Serial: More Details About Jay’s Transcripts Than You Could Possibly Need

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?
Jay: No.
Detective: During the first interview there were a lot of inconsistencies.
Jay: Yes.
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: Yes.
Detective: Why?
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?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: Because she had broke his heart?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: And that night he contacted you again?
Jay: Yes.
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?
Jay: Yes.
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.
Jay: Yeah.
Detective: And you interpret that was, tomorrow sometime he’s gonna kill…
Jay: So he says yes. (Int.2 at 45-46.)

And another:

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.

And another:

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.
Jay: Yes.
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?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: You made the phone call to your friend?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: First.
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.
Detective: Okay.
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?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: Do you have any idea what time that was?
Jay: About 3:40.
Detective: 3:40?
Jay: Yeah.
Detective: Was Jenn still there?
Jay: Yes.
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: Yes.
Detective: Inaudible.
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?
Jay: 3.
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.)

209 thoughts on “Serial: More Details About Jay’s Transcripts Than You Could Possibly Need

  1. Thank you, this is excellent and persuasive analysis, and NOT more details than needed. In fact, lots of details on Jay’s statements are exactly what are needed. If Jay’s assertion that Adnan killed Hae is true, then Adnan is guilty. If Jay’s testimony is irredeemably inconsistent or illogical, then there is reasonable doubt.

    After reading this post I am more convinced than ever that Jay committed the murder alone, and then the police very conveniently helped him pin the crime on Adnan. Jay slips so easily into describing himself burying the body alone, driving Hae’s car alone, knowing about Hae’s shoes, and quotes from the killer’s internal monologues of where to bury Hae and where to leave her car. The police aren’t just coaching him, they’re contradicting the answers that don’t match their theory and giving him repeated opportunities to revise his story to their liking, while never questioning or even acknowledging the inconsistencies.

    “…anyone who could stand in his face and be that heartless deserves to die.” This implies that Hae was murdered after harshly confronting (heartlessly getting in the face of) the killer. Who did Hae confront that day? There is no evidence that Hae had any reason to confront Adnan — their breakup and the fact that they were both seeing other people was old news by that point. They were on friendly terms, as evidenced by the fact that Adnan called her the night before to give her his new phone number, and she wrote the number down in her diary. But, according to Adnan, Hae had recently learned that Jay was cheating (“stepping out”) on her good friend Stephanie, and was planning to confront Jay about it. REASONABLE DOUBT

  2. So glad I discovered your blog through Serial. I love all your analysis and look forward to reading future entries. Please keep up the excellent work.

  3. Hey Susan.

    This is incredible work. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Have you made any attempt to contact Serial or Sarah Koenig? I’d love to know if they have read this. It’s so in depth and accurate. I have found your last few blog posts to expand so much more on the topic than they are either able or willing to do on the podcast and I’m just as excited for your next post if not more than for the next episode.

    • I am sure that Serial’s team has already gone through everything I’ve laid out here, months ago!

      They also have access to all of the transcripts and records, which means that they would be able to track exactly how Jay’s story developed at every stage of the game. So whatever they have done, it’s going to be much more comprehensive than what I was able to lay out here.

      • I think you are doing yourself a disservice. You have laid out your analysis in a clear, easy to read and logical fashion (I was going to say concise, but comprehensive is more apt!) I too am looking forward to further posts as much as the podcast itself.

        I was wondering what you think about the possibility of Jay purposely getting Adnan (unusually) high on the night in question (Rabia mentions he had smoked his first blunt that night) thinking he might use him as a patsy further down the line. It would seem strange to choose the night you know you have to visit your father in the mosque to get so wasted.

        • When I first saw that theory, I thought it was pretty silly. But then after the reading the transcripts… well, I still don’t think it’s likely, but I don’t think it can be ruled out, either:

          Detective: What happens there?
          Jay: We smoke again. Um, he’s feeling a little nausea from a cigarette I’d given him him prior to going in the house. So he sits away from the group.

          So we know that Jay definitely gave him the substance that made him out of it, and that Jay has a pretty clear memory of that incident. If I were on Mythbusters, I’d give this one a “plausible” tag.

          What is also interesting is that Jay seems to completely agree that Adnan’s odd behavior at Cathy’s apartment was because he was feeling sick from that cigarette, and not because of guilt/emotional turmoil.

      • Did the investigation look into where the red gloves came from? Were they Hae’s? Did jay ever own a pair or adnan? Did somebody buy them? Also the phone records from jenn’s house? I think that jay is sticking to the 3:40 cannbecause it is an aibi. Actually adnan is his entire alibi.

      • Susan, you do not give yourself enough credit. You analysis is so much better than what we have heard on Serial. I hope Rabia is in touch with you…

        You are looking at this as a lawyer or maybe investigator, and Sarah, with all due respect, doesn’t seem to have mined the data as well as you have.

  4. Judge Wanda, the judge that sent Adnan to prison said couple of days ago that ” the evidence was overwhelming”
    I don’t know if this is her ego talking or it really was OVERWHELMING.

  5. I’m willing to entertain the possibility that Jay actually had no involvement in the murder or burial at all, and knew nothing of it.

    He was a known drug dealer, scared stiff of the police, probably convinced that they could pin the murder on him if they wanted to, and decided early on to just give them the story they wanted, minimizing his own role.

    The only concrete thing that says Jay knew anything about it was “leading the police to the car”. There are other possible explanations for that, including that the police already knew where the car was and had him ritually lead them there just to substantiate his story.

    A question for anyone with experience in such matters:

    If a car is reported missing along with a missing person, and it gets parked in a publicly visible place in a city, only a few miles from where the person was last seen, what are the chances that six weeks later it still won’t have come to the notice of the police?

    • I’m willing to entertain the possibility that Jay actually had no involvement in the murder or burial at all, and knew nothing of it.

      I don’t think that’s a viable possibility at this point. First, Jenn and Jay told people of the crime far in advance of its discovery. Jenn decided to talk to the cops before the cops had a viable theory that they could have coached her with, even assuming they were inclined to do so. She gave a story that roughly matched up with (previously unexplained) data from the cell records. Very hard for the cops to have fixed that. Jay likewise told people (Jenn, Chris, Tayyib) that Hae had been strangled before it was even known she was dead.

      Second, Jay’s knowledge of the crime is far too detailed, and gives no signs of coaching whatsoever. Where was the body found? How was she laid out in the grave? What was she wearing? He also volunteers important details that a non-involved person would never know — like the windshield wiper stick thingy (that’s the technical term) being broken. His answers about things like this are given in narrative form with little or no prompting from the detectives, give an appropriate and natural-sounding amount of detail, and are consistent between his various accounts.

      So Jay was there when the body was buried. I’m as close to 100% certain on that as makes no difference.

      If a car is reported missing along with a missing person, and it gets parked in a publicly visible place in a city, only a few miles from where the person was last seen, what are the chances that six weeks later it still won’t have come to the notice of the police?

      If I had to bet on it, I would give very, very good odds that the police had already found the car. They just wanted to leave it there to see either if the killer came back, or if they found the killer, he could prove his knowledge of the crime by taking them to it.

      • Thank you for confirming that last point, and clarifying some things. I know only what I’ve heard in the podcast and read in your blog. (The stuff in the subreddit is too scattered to make much sense of.)

        The stories told by Jenn, Chris, and Tayyib, and when they told them, are of interest, and I haven’t found much about them, such as what was said when.

        It is clear, as you point out, that the police are cutting stories to fit the procrustean bed of cell phone records. That supports both
        the “Jay did it alone” theory and the “Jay made it all up” possibility.

        • I think that when a high school student is manually strangled in a public parking lot in the middle of the afternoon, there is not much to gain from worrying about motive. We already know that the killer’s motive, whatever it may have been, was irrational and impulsive and disproportionate. Figuring out the precise details of the killer’s unreasonable reason matters little.

          • I have never seen much made of the fact that Jay worked in a video/porn store. One has to think that Jay may have had a pre-disposition from viewing a lot of porn…maybe even a hardcore snuff film that might be available behind the counter type rental. Did Jay rape or do something hinky to Hae and then have to get rid of evidence? None of the motives previously mentioned seem to rise to the level of murdering Hae because both Adnan and Hae were apparently moving on. Jay seemed like he may have a couple of motives. The one that I mentioned and the fact that he was stepping out on Stephanie and did not want his relationship ruined by Hae. Could Jay’s sexual proclivities not have been satisfied by Stephanie and he wanted someone to engage in a different type. Police just seem to zero in on Adnan and wanted to believe that Jay could provide enough evidence to convict someone and hence clear the case. It just seems to me that these rincky dink motives previously mentioned are too benign for a real motive.

        • The theory that Jay had a motive because of Hae’s knowledge that he was cheating on Stephanie is fascinating and alarming.

          • …and just not enough for murder, for anyone not crazy.

