jay: Um, we leave there, ah, on the way to Forrest Park, I place a phone call to ah, a friend of mine ah, see if he could get any weed. We ah, I took, I, I didn’t talk to him, I got his machine, he wasn’t home.
Detective: Who is that?
Jay: Ah, Patrick.
[. . .]
Detective: And why did you call him?
Jay: To get . . . Marijuana.
[. . .]
Detective: During the trip from ah, Route 70, over to Forrest Park were you ah, buy marijuana?
Detective: You made the phone call to your friend?
Jay: Oh. (Int.2 at 14-16.)
Jay’s “Oh” says it all. The detective has just reminded him that he screwed up his story once again — because the phone call to Patrick was the fourth call after the Park’n’Ride, based on the cell records. The first three were to Jenn, Nisha, and Phil. But Jay’s narrative completely forgets to mention any of these, and you can see how the detective not-so-subtly cues Jay into this fact: “First.”
The detective then tries to help Jay recover, asking him, “Did anybody else use the phone?” (Int.2 at 16.) And right on cue, Jay launches into the Nisha story:
Jay: Yeah um, Adnan, I can’t remember whether he received a c all or placed a call, but I do remember he was talking to a girl um, I can’t remember her name. He put me on the phone with her for like 3 minutes.
[. . .]
Detective: Is there anything significant about this conversation that you remember?
Jay: No nothing out of the ordinary. (Int.2 at 16-17.)
In fact, Jay can literally remember only a single thing about this ten-minute phone call: that the girl lived in Silver Spring.
Here’s another example from the second interview. But this one cannot really be described as “witness coaching” — it is more like “witness telling.” As Jay is describing what happened when he and Jenn returned to Cathy’s apartment that night, the detective literally instructs Jay to give a different answer from the one he initially offered:
Detective: Did you tell [Cathy and Jeff] [about Adnan killing Hae].
Jay: Ah, maybe later, at that time I don’t, I don’t remember what I, I may had told Jeff, I may had told [Cathy’s] boyfriend Jeff, but I know I didn’t tell…
Detective: What did you tell Jeff?
Jay: Um, if I had told him, my exact words were would of been that dude killed his girlfriend.
Detective: Not if you told him.
Jay: Okay I’m sorry.
Detective: What did you tell…
Jay: That dude killed his girlfriend.
Detective: And what did Jeff say . . . to you?
Jay: For real. Ah, snap.
Detective: That it. Were you guys getting high then?
Jay: Yes. (Int.2 at 43-44.)
Jay states, pretty clearly, that he does not remember telling Jeff anything about Hae’s death, although he continues his response by giving the hypothetical answer of “if I had told him, I would have said….”
But then the detective stops him: “Not if you told him.” (Int.2 at 44) (emphasis added). Jay promptly apologizes to the detective: “Okay I’m sorry.” The detective then clarifies what response he wants Jay to give (“What did you tell…”), and Jay obediently gives this new answer, stating that, yes, in fact, he did tell Jeff about Hae’s murder, describing what was said during this (totally real and completely not imaginary) conversation.
There are many more examples of this throughout the transcript, but there is one more oddity in particular that is worth highlighting. The following exchange occurs when Jay describes what happened after he and Adnan left Leakin Park:
Detective: What do you do then?
Jay: Um, hum, we drive to Westview on, I told him take me home. And on the way going home we pass by Westview and he says I better get rid of this stuff.
Detective: You got two 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 two cars. (Int.2 at 35.)
Look at what Jay says here: “I’m sorry, I apologize. [ ] I’m missing . . . Top spots. [ ] I’m sorry.”
This is, well, weird. What is Jay talking about ? What exactly is he “missing”? And what are the “top spots” he is referring to? I am not sure, but I do wonder: does Jay mean that he is missing something he needs in order to finish his statement — such as, perhaps, some sort of written reference material he can rely on, for when he forgets his place?
The Weird Lies About the Phone Calls by Adnan to Jenn’s House:
One of the more bizarre portions of the second transcript is the discussion concerning how Adnan made the “come-and-get-me” call. Here is how it starts:
Detective: Okay, um, at some point you left . . . Jenn’s house?
Detective: Do you have any idea what time that was?
Jay: About 3:40.
Detective: Was Jenn still there?
Detective: And where were you going?
Jay: I was going to pick up Adnan.
Detective: Had you gotten a phone call from him?
Jay: Yes on the cell phone.
Detective: While you were at Jenn’s house?
Jay: Not on the cell phone while I was at Jenn’s, he had called on a hard line, while I was at Jenn’s and then um.