            Then there’s the question of how Jay would have intercepted her on her way to pick up her cousin and got into her car with her while parked, without anyone noticing. Jay doing it alone might create as many questions as it answers.

          • Kitchenmudge, one way that Jay could have gotten to Hae as she was driving is that he was in Adnan’s car. He might have seen her and flagged her down, and she stopped because she knew the car or because she knew him personally.

      • Thank you for all of your thorough analysis; it’s great to read a series of cogent, well-constructed perspectives. I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea that Jay was not an involved party for the reasons you’ve outlined, although in reading Jenn’s transcripts, I was troubled by her (apparent) ability to obtain non-public information through police officers and a relative of a Leakin Park employee. It strikes me that Jenn and Jay could have presented two or three or four specifics of the case that might have lead the police to believe the core of their story (stories), leaving them to refine the narrative around these points. In this scenario, I think it’s still plausible (though admittedly unlikely) that Jay and Jenn could have furnished non-public but police-discovered details even without Jay’s participation.

      • I agree with most everything you’ve said so far except for the theory that the police found the car but left it there. Wouldn’t they want to comb it thoroughly for evidence as its basically their only lead in the case at that point?

      • It isn’t certain that the car was sitting in a publicly visible place for six weeks, right? One possibility is that it was hidden somewhere, and then moved before Jay revealed its location. Both explanations are consistent with the facts, and both are speculative. The only thing that is known is that Jay said “I know where the car is” and led the police to it.

        Also, knowing where the car is *by itself* doesn’t prove knowledge of the crime. It proves that Jay knew where the car was. It’s possible that he could have found out its location through someone else, or just randomly saw it. I don’t consider these hypotheses likely. I am 99% certain that Jay was “in it” somehow, but I still am not sure how.

    • Well I have no experience in such matters, but I believe that Park n Ride lots are actively patrolled by police which makes it likely that the authorities already knew about Hae’s car.

      Also, I agree that Jay was possibly not even involved, but went along with the police because of his prior record and/or fear of retribution. Adnan was a sitting duck without an alibi. Susan’s analysis about Jay’s inability to tell the story independent of the detective’s prompts is certainly compelling. Thanks for that!

      • If I’m remembering right (please correct me), Jay said the park n ride is where they left the car temporarily before the burial. Later, it was left at a “residential parking lot”, whatever that is. If it was an apartment building’s parking lot, the building management should have noticed it pretty soon, but I don’t know the area.

        • My best guess is that Hae’s car was found off this section of Edmondson Avenue here, between Edgewood and Alendale, somewhere in the lot in the lower left section of the image.

          It is the best fit for what we know so far, at least. From the show, Koenig says:

          Once they’re finished at headquarters, they all drive out in the middle of the night to where the car is parked, on a grassy hill behind some row houses off Edmondson Avenue (Episode 4).

          And Jay gives this description:

          there’s a parking lot, but it’s in the middle of whole bunch of houses. And the stripes on the streets, the cross streets that runs, so it’s not like you could of just saw it. . . It’s like way back um, up this alley, across this grass and no one’s parking on. (Int.2 at 35-36.)

          So the spot between Edgewood and Alendale is (1) on one of the only hills in the area, (2) behind and in the middle of some row houses off Edmondson; and (3) has no cross street (with pedestrian stripes) that runs into it, just a discreet alleyway.

          • Actually, it was found behind in the giant lot behind:

            302 Edgewood St, Baltimore, MD 21229

    • I think its a naive perspective to propose the police would prefer rail roading a Pakistani Muslim honor student, as opposed to an African American , wanna be drug dealer, working at a porn shop post hs graduation. It’s ridiculous to assume that. All this information was fed to Jay, the only thing he knew was that Adnan killed and buried Hae, Adnan shouldnt have told him even the smallest of details.

    • My theory from his intense fear reaction was that he was a paranoid schizophrenic brought on by the huge amount of weed he was smoking.

  6. Great post. Just wondering if you have looked in to Roy Davis since the murder he committed is very similar to Hae’s murder. Two girls the same age, from the same school, murdered in the same way (strangled), in the same area only one year apart.

    • I think the coincidence is striking enough that it cannot be dismissed without further evidence, and I expect that Serial has been carefully investigating it as a possible angle.

      And while I’m usually not big on these kinds of “oh look these two crimes were sorta similar!” coincidences, because most of the time they are meaningless, the details between these two murders are so similar that the possibility of a connection has to at least be looked into. That being said, I don’t necessarily have a theory about it one way or another — the current evidence could support that kind of scenario, but it doesn’t explicitly support it, either.

      • Let’s say the Roy Davis “lone killer” hypothesis is true. Then what *possible* motivation would Jay have to claim involvement in the crime? Someone might say: “Jay thought the murder could be pinned on him, so he claimed a lesser level of involvement.” But how would Jay even know about the crime? For example, how would Jay know where the car was, or the details of the burial etc.? It is completely implausible. Someone might say: “Perhaps Jay and Roy were in it together, or Roy told him about it.” That explains Jay’s knowledge of the car. But then there are other problems: is there any evidence that they knew each other? I don’t think so, but I don’t know for sure. If there isn’t any evidence of a Jay-Roy connection, then the Roy hypothesis is pure speculation without a single fact of any kind to support it.

        • I meant exactly what I said. The coincidence is so unusual that it warrants further investigation into whether it is truly a coincidence, or if instead there exists some kind of connection.

          • Jay would have to have some involvement because he knew how Hae’s body was positioned in the grave. That is not something he could have known so precisely or guessed at. Except that he could have been coached by the cops . . .

        • “Then what *possible* motivation would Jay have to claim involvement in the crime?”

          I have wrestled with this question quite a bit, but you have to remember that this if this wasn’t a case full of bizarre circumstances, then it probably wouldn’t have captured the attention of the entire nation. Jay was known to be a liar, and it seemed like the coworker/friends he told did not believe him at the time.

          I can’t help thinking of this kid I knew in high school we called “Raver Tim,” or later on as “Gangster Tim.” The kid was a compulsive pathological liar, constantly telling people outrageous stories that were trivial to disprove, often leading to utterly embaressing situations for him. I remember one day during his “Gangster Tim” phase him telling me after lunch ended one day that he had been up in compton earlier that day and had “the deaths of three crips on his mind.” Totally straight faced he was telling me he had killed three gang members earlier that day. This, a suburban white kid unable to grow facial hair in his freshman year.

          Anyways, back to Jay, I wonder if maybe Jay was this type. What if by some coincidence three crips had been shot that day, and because of the ridiculous story, Raver Tim got questioned by police about his story?

          I’m not saying I think this is probably the case with Jay. I’d say it’s far more improbable than many other theories. But I would assign it a non-zero probability, as I can envision a scenario in which a high school kid might claim responsibility in a crime that he in fact took no part in. Crazier coincidences have happened.

          • In light of the post Serial developments it seems very likely that Jay’s connection to the case is the detective. Jay was innocent until they took him in for questioning.

            They got him through Adnan’s cell records, and since they were convinced of Adnan’s guilt they forced him to be a witness.

  7. Great post Susan. Just one minor error I noticed – you reproduce this section of the interview twice as if it were two separate instances:

    Detective: And that night he contacted you again?
    Jay: Yes.
    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?
    Jay: Yes. (Int.2 at 5.)

  8. Susan thanks for your work. Helps see a lot of details differently. One thing I struggle with is this: Do Jay’s lies minimize his role or do they just simply help imitate Adnan? On a whole they do both but the one lie that gets me is the reason for having the car. Jenn tells the cops he told her it was to buy Stephanie’s gift but he later tells the cops he and Adnan bought it together and that’s when they talked about the murder. Why imply to Jenn that he was alone? Changing this detail doesn’t reduce his role but it brings Adnan’s premeditation into the picture. Am I missing something? There’s more I can say about this but typing on a phone is tough.

    • Jay’s lies do a lot of things, because they are all over the place. Some of his lies minimize his role, while some result in him taking on greater criminal liability. Some are just confusing.

      Why imply to Jenn that he was alone? Changing this detail doesn’t reduce his role but it brings Adnan’s premeditation into the picture.

      The most obvious explanation (whatever you think about Adnan’s guilt) is that Jay was initially telling the truth about why he had Adnan’s car. It is the first story he gives, the story Adnan gives, and the story he tells to Jenn. It is only during the course of the second interview that the detectives are able to coax Jay into saying that he and Adnan actually discussed and planned how to cover up the murder.

      The problem is that the detectives coax Jay into this story *too* well. Jay ends up claiming that on two separate occasions he and Adnan went on a shopping trip together so that the two of them could plan the cover up of Hae’s murder. Jay claims they did this on January 12th while shopping at Wal-Mart, and then did the exact same thing on January 13th while shopping at either Westview (first interview) or Security Square Mall (second interview).

      • Thanks. I guess to me this points to Adnan never being involved or there was a need to show premeditation/minimize Jay’s role. If Adnan is never with him for that shopping trip, Adnan has to do everything after getting his car back before track and maybe that’s why the story if Adnan telling he wants the kill Hae the night before emerges too? Now I’m confusing myself.

  9. Do you think Jay meant it was hot outside, not that the car was hot? It seems that the temperature was above normal. If you look up the weather on that day, it was 46 and went up to 57, which can also account for why Jay asks him why he has gloves on, since it’s not that cold.

    • Nah, he definitely meant the car was hot, as in stolen. The temperature would not affect whether they abandoned the car where people were selling drugs, but the fact that it was already stolen and they needed to dispose of it would have. Whoever was driving Hae’s car was considering leaving it at the strip so that someone else would steal it and liquidate it. But the driver then thought better of that plan (which was probably a smart move) and decided to leave it somewhere that no one might notice.

      • “Whoever was driving Hae’s car was considering leaving it at the strip so that someone else would steal it and liquidate it. But the driver then thought better of that plan (which was probably a smart move) ”

        No No No the smart move would’ve been to let it be stolen so whoever stole it get their fingerprints on it and the whole case moves to a complete unkown stranger!

        • Hmm, I guess it is kind of a trade off. Are you better off complicating the investigation, by introducing an unlucky car thief as a compelling (but misleading) suspect for the murder? Or are you better off ditching the car, since that makes it more likely that the car will go longer without being discovered — thus giving any trace evidence more time to degrade and the trail to have grown colder?

  10. Changing the come get me call by the prosecutor to the 2:36 call from 3:40 obviously had the benefit of adding the Niesha call to the “forensic” evidence against Adnan.
    I’m surprised that this is allowed. Just to pick a time that no witness substantiates and by doing so bring the Niesha call in as evidence against Adnan. And then argue, at least implicitly, that it proves both that he was not at the library and that the 2:36 was the actual “come get me call”. When you think about it it’s circular reasoning, isn’t it?

    • I think when your star witness only has one point of his story that he can keep straight — “Adnan called me to pick him up at 3:40 p.m.” — and when your non-testimonial evidence shows that your witness is lying about that point — no call was made to Adnan’s phone at 3:40 — then that is when you should be questioning why he is your star witness in the first place.

      • I’m just thinking butt call or no butt call, calling the “Niesha call” evidence is clearly something that the prosecutor just pulled out his or her butt.

  11. I completely agree with this view the best, I just don’t buy Jay’s story. Apparently he cries in court and is acting dramatic, I think it’s all a front of someone who is guilty. He committed the murder and he told Jenn to use her as his alibi. That is why when Jenn is interviewed, Jay has told her to tell the police “Go to Jay” because he is a better fabricator and knows the whole story.

    I found it hard to believe time and time again how someone like Adnan would go and just say “Hey look who I killed, wanna see?” I can see that coming from a psychopath but not a normal person.

    I think that Jay and Jenn planned to kill Hae because she had found out about them and also because maybe they didn’t “like” how she was treating Adnan, they took his moping to be another motivation as to why she just didn’t deserve to live.

    I can see Jay confiding in Jenn as they were childhood friends and seemed to have a much closer relationship than Adnan did with Jay. You would definitely NOT tell your pot smoking buddy about your plans to kill someone and then show them the body. I think Jay says that Adnan gave him no choice but involved him because when he killed Hay he involved Jenn and gave her no choice. They are both lying and both would have gone to the police but instead she apparently helped him dump the evidence. That is because Adnan did not have a clue what was going on.

    • I agree I was struck entirley by how Jay and Jenn from the beginning *behave* like accomplices: he shares information with Jen immediately, he includes her in the disposal of evidence, he encourages her to go to the cops and for her to send the cops to him, they are each other’s “alibi”, and they are lifelong friends. Yet I’m supposed to believe Adnan trusted his murdering Hae and subsequent cover up of it, to his pot dealer, who he doesn’t even seem to really know or like beyond their shared pot habit and friendship with Stephanie.

      Sure. Okay.

      • Plus, I definitely think Jay and Jenn were more than just friends. Maybe not necessarily “dating” per se, since obviously his public girlfriend was Stephanie, but friends with benefits. In Jenn’s taped interview with the detectives they ask how close she and Jay were and she says something like “close, very close.” And then when pressed as to whether they were like boyfriend/girlfriend she said, “no, not really.” The “not really” is the ambiguous part to me. If someone was asking me the same question about one of my good guy friends that I was purely just friends with, I would answer straight out “no.” However, if that guy friend and I had had relations in the past or sometimes still did from time to time, I might say “not really.” And then in another answer to the detectives, Jenn said she asked Jay something along the lines of “What’s up, boo?” or “What happened, boo?” when he was acting strangely and was about to tell her about what Adnan did. It would be odd to call someone who is just a friend, “boo,” right? I don’t use the word myself, but I think it is really just used for a boyfriend/girlfriend/lover-types. My long-winded point being – if they were romantically involved (which it sort of sounds like) and Hae somehow knew (through Adnan) and confronted Jay out of loyalty to Stephanie and then Jay snapped because he would do anything to preserve his relationship with Stephanie, then it would make a lot of sense why he’d involve Jenn in helping him cover up the crime. Beyond her just being his good childhood friend, she would have been part of the reason that he felt he needed to shut Hae up. So maybe he went to her and said something like “Jenn, Hae knew about us, I had to keep her from telling Stephanie, but she wouldn’t let it go and so I just had to do it. Now I need your help…”

        • I’m leaning more and more to Jay/Jenn murdering Hae and pinning it on Adnan. The fact that Jay is calling Jenn ‘Boo’ nails their relationship as more than friends. Gives them both motive and opportunity. Jay wants to preserve his relationship to Stephanie and Jenn wants a stronger connection with Jay.
          And no one except Jay is sure when Hae was murdered, because the body has been outside for quite a bit of time.
          Jay also must have been a really low level drug dealer if he didn’t have a car or cell, so his claim of being scare of the police is nothing but a red herring.

    • Yep. You can hear how emotional he got when he made his final statement before sentencing, and the prosecutor & his defense attorney both commend him for showing real genuine remorse (his atty states that prior to the sentencing, he was out in the hall, crying about Hae). To me, would you really be remorseful when you didn’t kill anyone, but you were forced / blackmailed / whatever into helping bury her? I mean, I don’t know… It’s hard for me to imagine being put in a situation like that where I would go along w/ someone who had murdered someone and then demanded / forced me to help in burying her (actually I have a hard time even believing this premise at all – like why did Adnan really need help in BURYING Hae? Jay claims that he barely helped dig the grave or move the body… so why exactly did Adnan need his help? I don’t buy it… especially if he was able to move her body from the car to the trunk on his own. There’s just so much of all Jay’s stories that don’t make sense, but ANYWAYS…) if I was in that situation I would just feel either paranoid or mad at the guy who made me do something I didn’t want to do. If I hadn’t killed the girl or had anything to do w/ the actual murder, would I feel any remorse about it? I don’t think so. Does Jay’s remorse for reluctantly helping in burying her seem legit or logical? Before anyone mentions that Jay was apparently scared – yes I know that. I firmly believe he was afraid that as the cops were investigating the case, at some point they were going to realize that HE was in fact the real killer and at any moment the shoe was going to drop and instead of being their star witness, he would become the primary suspect. THAT is what he was afraid of.

  12. I have a theory about the Patapsco State Park story.

    Looking at the call record and the cell tower pings, I think we have to conclude that Jay did drive up to Forest Park after dropping Hae’s car at the Park and Ride. If Adnan was with him for this excursion, it would have made him about half an hour late for track (which is possible, and his coach and teammates just don’t remember. But why would Adnan take this unnecessary risk? That’s a whole other tangent.)

    In Jay’s first story to the police, he leaves out the trip to Forest Park and instead says that after leaving the car at the P&R, they drove down to Patapsco, which is nowhere near Forest Park. I think he doesn’t want the police to know he went to Forest Park, so he’s inventing an alternate scenario to account for the time. He chooses a place as far away as possible from Forest Park to throw them off the trail. THe second time he talks to the police, they’ve seen the tower pings by now and they know he was up near Forest Park. They ask him about it so he says, oh yeah I went up there to buy weed, THEN went to Patapsco. Including Patapsco in story #2 makes his failure to tell them about Forest Park in story #1 an omission rather than a lie. By the time he testifies, he drops Patapsco entirely because it doesn’t fit into the timeline at all and is unnecessary at this point, since the cat is out of the bag about his Forest Park trip.

    In short, the Patapsco story was invented to cover up the trip to Forest Park. But WHY? I’m wondering if someone other than Adnan was with him, and that after the P&R, he was dropping them off near Forest Park.

    • From my personal experience in high school athletics being late or missing practice without a damn good reason means you are going to run til you puke. Of course things may be different in Baltimore. It would be useful if we understood the coaches protocol with respect to practice attendance.