Detective: Adnan had called on the cell phone?
Jay: I know, I’m sorry, Adnan had called on the hard line while I was at Jenn’s house. (Int.2 at 10.)
I really wish we knew, here, what the detective was saying in the portion of the transcript that he was “inaudible.” Because this exchange certainly looks pretty suggestive.
There are two ways of interpreting it. The more benign way is that Jay is simply lying again, and getting his lies mixed up, since Jay has never before mentioned (and as far as I know, does not ever again mention) that Adnan called Jay on Jenn’s home landline. But that still leaves us with a question — why would Jay be lying about a landline call in the first place?
The other explanation, the less benign one, is that what we are seeing here is the prosecution’s (failed) attempt to shoehorn Jay’s story into matching the cell phone records. Because throughout all of his interviews with the police, Jay has adamantly insisted, over and over again, that, on the day of Hae’s death, Adnan called him at 3:40 p.m. to request a pick up. In fact, the 3:40 p.m. claim is the single most consistent claim made in all of Jay’s stories — one he never waivers on, and one he never forgets to include.
But that is pretty darned inconvenient for the prosecution. Because the cell phone records prove that the 3:40 p.m. call never happened.
From the above excerpt, though, it appears that, at one point, the prosecution thought it had found a solution for this little wrinkle — what if the 3:40 p.m. call was not made to Adnan’s cell phone, but to Jenn’s landline instead? That certainly appears to be the story that the detectives are spooning to Jay in this excerpt. And it is a good story; it could have worked to reconcile Jay’s timeline with the cell phone records, and allow the prosecution to argue that a come-and-get-me call was made at 3:40 p.m., just as Jay has said all along.
Only Jay screws it up. He forgets to say that Adnan called him on Jenn’s landline, and says instead that Adnan called him “on the cell phone.” Immediately after Jay says this, the detective jumps in to interrupt him, asking Jay to clarify once more: “While you were at Jenn’s?” And Jay instantly tries to change his story, offering up a denial that Adnan ever called Jay on the cell phone while he was at Jenn’s: “Not on the cell phone while I was at Jenn’s, he had called on a hard line, while I was at Jenn’s.”
But Jay still appears to be confused, and when asked once more to clarify whether the call was to the cell phone or the landline, Jay claims again that the call was to the cell phone. The detective says something inaudible, and Jay responds by instantly apologizing (“I know, I’m sorry”) and correcting his story (“Adnan had called on the hard line.”).
If this reading of the transcript is correct, then to call these questions “leading” would be a vast understatement. But it very much seems like that is what is going on here — Jay gives one story (about Adnan calling on the cell phone), and when the detectives ask him to clarify if he really meant that the call was on the cell phone, Jay says he is sorry and gives a new story instead (about Adnan calling on the landline). But a few questions later, Jay is already veering off narrative again, trying to describe cell phone calls he previously claimed had not happened, and describing a landline call about something totally different than it was before. Jay just can’t keep all these stories straight.
The resulting transcript is not pretty, and once again Jay winds up massively contradicting himself within a single page of transcript. Because in his initial statement about the calls he received from Adnan while at Jenn’s house, Jay explains that while he was at Jenn’s house: (1) he did not receive any calls from Adnan on the cell phone; and (2) he received a call from Adnan on Jenn’s landline, and that this call was to tell Jay “he was gonna need [Jay] to pick him up at a certain time, that was 3:30.”
But a few seconds later, after a series of prompting questions from the detective, Jay gives a a new answer entirely, explaining that while at Jenn’s house: (1) he received three phone calls from Adnan on the cell phone;2 and (2) he received a fourth call from Adnan on Jenn’s landline, and that in this fourth phone call, Adnan “told [Jay] he was leaving school then. . . . he just said he was leaving school” (Int.2 at 11).
Two completely different stories, only two pages apart. And both of them are still completely blatant fabrications — because Jay still keeps insisting that at 3:40 p.m., he received a call from Adnan asking to be picked up. Something that we know could not have happened.
Answers Showing that Jay Knows Too Much:
In addition to the portions of the transcript that show where Jay’s testimony has been coached, corrected, and supplied by the detectives interviewing him, there are other portions of the transcript that seem to show Jay has knowledge of things that, if Adnan were truly the killer, Jay could not have known. Because Jay seems to know an awful lot about things going on inside of Adnan’s head. Things like Adnan’s subjective state of mind, objects that Adnan observed when Jay was not around, and the reasons that Adnan made certain decisions.