    • Ann, interesting point. I’d love for them to look into Jay’s known associates (fellow weed smokers?) at the time – who lived in that area?

        • I just don’t buy the motives: she broke Adnan’s heart; she was going to expose Jay’s cheating. These are teenagers – this sort of drama goes on all day every day.

          I also don’t buy the whole scenario about Jay having Adnan’s car to buy Stephanie a birthday present – particularly as (in one version) Jay and Adnan went shopping together earlier in the day and (presumably) bought Stephanie’s present then.

          This is pure conjecture but maybe Adnan lent Jay his car so Jay could buy some weed. Hae sees Jay driving Adnan’s car, maybe think he’s stolen it so follows the car to the Best Buy (or wherever!) parking lot and witnesses the drug deal going down. Jay’s dealer (Patrick, Phil, Pete?) kills Hae or maybe instructs Jay to kill Hae and the two of them do everything else that Jay is claiming he and Adnan did.

          • that is my theory. Hae wandered into a drug deal gone bad, the REAL thug killed her, ordered Jay to cover it up. He answered the phone when jenn called. He’s the one Jay’s afraid of, and he’s the reason Jenn lies– bcause she’s afraid for Jay.

          • Yes I agree – in my mind this is the most likely chain of events. Although I don’t think Jay did it, I think he was there and and was forced to dispose of the body by the a ‘real’ or more powerful drug dealer. This also explains Jay’s fear and his unrelenting efforts to frame Adnan.

    • An interesting piece of info…Forest Park is where Jay’s older brother and father lived at the time, both of whom had criminal records. That address is near tower L689. If, and it’s not confirmed that he did, but if Jay went to visit his family for some reason it would make sense to steer cops clear of that detail.

  13. Regarding circumstances of places where Jay incrementally increases his culpability, the one that sticks out tremendously to me is the rationale that Jay provides for being in Patapsco … Something you elude to here and were explicit about in a prior blog post:

    “After 2:15 p.m., to help Adnan kill and/or dispose of Hae, because “[Adnan] killed Hae in Patapsco State Park,” and “[Adnan] paid [Jay] to help” (Jay’s Third Interview).”

    Your perspective on this? Do you think this is likely another example of police pushing a particular narrative that is subsequently discarded before trial? It’s just baffling to me … I can’t think of any rationale for why Jay might be predisposed to increasing his expressed role in the crime, but I also can’t think of why police would be pushing this storyline either – given that it doesn’t seem to corroborate cell phone pings, physical evidence, other eyewitnesses, etc.

  14. I am totally on Team Adnan and your analysis is amazing. But I have one burning question – why would the police work SO hard to make Jay into their star witness (when he is obviously such a BAD witness) instead of going after Jay??? This is the only part that doesn’t make any sense to me. They have a horrible “witness” who can’t keep his story straight but obviously has knowledge about the murder so he was involved somehow. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just prosecute Jay?

  15. Thank you for sharing your analysis, even if this only adds to my daily wavering between whether Adnan did it or not…After having done all this research, what is your theory?

  16. Brilliant work here Susan. Really good lawyering. It even explains why the attorney didn’t go after the alibi.

    And you can’t stress enough the point that Jay is not just lying about a few things. He is saying what the detectives want him to say. And if it’s not true, it’s fiction.

    Lastly, the “Jay Knows Too Much” stuff is amazing proof that Jay probably did it. He can’t know those things. And, yes, straight men don’t talk a lot about women’s shoes.

  17. We heard on Serial one juror saying that she believed Jay because she understood that he is going to jail anyway, which is poor logic but we’ll leave that for now. Isn’t misleading the jury good enough reason to retry the case? Actually, it should even be considered misconduct, which would let him off.

    • We don’t know that they were mislead in this matter – it may just be that they were stupid (which we pretty much know to be the case) or not paying attention. Or perhaps they just ASSUMED he would be going to jail. I mean he WAS sentenced – I think he got 2 years parole or something, he just didn’t do any jail time, and maybe they weren’t clear on that. As much as I want to vilify the prosecution for not being ethical or being bad, there is no reason to believe they misled the jury on this. If you want to talk about the jury being stupid, I’m totally there w/ you – and as far as retrying the case, the fact that jurors are out there publicly saying that, despite the judge saying they COULDN’T hold it against Adnan that he didn’t take the stand, they did it anyway. To me that should be an automatic re-trial right there. They blatantly ignored the rules given to them directly by the judge and freely admit to it now. That’s ridiculous and outrageous, AFAIC.

      • Yes, they were very stupid. To say why would he lie if he’s anyhow going to jail… I mean, they never heard of light sentence for light crime, small role, and cooperating with police as opposed to harsh sentences for actual murder?

        Truth is, it didn’t enter their mind to suspect Jay of the crime. Nobody brought that up directly in court, although Adnan’s lawyer was trying to hint at that by asking Jay if he would be hurt if Stephany would find out about him. (Interestingly, he seems to be caught off guard by that one.)

        In that framework the choice is between him being an accomplice to someone else or to Adnan, so what does he gain by tying in someone. Almost makes sense.

        Anyhow, what I mean by misled is not about going to jail but about his plea deal, which allowed them to assume he had nothing to gain by lying.

        It’s hard to wrap my head around this attitude, to be completely comfortable deciding someone’s fate with such skimpy logic. That’s not even their job. Are they there to speculate like bloggers?

  18. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and see you represent Adnan.

    I wanted to point out the portion where you mentioned Jenn, and possibly Jay not liking Hae.

    I specifically remember reading that Hae did not like or trust Jay.

    I can’t remember where exactly. Possibly Debbie or Aisha’s testimony, but I remember those two things exactly.

    This is brilliant work. Thank you for this.

  19. I’m having a hard time with your analysis, comments, and then statements about the detectives and prosecutors. They seem inconsistent.

    On one hand, your thorough and compelling analysis points out what appears to be more than steering Jay into their narrative, but the ‘Sorry’s’ Jay states, and as you point out, is Jay straying from the story. That implies that the detectives have coached him on what the story is, not steering him into their narrative. That is illegal, obviously, and more deliberate.

    Then your comments that the police were only trying to get the story that fits their narrative and that they weren’t improper is conflicting with the above analysis. Can you elaborate on this more please?


    • There is a difference between improper and inept.

      I think the detectives’ method of interviewing Jay was inept, in that it was leading them to a very mistaken assessment of the data they had before them. But it was not improper — it was not done with the intent to reach the wrong result, or with any intent to violate standards or laws in place regulating the interview.

      • Thats the thing, it couldn’t have been leading THEM because they were doing the leading. I mean, why was Jay apologizing? That alone suggests that they had gone over a theme or story with him, and when he realized he was deviating from it, he apologized. I agree with you that they probably thought they had the right guy, but I disagree that it was just inept work. Deeper than that to me.

        They seem to be coaching him in a recorded (and non recorded) interogations, got him a pro bono lawyer (Urich did anyway), and it just seems like shady stuff going on that can’t just be written off, especially when taken into totality from the prosecutorial aspect of this as well. His lawyer, the prosecutions recommendations, and finally his sentencing. There’s more going on with this IMO. I come to a different conclusion than you.

      • One more point, maybe clearer, I don’t think they were trying to find the wrong conclusion, or frame Adnan. But that doesn’t mean that feeding a story to a ‘witness’ isn’t illegal or improper. I guess that’s where our differences are.

  20. Interesting analysis though I’m unsure about your last point regarding Jay’s comment about Hae deserving to die because Adnan didn’t like her. You seem to be implying that if Jay were to say such a comment to Adnan, that he would have specified a stronger emotion. The State may have claimed that Adnan hated Hae or was obsessively in love with her, but people who knew him said that he showed fairly normal post-break-up tendencies.

    If Jay and Adnan weren’t really close (as both of them suggested), it’s likely that Jay wouldn’t have known Adnan’s true feelings for Hae at the time (especially if Jay was lying about Adnan repeating that he wanted to kill her, and guys don’t usually eagerly share strong feelings). Therefore it’s certainly plausible for Jay to use the word ‘dislike’ if he really only knew that Hae left Adnan and was now with another guy and that Adnan’s attitude was fairly normal as described by others.

    • Actually, just listening to the snippet on Serial I couldn’t believe how they were feeding him yes and no questions instead of actually trying to find out the truth.

      This whole story is a bigger sorry about the justice system than about Adnan. It really is only about convicting and not truth.

      Taking about how this fed into the detective’s preconceived notions would be an excuse for an amateur, not for someone who gets a salary doing this.

      • Yeah, it’s out of context in a way because it sounds like the cops could be repeating what he previously said. So it’s hard to tell from the podcast that it’s the original statement. Know what I mean?

      • “It really is only about convicting and not truth.” This is the same conclusion I’ve reached. I think perhaps we have a glamorous view of policing and prosecuting from various books and TV shows, but the pressure is on the police to find somebody they can arrest and for the DA to get a conviction. Very few actually turn over every stone or try to resolve every piece of obviously inconsistent testimony. Frankly, a lot of people I talk to don’t seem to be that outraged at how often someone is proven innocent 20 or 30 years later (or worse, post death penalty).

    • That could definitely have been the case.

      Standing alone, that excerpt does not mean much, and it very well could be consistent with Jay having told the truth — I was not trying to suggest that any one of these examples mean that Jay was lying or that something was wrong with his statement. But the Patapsco cliff-side conversation is another instance in which the story does not appear to be authentic, in light of the previous conversations Jay descries having with Adnan, and taken with the other incongruous statements from the interviews, it suggests another possible explanation for what is going on.

  21. Susan,

    Thanks for these illuminating posts. They are thoughtful, detailed, and on-point. I look forward to reading more. Can I ask you to speculate on the Serial editorial decisions for a moment? Specifically, why do they seem to, well, soft-pedal so many of their conclusions?

    For example, they suggest the detectives may have coached Jay. But they dance around that conclusion with lots of caveats. They never quote the transcripts highlighted here in which the police literally put words in Jay’s mouth. Or they discuss Jay’s inconsistencies without ever articulating the conclusion that there is not a single piece of independently corroborating evidence for his story.

    What do you believe accounts for these “soft” conclusions? Fear of a libel suit? A different interoperation of the evidence? A dramatic ending?

    • Because they are telling a story. I don’t think it is soft pedaling in that context — the story of Hae’s murder and Adnan’s conviction is about much, much more than the prosecution’s evidence against Adnan. In fact, the prosecution’s evidence is perhaps the smallest part of the story. (And I mean that both narratively and literally.)

      So far, there has only been a single line in the podcast that I truly have had an objection to, and that’s when Koenig called Jay’s stories “consistent.” That was objectively inaccurate, and it appears like it was a distortion of the facts for the sake of storytelling.

      But other than that, I don’t have any strong criticisms about how they are presenting the material, and much more praise than criticism in general.

      • I like that they are telling the story and mostly letting each of us come to our own conclusions about what happened. I very much appreciate your posts – reading them has added even more to my fascination with the whole thing.

      • I wholeheartedly agree w/ you there. That really riled me up, and it has become sort of gospel to many in camp-Jay (these same folks would have also been right at home in Jonestown). I hear over and over again the same line that the prosecutor (and I think the detectives) stated re: Jay’s inconsistencies: “the core of his stories was consistent”. BS! There was no core, it changed constantly. That line is spin to help bolster their case, and provides them w/ a perfect sound byte cop-out line.

  22. Thanks for writing this.

    I’m hoping you’ll do an analysis on Jenn’s statements next. I think hers are the most interesting and she could turn out to be a key figure.

    I’m interested in the possibility that Jay committed the murder, but on Jan 13 he was able to convince Jenn that Adnan really did it. Think of what Jay would be likely to tell her on that night. He was upset and wanted to talk things out with his best friend. He won’t admit that he killed Hae, or helped bury her body, so Jenn might claim that Hae’s not really dead. Jay really needs someone to talk to, so he makes up a story about Adnan showing him the body at Best Buy. He really did ask her to help him go back and wipe down the shovels and get rid of his clothes.

    Then, on Feb 26 the cops show up and want to talk to her. She shoos them away and admits to going straight to Jay. Jay figures to stick with the story he made up for her, but asks her for just a little help. He’s tells his best friend that he’s afraid the police will believe Adnan over him, so could she just give him an alibi for the afternoon, until 3:30 to 4:00 (since that’s when the murder really occurred, even though the police don’t end up zooming in on that time frame)? Maybe even ask her brother to cover for him, so it wouldn’t look like it was just her? Maybe she could mention seeing Adnan that night, even though she actually hadn’t?

    Read her interview with this in mind, and notice that she pipes up with Jay being at her house till at least 3:30 every chance she gets. It’s not wishy-washy, she’s certain. It gets mentioned over and over. She doesn’t even know what day of the week it was, but she mentions that her brother was there several times. This was hours before she was supposed to have known about the murder, why would she remember her brother being there?

    But other details of the night? She remembers them, but not well (it’s been six weeks after all). She tells as much as she can because she believes Adnan is guilty and her story will corroborate Jay’s. But then the next day, Jay doesn’t realize how much Jenn remembered and how much she’d tell, so his account doesn’t match hers at all. Two weeks later, he tries to fix his story to better match hers, when he’s not being coached. But all through it, they both stick with that 3:40 alibi, even though the cops aren’t asking for it.

    • Completely agree. Compelling that they both use those timelines, clearly ensuring an alibi for jay. It is clear to me that jay was involved in the murder and then called jenn at her house. Incredible that they back pedal from their timing of ‘the adnan call’.
      I can’t believe adnans lawyer failed to do due diligence. Very sad that adnan was convicted on the evidence at hand. Terrible policing too. Has serial spoken to jenn. There will be a lot of pressure on Jenn now given the scale of the interest regarding the case. I wonder if jenn has any contact with jay…

  23. Jay remembers the red gloves because Jay was wearing them. If red fibers were ever found then Jay draws a tidy line to Adnan by having already told the police that Adnan was wearing very specific red wool and leather gloves. This would also explain why Jay’s prints were not found in Hae’s car.

  24. I was thinking the Hae confronting Jay about his cheating theory was too flimsy of a motive to actually be plausible but after hearing what Jay said about “anyone who could stand in his face and be that heartless deserves to die” I’m having second thoughts. That comment proves nothing at all and I’m completely speculating but it really did strike me as odd. Btw does anyone remember when jays friend told Sarah that one time Jay tried to stab his friend and his friend was literally trying to fight him off saying he doesn’t want to get stabbed and jay says something along the lines of he’s never been stabbed before so he has to experience it. On the podcast it was treated as a funny tidbit and I admit I was laughing at it too, but it was also pretty disturbing. I mean that’s pretty reckless and irrational behavior.

    • The thing I took from that same podcast – and it was the same guy saying this as the one who was stabbed, Jay’s good friend Chris – was that “if Jay had one weakness it was Stephanie. He would move heaven & earth for Stephanie”. Also refer to one of the other comments that said Stephanie was Jay’s “one good thing in life”… Hmm, that’s interesting. So people are saying that Stephanie meant like everything to him – and he would do anything to protect her / keep her. Add to this the speculation that he was cheating on her and Hae was planning on confronting him about it. This is all very speculative, but to me it seems more of a likely, believable motive than Adnan killing her because she broke his poor lil heart…

      • Exactly. “anyone who could stand in his face and be that heartless deserves to die” is not quite fitting for breaking off but it does match someone threatening to reveal something devastating about you.

        Whenever Jay is short on a detail he has the option of borrowing from himself. Much of the language he attributes to Adnan didn’t fit how people knew him to speak.

  25. Hello, Susan! Thanks for the enormous work you’ve done on this case. I genuinely enjoy reading your blog. It seems that you are convinced that Adnan is not guilty. I really wanna believe the same thing – Jay is really far from being credible. By the way, do you think the information, outlined by you about how bad Jay’s testimony is could actually be used in court?

    But what do you think about the evening calls made from the Leakin park? And the evening events, after Jay picked up Adnan, like where was the cellphone, where was Adnan’s car?

  26. Thank you for writing these detailed and thoughtful posts. You’re helping me learn so much about the legal system. I’m ashamed to say that, before Serial, I never put that much thought into how criminal cases are constructed. Just the fact that are constructed is still difficult for me to digest. I obviously watch too much TV. This is probably pretty obvious, but my brain is still adjusting. With all of Jay’s details about the crime, why didn’t the police try to put Hae’s murder on him? Was it because Adnan’s status as ex-boyfriend made the most sense and it was the easiest storyline (therefore the best case) for people to follow and believe?

  27. “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.”

    I want to paste this into every single thread on Reddit.

  28. BTW, what I would love to do, but don’t have time to do, is to create a detailed timeline of known facts, and completely discard the stories of Jay, Adnan, and Jenn. These stories are like a fog that hang over the landscape. By “known facts” I mean cell phone records, credit card statements, physical evidence uncovered by the investigators (e.g., where and when the body and car were found), and extremely credible statements by extremely credible witnesses. I think we’d realize how few facts there are.

    • Other than the cell records, there is no non-testimonial evidence to go on that could link Adnan to the murder. There may be physical evidence linking Jay, but if so, it has not been made publicly available yet (and would not be all that significant, because Jay admits he was there when she was buried). I’ve worked what other evidence there is into my timeline of the cell phone records and witness statements, but none of it is particularly significant.