Here is one example, for instance, of something Jay could have actually learned from Adnan, but where the conversation Jay describes seems… well… highly unlikely, to say the least. The detective is asking Jay about the clothes that Hae was wearing when she was buried, and Jay gives the following answer:
Detective: What happened to her shoes?
Jay: He told me he left them in the car.
Detective: He told you he left them in the car?
Jay: Uh huh. (Int.1 at 17.)
Is it possible that Adnan decided to inform Jay what happened to Hae’s shoes?
Sure. Some time during Jay and Adnan’s post-murder road trip through western Baltimore, Adnan could have turned to Jay and said, “By the way, I’m leaving Hae’s shoes in her car.” But does that really sound plausible? Adnan told Jay about what he had decided to do with Hae’s shoes? Of all the things they could talk about, of all the things Adnan might have told Jay, one of them was, “Oh by the way, Hae’s shoes are in her car”?
Jay’s response would be understandable if he had asked Adnan anything else about the plan for the murder or the cover up. But Jay doesn’t. In the entire first interview, he never indicates that he has, at any point, asked Adnan a single question about what they are going to do, or how Hae was killed. He does not question Adnan about any part of the murder or the disposal of the body of the evidence, or ask for any details, or suggest that he expressed any concern or curiosity about any part of Adnan’s plans. If Jay asked Adnan about Hae’s shoes, then according to his first interview, this is the one and only question that Jay ever asked Adnan that day.
More importantly, the transcript shows that Detective Ritz is surprised by Jay’s answer. As soon as Jay answers the detective’s question, he repeats Jay’s question, word for word, clarifying that Jay gave the answer he thought he heard. I would bet dollars to donuts that if we had the audio for this interview, we would hear a note of surprise or skepticism in the detective’s voice — because Ritz has sat there with Jay for several hours at this point, and this statement about Hae’s shoes is completely disconnected from everything else Jay says about the crime.
Of course, there’s another explanation for why Jay knows where Hae’s shoes were left. Because he’s the one that left them there. And saying “Adnan told me” is simply Jay’s way of answering everything every question the detectives ask about things only Adnan should have knowledge of.
But sometimes, Jay does not even bother to offer the excuse of “Adnan told me.” Sometimes, Jay simply knows exactly what Adnan is thinking, even when the two of them could not have been communicating at the time:
Jay: And um he figured to leave it on the strip since it was hot anyway, he would just inaudible and ah he didn’t like that one so we drove back on this side of town and down off of Route 40 or Edmondson Avenue, which I do not recall, ah we went to a strip up there and parked the car back back in ah inaudible strip I mean off ah a little side street.
Detective: After he parks the car there, than what happens?
Jay: He moves it… he didn’t like that spot so he moved to another spot. After he moved it to the second spot then he got out the car and acted like he was carrying her purse and her wallet and he had some other stuff in his hand and ah. (Int.1 at 19.)
There are two things that are suspicious about this exchange. The first is really only of minor concern, but notable nonetheless. According to Jay, the reason Adnan thought about leaving Hae’s car on “the strip” was because her car “was hot anyway.” But this seems like such an incongruous thing, compared to everything else that we know about Adnan — did he really have this kind of experience with stolen vehicles? Why would Adnan be describing a car as “hot”? Maybe not a big deal, but it is odd.
But the second issue is much more problematic for Jay. Because regardless of whether Adnan would have used that type of jargon, what Jay is describing in this exchange is Adnan’s inner monologue while driving around in Hae’s car. Remember, according to Jay, he is just following Adnan around, in a different car, without really knowing what the heck is going on. Adnan and Jay aren’t talking.
And yet, somehow, Jay has very detailed knowledge of Adnan’s thoughts and feelings during this time period. Jay tells the detectives that he knows Adnan “figured to leave it on the strip because it was hot anyway” — but how could Jay possibly have known that Adnan considered that? Jay does not mention them ever discussing this. Nor does it seem likely that something so precise would come up in conversation.
But the only other way Jay could know what the person driving Hae’s car was “figuring” to do is if Jay was, in fact, the one driving Hae’s car, trying to figure out what to do.
And then in Jay’s second interview, he does the same thing all over again. After initially forgetting (as discussed above) that he and Adnan were in two different cars when they left Leakin Park, the detectives remind him of that fact, and then Jay says the following:
Jay: We leave [Leakin Park], we we still do have 2 cars. Um, he he ah, motion for me to follow him. I follow him, we’re driving around all in the city. I asked him were in the hell are we going and um, he says where’s a good strip at, I need a strip. So we drive ah, down Edmondson Avenue, off of one of those cross streets before you get to the brake, you know were I’m talking about. And um, it seems like he knew were this place was cause there’s a parking lot, but it’s in the middle of whole bunch of houses. (Int.2 at 35.)