      • My point in the exercise would not be to try to link anyone to the murder, or clear Adnan of it, but to see what is known, with as little bias as possible. What do the facts say? If there were a timeline of every fact that is known, and if we discard questionable testimony (the existing timelines I’ve seen are all based around he said she said), then what is left? Calls were made at these locations at such-and-such times. Jay tells the police where Hae’s car is. Hae’s body is found on this date. The likely time of death is X based on the coroner’s report. Hae’s bank shows she had a charge on the 13th. A reliable witness talked to Hae after school at this time. With such facts plotted, I wonder whether a picture would emerge, or become clearer, because it isn’t clouded by uncorroborated statements by Jay, Adnan, Jenn, etc. It’s impossible to say a priori whether a picture *would* emerge.

        • When you do this exercise there is SO LITTLE that is left. That is the truly astounding thing about this case. Even the cell phone stuff which, unless you’re able to physically tie that phone to someone (which isn’t possible here) – only show a glimpse of what MIGHT have been happening. That’s the reality here – there is VERY little evidence, and so much of it depends on believing Jay to be credible – which he CLEARLY isn’t!! How people continue to discard facts & reality and just buy his BS stories (yes, STORIES plural, stories FULL of inconsistencies) continually baffles me. It has to be idiocy, or confirmation bias – without those two things any intelligent person would immediately realize he’s either lying or just too unreliable to even consider. The state really lucked out that juries are so stupid, as a whole.

      • Love your postings and thoughtful, levelheaded analysis. Thanks for doing this. On the matter of physical evidence that was unexamined that could link to Jay, I think there are some kinds of evidence that could be significant. If the forensics examiners had taken swabs from Hae’s neck, for example, and found tissue with Jay’s DNA (as in sloughed off skin from his hands), that would be pretty powerful, especially since he’s consistently adamant that he never, ever touched her body. I understand that a lot of tests weren’t done, but do we know that samples the police did take?

    • And add to that the admission of Jay to have been a part of it.

      To summarize what happened here is: 1- They questioned a guy (Jay) who it turns out is a committer of this crime at least to an extent. 2- He is told that he will go fee if he can incriminate someone else. (He is probably asked if there is an ex boyfriend involved and jumped on it.) 3- They show him cellphone records and work out together(!) when the events took place. 4- They then use the cellphone records to show the jury and trick them into thinking this is the first time the witness heard of the records. 5- The jury was also unaware that Jay has any benefit from lying.

      In short, the justice department has one last chance to try to fix their image. They should grab the opportunity.

  29. Ahh I’m so glad I found a link to this blog, I’ve been amazed at how few people are disturbed by Jay’s frequent and creepy slips into subjective first person narrative about the murder of Hae. The Patapsco Park story in particular really bothers me, because he keeps wanting to tell it, and it strikes me as some kind of fond, nostalgic remembrance, a reverie, a savoring of how it all went down. And the second Sara brought that into the picture my gut instinct was: that dude did it. At the very least he was there in the moment of her death.

    But amongst all his other lies and inconsistencies I feel like it get’s glossed over and lost in the shuffle, when the needle in my brain completely slipped off the record when I heard that Patapsco story. To see even more evidence of this subjective slipping in his statements as you’ve highlighted makes me even more certain that he was the one to kill her. And hearing him get even more weirdly specific about the RED GLOVES (he had on RED gloves!) pinged me hard again as super creepy, “they were wool, with leather palms” is almost Buffalo Bill in it’s creep factor.

    Now I have to go back and read your archives on the show/case.

    • The Patapsco park reverie is disturbing. I suspect Jay has no remorse at this point but at the time he sort of romanticized the death. He had proven he would do ANYTHING to keep Stephanie. Even murder an innocent girl who he repeatedly refers to as “bitch” ( supposedly Adnan said that). But is there any evidence Adnan spoke that way? Jay refers to Hae as bitch multiple times. It seems like he is busy depersonalizing her in his narrative and in his mind.

    • I’m not sure what to make of the Patapsco narrative, especially as it seems unlikely to fit into any timeline logistically. I really am clueless as to its relevance, even though he does seem to repeatedly bring it up. Who knows about that one, but there are a LOT of little things I have picked up on that set off my spidey-sense about his involvement. One is all the remorse he shows in court. To me that seems way more indicative of a role in the actual murder, than in some reluctant involvement in the burial…

      One thing I keep thinking of that I don’t see mentioned much – and this has a lot to do w/ psychology, but anyone experienced in lying (especially getting away w/ lying) can attest to – it’s something someone mentioned on Reddit, bringing up the Seinfeld where George Costanza gives Jerry some advice in beating the lie-detector test. George says, “It’s not a lie, if you believe it” – while a very funny scene, there’s a lot of truth in it. Good liars know that whoever has the stronger reality, the stronger belief system, usually wins in convincing another person of a lie.

      That said, when SK goes to talk to Jay, the first thing she says to him is that there are many people out there that doubt Adnan actually murdered Hae, to which Jay responds “If he didn’t do it, THEN WHO DID? I KNOW what I saw, I was there!!” He’s so forceful and passionate that they find themselves tempted to believe him – BUT, what’s really going on here is that he is trying to beat them down with a stronger belief in the events, which he knows they were not present for. That doesn’t mean that what he’s saying is true – it’s a battle of REALITIES, and the person more certain of their reality is going to win the battle. SK is still approaching this case w/ a sense of objectivity and that she doesn’t really know for sure what happened, versus Jay who likely DOES know what happened, and has had a long time to come to terms w/ his lies. He also knows that his own freedom is potentially at stake w/ anything he says, and potentially how the public view this case. Many have skepticism about the case, but no-one really knows what REALLY happened. As I said before, in all likelihood Jay DOES know, and he uses this against everyone else by sticking to his innocence and stressing an intense, passionate belief of “I KNOW WHAT I SAW! Adnan did it!!” People have a natural flaw in that they WANT to believe someone, and Jay knows the only other person that can contradict what he’s saying is likely Hae, who’s deceased. If there were anyone else that could have contradicted his claim against Adnan, they would have likely come out and done it a long time ago, so at this point he feels pretty secure in his lies and that they can’t be contradicted. So the more certain Jay is of the events, the more other people doubt whatever it is they think about it, but what many fail to realize (and I have no idea how they don’t see this, they must be blinder than Ray Charles) – Jay HAS to keep lying, both in terms of his plea deal, but perhaps more importantly because of all the attention this case has gotten. If he were to fess up and admit to lying about Adnan (even just lying about Adnan, never mind if Jay actually killed Hae) – he would instantly become the most hated man in the USA, and vilified everywhere, to no end. The stakes are very high for Jay right now, and – assuming he’s lying – he HAS to keep it up, even though I’m sure he is under IMMENSE pressure & feeling a lot of guilt at the moment, guilt that he probably had buried down a long time ago but has now suddenly, rudely come back up to haunt him.

  30. Also people who overly apologize may be lying. It could be Jay’s tell or his subconscious apologizing for Hae’s death. I cannot believe at this point a logical person has doubts about the veracity of anything Jay says or did say in 1999. He was a loser by all accounts and Adnan wasn’t. Neither was Hae or Stephanie. Who had everything to lose in this scenario? How could the jury think a kid who was accepted to med school would plot the murder of a high school ex-lover with his acquaintance weed dealer because of honor? Really? Jay’s narrative is so eerie at times because he DID the murder. He had to feel something. He probably did throw up. But he rationalized it with- “she would have ruined my relationship with the perfect girl”. Is it not weird to anyone else that Stephanie doesn’t seem him until 11:30 p.m.? It only makes sense in the context of- he had a LOT to do that day and had no accomplice other than Jenn to hide a car, body, and dispose of evidence and take a shower. I definitely think he spoke to Adnan about that day and realized Adnan had been SO stoned he didn’t remember much about the day. Jay needed an alibi for 2:00-4:30. Not Adnan so all of the convoluted narratives reflect this need for an alibi.

  31. I do not believe for one second, based on the evidence presented in this case (twice) that Adnan should have been convicted. Not at all! The evidence is not credible circumstantial – and circumstantial at best. By the way – if Adnan threw up at both places (by Park and Ride and Leaking Park) – there would have been traceable DNA, correct?. That said, I do not know who is guilty in this case. There really doesn’t seem to be a good motive for Jay – other than possibly Adnan’s kindness to Stephanie.

  32. While I admire the diligence and attention to detail, I’m ultimately unpersuaded. At the most superficial level, when a woman is murdered following a breakup, the likelihood that her former partner is responsible is fairly substantial. If she is killed in an extremely ‘intimate’ manner — i.e., manually strangled — and her corpse shows no signs of sexual assault, the odds grow exponentially. Does that prove that Adnan Syed murdered Hae Min Lee? Absolutely not. But it does mean that the likelihood of Adnan’s innocence is statistically minute, and the exculpatory evidence must be commensurately immense.

    So let’s focus on the inconsistencies present in the accounts of the two primary witnesses: Jenn and Jay. Of the three individuals suspected of having some manner of involvement, which is the least likely to have been an active participant? Jenn is female, a college student, and barely knows the victim. Her motive for collaborating on the murder is nonexistent, and her desire to protect Jay is surely outweighed by her desire to avoid culpability as an accessory. Not surprisingly, Jenn is the first to speak to the authorities. Her initial account, moreover, is highly congruent with Jay’s testimony at trial. Is her chronology (of two weeks prior) unimpeachable down to the minute? No — she tells the police that Jay left her house at 3:30, 4:00, 4:15, after 3:45, between 3:45 and 4:15 pm (in a single run-on sentence). If Jenn’s intent was to fabricate an alibi for Jay, wouldn’t she have provided something more definitive, and asserted it with a far higher degree of confidence? Likewise, Jenn and Jay had quite a while to synchronize their stories, but their initial accounts are highly discordant, and the two only begin to coalesce as Jay begrudgingly concedes details that match Jenn’s version of the night in question. Presuming that the former’s involvement in the crime was far more extensive than the latter’s, that’s hardly surprising.

    • At the most superficial level, when a woman is murdered following a breakup, the likelihood that her former partner is responsible is fairly substantial. . . . Does that prove that Adnan Syed murdered Hae Min Lee? Absolutely not. But it does mean that the likelihood of Adnan’s innocence is statistically minute, and the exculpatory evidence must be commensurately immense.

      This is not how either statistics or legal burdens of proof work.

      If Jenn’s intent was to fabricate an alibi for Jay, wouldn’t she have provided something more definitive, and asserted it with a far higher degree of confidence? Likewise, Jenn and Jay had quite a while to synchronize their stories, but their initial accounts are highly discordant, and the two only begin to coalesce as Jay begrudgingly concedes details that match Jenn’s version of the night in question.

      When two people give vague stories which are consistent on details which we know are probably fabricated, but which are inconsistent when it comes to identifying basic factual details that both parties should have been aware of, that is a sign of collusion. Likewise, the fact that two people try and work together to get their stories straight does not imply that they will actually succeed in giving statements that match one another in significant details — such as whether Jay ever paged Jenn, who was driving Adnan’s car at Westview, or what mall Jenn and Jay went to in order to toss out Jay’s clothes.

      But none of what you said really addresses the subject of this post, though. Are you suggesting the detectives’ method of interviewing Jay is justifiable because Adnan’s ex-girlfriend had been murdered, so it was safe to assume Adnan was responsible?

      • By looking at the timeline of interviews Jay and Jenn only had a few days to collude on times and other information. I would say that their stories aren’t that congruent and that Jenn’s word nor Jay’s mean much to me. Certainly not considering the fact that by their own accounts given to police they had knowledge of a crime and 6 weeks later had not reported the crime. Until the police saw a bunch of calls to Jenn who panicked and had time to collude with her best friend Jay before either of them were interviewed.

      • That’s absolutely how statistics work! No, I can’t walk around a casino and identify with absolute certainty who will lose money, but I can predict with a high degree of certainty that 80% of the people present will suffer that fate. Likewise, Adnan belongs to a set of individuals with a high probably of having committed the crimes they’ve been accused of. Now, I’m not suggesting that probability alone can convict an individual absent dispositive evidence — O.J. Simpson was acquitted — but this isn’t a court of law, and Adnan is beset by a mountain of circumstantial evidence.

        “When two people give vague stories which are consistent on details which we know are probably fabricated …”

        Very little of what Jenn initially tells the police — most of which Jay eventually, begrudgingly acknowledges — seems likely to have been fabricated. Times that are off by even an hour or phone calls that are forgotten two weeks later are not strong indications of calumny — they’re signs that we’re dealing with humans, not automatons.

        “… but which are inconsistent when it comes to identifying basic factual details that both parties should have been aware of, that is a sign of collusion.”

        Yes, it could mean that both parties have cooperated to concoct a story but inevitably neglected to cover certain details. Or it could mean that one party — one who acknowledges having played a significant role in the crime in question — has a much stronger incentive to lie about certain details. Seriously — Jay and Jenn had two weeks to finalize their tall tale, and they couldn’t even agree on where Adnan is purported to have murdered Hae!? Isn’t that the first detail you’d attempt to synchronize? Oh, except that Jay eventually concedes that Adnan claimed to have strangled Hae outside of Best Buy — just as Jenn initially reported. Also, Jenn tells the police that she helped Jay dispose of evidence that might implicate him in the burial — despite the fact that he reassured her that he had no part in it. But Jay neglects to mention this episode to the police. Gee, Jenn really did him a solid there! And what do you know — Jay eventually comes to see the veracity of an event that enlarges his complicity in the crime. How does Jenn do it!

        • I’m not convinced that you know the statistics involved. According to BJS (

          “Females are generally murdered by people they know. In 64% of female homicide
          cases in 2007, females were killed by a family member or intimate partner. In 2007, 24% of female homicide victims were killed by a spouse or ex-spouse; 21% were killed by a boyfriend or girlfriend; and 19% by another family member.”

          Furthermore, if you look at the graph on page 2 you will see that the statistical variation between categories (stranger, intimate parter, friend/acquaintance, and other relative) has decreased over time. Meaning, the statistics support your claim less in 1999 than they do today. Even if you assume that Adnan is guilty because he is in the group most significantly likely to have committed this crime, there is still a 36% chance of his innocence. I don’t think I would call that ‘minute’.

          • 36%? Only 21% are from a boyfriend and he is not the only boyfriend.

            This whole guilty by identity thing is very disturbing.

          • Yes whatchemecallit, we agree on the smaller number. I was saying if you only looked at the highest level of the statistic, 64% (intimate partners includes a group he would be a part of, per the definitions in the study) then the opposite is true. There is a 36% chance that someone in the same group did not commit the crime.

            Agreed on guilty by identity! I would hate for someone to use general assumptions about me to determine how much proof is required to convict or acquit me.

  33. The one thing about this case, is the Nisha call, that stands out in all the call logs that day, it’s like the exception that proves the rule. The Nisha call is the rogue call in all of this. In that it means nothing. Yet, I’m astonished that she was brought to trial over this.

    I have to say though the Leakin Park pings also trouble me, because it sends me off in a direction that I really don’t want to go, but in a way that confounds the case as to bring in a third person. There is no doubt in my mind that Jenn was waiting for those calls: she describes her day as nondescript pretty much; but when it comes to receiving those calls, I can almost imagine her getting ready in her room. Jay knew that she was waiting for those calls.

  34. Here’s where I think things get a bit sloppy and tendentious. Is it really realistic to expect teenagers with heavy pot habits to remember precise times and a gaggle of phone conversations dating back two weeks prior? Moreover, most of the trivialities that occurred that day are likely drowned out by the most traumatic event these individuals will ever experience. It doesn’t seem especially absurd to me that Jay can recall talking to a girl he had never met, remembers where she lived, but doesn’t recall the minutia of the conversation. Likewise, Jay is a teenager being interrogated by the police apropos his involvement in a murder. Is it any surprise he doesn’t acquit himself with the rhetorical surefootedness of Socrates? In the exchange that’s deemed particularly damning, the detective is asking Jay about leaving Jenn’s house (purportedly at 3:40 pm, but likely earlier):

    Mac: “And where were you going?”

    J: “I was going to pick up Adnan.”

    Mac: “Had you gotten a phone call from him?”

    J: “[1.] Yes on the cell phone.”

    Mac: “While you were at Jenn’s house?

    J: “[2.] Not on the cell phone while I was at Jenn’s, he had [3.] called on a hard line while I was at Jenn’s and then um …”

    Mac: “Adnan had called on the cell phone?

    J: “[1.] Yes.”

    In other words, Jay is discussing two specific calls: [1.] on the cell phone after he has left Jenn’s house (presumably the 3:15 pm call), and [3.] on Jenn’s landline prior his leaving. Statement [2.] is not a categorical denial that he received calls on the cell phone from Adnan while at Jenn’s, it’s a denial that the call in question — the one that preceded his departure — was received on Adnan’s cell phone.

    So there’s a pretty innocuous explanation available for the exchange in question. With respect to the following rhetorical question, things are a bit more sinister:

    “Is it possible that Adnan decided to inform Jay what happened to Hae’s shoes?”

    Without a doubt. I happen to notice that the body the two of us are burying is lacking footwear, so I ask you about it. Since I know that you’ve murdered the person in question, what you’ve chosen to do with her shoes is hardly a state secret.

    “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”?”

    Adnan is teenage pothead living in one of the most crime-ridden metropolitan areas in America — a place that hosts a park infamous for the number of corpses disposed therein. Might he have had some familiarity with car theft? Maybe not the act itself, but certainly the lingo.

    “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.”

    I can only speak for myself, but putting aside the morality of abetting a homicide, I would likely have some questions concerning the viability of the plan. As in, I’d be reluctant to blindly follow around town an associate driving the vehicle of someone whom he had just murdered. I would want to know that certain arrangements were being made (i.e., “The Wolf” is on his way).