But if Jay and Adnan are driving around in separate cars, and they only have one cell phone between them, how does Jay ask Adnan “where in the hell are we going”? And how does Adnan ask Jay “where’s a good strip at”?
And why did the detectives not think to ask Jay about such an obvious impossibility?
Finally, there is one last comment from Jay’s second interview that is worth pointing out, even if it is too subjective to show much. But the following comment seems very peculiarly phrased indeed:
Jay: I asked [Adnan] a questions, I said ah, grant it you didn’t like her, but ah, you you really think she deserve to die. And he said that anyone who who treats him like that, anyone who could stand in his face and be that heartless deserves to die. (Int.2 at 19.)
“Granted you didn’t like her”? What a very odd thing for Jay to have said. The state’s theory of the case was that Adnan was obsessively in love with her, and/or hated her, because Hae had “broke[n] his heart.” And Jay’s statements to the police supported this theory — Adnan’s feelings towards Hae are never described anywhere else as being a simple matter of “not liking” Hae. So why, in asking Adnan about whether Hae ‘deserved to die,’ would Jay preface his question with something as neutral as “granted you didn’t like her”?
Incidentally, we do know that Jenn didn’t like Hae (Int.2 at 48). I wonder if, perhaps, Jay didn’t like her either.
FN.1. Actually, there is one other odd thing about this excerpt that is worth noting too. The fact that Jay was able to remember the two kinds of materials used in Adnan’s gloves stands in stark contrast to most of Jay’s statements in the interviews. There is a level of precise detail here that is not present in most of his answers, as most of the time Jay’s responses tend towards vague generalities. Who knows – maybe Jay just really likes clothes, and takes careful note of what those around him wear. But it is still odd, and there is room for us to wonder why his memory is so sharp on this minor point.
FN.2. The three phone calls that Jay describes also show evidence of coaching from the detectives:
Detective: [H]ow many phone calls did you receive?
Detective: And what was the nature of the calls?
Jay: Um, one was ah, to check and see if the phone was on.
Detective: And who made that call?
Jay: Adnan. Um, the other, the other was ah, the other was, I was telling him that I was gonna be there. That’s where I was gonna be at, that was the 2nd one. And the 3rd one, I can’t, it was very short, I can’t remember what we conversated about. (Int.2 at 11.)
But why would Jay have such precise memories of exactly three phone calls being made on the cell phone that afternoon — when he literally has no memory of what one of those phone calls was about? (And for that matter, why would Adnan have called Jay three times to tell him such dumb things?) The answer is obvious: Jay has been informed that there were three incoming calls to Adnan’s cell phone during the time period he claims to have been at Jenn’s house — the calls at 12:43 p.m., 2:36 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. — and therefore Jay’s statement is required to explain what these three calls were about. Or at least attempt to explain what they were about — Jay couldn’t quite do it. He was able to think up with three weird reasons that Adnan might have called him that day, but Jay was unable to think up a fourth. So he simply went with “I can’t remember what we conversated about” instead.
What is really interesting here, though, is that this mean’s Jay’s police statement in his second interview is an explicit denial that the 2:36 p.m. call was the “come-and-get-me” call. It seems that, at this point, the prosecution was still very much going with the theory that the “come-and-get-me” call had been made at 3:45 p.m., just like Jay had told them over and over again. It appears to have been only later, at trial, that the prosecution abandoned this theory, having realized that it was impossible to construct a tenable case based Jay’s claim that the call was at 3:40 p.m. (because Jay had screwed up the story about Adnan calling on the “landline,” there was no longer a viable way to explain how the call had been made at that time). They were therefore forced to distort their timeline to try and make the 2:36 p.m. call the Best Buy call — even though, throughout Jay’s police statements, the detectives had completely accepted it as a fact that Hae had been killed a little before 3:40 p.m., just as Jay had told them.
(One last note. (And I promise this is actually the last one.) This could explain, perhaps, why Adnan’s defense counsel was so unconcerned by Asia’s supposed alibi for Adnan, even though Asia placed Adnan in the library at 2:30 p.m. — because throughout all of the pre-trial investigation, and throughout at least Jay’s first two interviews, everyone was working under the theory that the murder occurred just before 3:40 p.m., and a 2:30 p.m. alibi would be meaningless.)