  35. Hi Susan, Thank you for this blog. It is very interesting. Is it possible that Adnan could seek a new trial since his lawyer withheld her declining health, which almost certainly affected her cognitive function. The audio of Atty Guttierez cross examining Jay is painful, bordering on unbearable. You cannot tell me that is a successful attorney on top of her game. What drug or drugs was she taking to treat the MS? Are any of those mentally impairing? Did she realize she was on a one way slide and is that why she started fleecing clients? Can Adnan’s new lawyer subpoena her medical records from the time of the second trial? Thanks, Zach

  36. What do you think of the idea that Hae was the source of one or more of those incoming calls from 12:43 – 3:15?

    There’s not much at all to substantiate it, however if the timeline of calls and certain patterns in Jay’s lies are cast as evidence that he was her killer, and that it likely occurred at Best Buy / vicinity around 3:40, that to me leaves a pretty big question for creating a pretty complete picture: How did Hae come into contact with Jay at or before then?

    The bit from Adnan where he mentions Hae’s intention to confront Jay definitely gives a potential motivation for their meeting, but I find his explanation of how it could have occurred pretty flimsy. Even if Jay went over to the school around the time it was letting out, it doesn’t seem likely that he would have coincidentally ran into Hae without any intention to do so on his part, given how many students would be leaving at the same time.

    I don’t think it’d be necessary to establish this for the case against Jay to be incredibly solid, but it’s definitely one of the large holes to fill in when it comes to that theory.

  37. After reading transcripts of the first two Jay interviews… yeah it seems nearly impossible that the two experienced detectives on the case wouldn’t have come away with a strong sense that Jay did it or was far more involved in the scenario than he was willing to let on. I’ve forgotten the timeline, though — was Adnan charged and questioned about the 13th at some time between Jay’s first and second interviews?

    The first interview transcript, it really seems like the detectives are attempting in a few places to get Jay to trip up and they do, but perhaps not to the extent that is easily communicated in court. Jay’s statements are all so vague and convoluted that it’s hard to pin him down on a very obvious lie. There are a few cases also where they’re trying to get him to make definitive statements that would implicate Adnan beyond Jay’s general adherence to the idea that Adan did it. And Jay seems surprisingly unwilling to play along, which changes completely by the second interview.

    Perhaps as a result the detectives decided to see how far the Adnan possibility would run, and found that his complete lack of alibi or recollection made him a far better candidate for conviction, especially when you’ve got a very cooperative eye witness. This would explain why they had settled on Adnan by the second interview and were largely trying to push Jay in the direction of telling a more coherent, convincing tale that implicates Adnan in multiple ways. As someone with experience in the judicial system of the US, how common do you think it is that an investigation will take the “path of least resistence to conviction” even when, as here, the detectives must have had a gut feeling that Jay’s testimony was seriously bogus?

    • It’s truly a frightening thought, that not committing a crime doesn’t protect you from bring convicted. Here we have a prosecution ‘defending’ their conviction rather than proving it. They made up motives, added details and fabricated a personality just to get someone locked up. It’s hard to believe they were convinced of their own story.

      How immoral, to sacrifice a life for your job promotion.

      • I wouldn’t cast it in that light necessarily. Police and prosecutors are working for a somewhat schizophrenic client (the general public), and that can make it very difficult for them to adhere to what we might imagine is the most ethical course of action.
        On the one hand we don’t want anyone who didn’t commit a crime to be convicted of one, on the other we want every crime to be prosecuted as fully as possible. Those two interests are often at odds when we have scant resources for law enforcement in this country.
        I think this would be less about getting a promotion and more about the likelihood of being closer to being fired because you spent months and months on a case and, even though you’re certain you found the real culprit, you were unable to deliver a case which was prosecutable.

  38. In your previous post, one thing you asked about was why Jay told such a convoluted story about the two cars during the burial in his first interview, which involved four trips back and forth and multiple times being at the grave site. To me this fits Jay’s pattern of lies quite well — many of his lies seem to be about distancing himself from what he knows to be the actual facts (Edmondson vs Best Buy for his first sight of the body, Patapsco vs Forest Park for the post-murder ‘break’). In this case, if he knows the actual fact that he strangled Hae in her car then he’s going to lie about three things: he never touched Hae, he never touched any of her things, and he was never once in her car. Jay is highly consistent on these three points, although the third I don’t think he ever explicitly states.

    The reason for the convoluted car story is because for some reason he didn’t include Adnan transferring the shovels into Hae’s car, so to make the lie work without him ever once getting into Hae’s car, they needed to make multiple trips to the grave site with different cars. This also explains why Adnan didn’t just immediately cover up Hae’s body once he had put it into the grave, he didn’t actually have the tools with him because they were still with Jay. Once we move to the second interview the detectives have likely coached him about how ridiculous that sounds so he/they come up with the story in which Adnan moved the body there first, stashed Hae’s car elsewhere, and both of them returned to do the digging and covering up.

    And finally, I think you’re spot on about the details bit. The only pieces of clarity in any of Jay’s testimony are things that the killer would have known. A few things seem to be brought up out of the blue by the detectives, even in the first interview — specifically the shoes and the jacket — so these things likely came up in the pre-interview. These two, along with the windshield wiper mechanism seem like cases where Jay’s not sure what the detectives know yet. If he thinks they might have found the jacket, might have found the car, then perhaps he wants to get out in front of it and “pin” some of the other bits of hard evidence onto Adnan by involving them into the story before he is questioned about them.

    • I think this is a good analysis. I’ve also come to the conclusion that the things Jay is adamant about and consistent about form a telling pattern. Another thing that he’s been adamant and consistent about is that he was with Jenn till 3:30-3:45, which makes me think he also knows for certain that this is when the murder happened. He (and Jenn) stick to this even when it is clearly contradicted by the cell tower records.

      Regarding Jay’s his suspicious definiteness about never touching Hae or her things, or being in her car: If these are lies, he’s vulnerable to contradictory physical evidence. It would just take a few finger prints or hairs or clothing threads to nail him. Which makes me think of a few possibilities (none of which are mutually exclusive).

      1. He put this part of the story out there in the first interview, and when the detectives never said, “Jay, please, we know you were in her car and that you touched her, because…”, then he stuck with it. The detectives seem to have been pretty liberal about letting Jay know what evidence they had, so this seems possible, though it’s a risky strategy.

      2. When he says he continued to go by Hae’s car to see if it had been discovered, he was actually going by to wipe it clean and double/triple check that he had not left any traces of himself behind. I’d be interested in knowing if the police found that some parts of the car were especially clean and free of prints (like the trunk lid, for example). Likewise, the improbable story about returning later to actually bury the body could have been a worried return visit to double check the dump site to obscure his foot prints and any other things that could be linked to him.

      3. The distinctive black and red gloves that he puts on Adnan were actually his gloves, and he was careful to always wear them so he’s certain that his prints won’t be found anywhere incriminating. Since he tossed his clothes from that day, and didn’t commit a sexual assault, he’s confident they will not find anything definite to link him to her body/car.

      • Definitely a combination of all three, I think. He only becomes adamant about not having ever touched her car or her body in the second interview In the first interview, he is only careful about insisting that he did not help put her in the hole that was dug.

        During his police interviews, Jay was absolutely not shy about telling completely bold-faced lies that were easily proven to be false, so I don’t think we can give his stories credit simply because he says something that could have theoretically been disproven. If they had found trace evidence from him, he could have easily just spun it as a transfer from Adnan or some incidental contact.

      • About your third point, there were condoms found, mentioned in the first Serial segment, so we can’t rule that out either.

        • I recall than an unused condom was found. I’m assuming it was still in the wrapper, but I haven’t read/heard anything specific. I also assume this was checked for prints, if it was still in the foil wrapper. Does anyone know specifics about this?

          • The condom was found unrolled next to the wrapper. You can find this at, evidence map.. It was also discussed in episode 3. Note — two blockbuster video cases are also found there. Which I suspect shall link to Jay and his weed dealings out of ‘the video store.’ This is separate from his actual work at the porn video store that didn’t begin till late January

          • Specifically, the condom and Blockbuster cases were found next to the road, not Hae’s body. Considering that Leakin is a well-trafficked urban park that evidently serves as a location for sex, violence (shell casings were also found nearby), drug use, and the disposal of bodies as well as assorted garbage, that’s not particularly surprising. Since there’s no evidence Hae was sexually assaulted, shot, or bound (rope was discovered near her body), I don’t think any of these odds and ends pertains to the crime in question.

      • One thing that troubles me slightly about the gloves (and the lack of fingerprints in Hae’s car) is the question of whether the murder was premeditated or a spur of the moment thing.

        I have tended to operate under the assumption that it was spur of the moment.
        – Hae calls and suggests a meet up
        – They meet, Hae confronts Jay about ‘stepping out’
        – Jay snaps and strangles her

        When and why would Jay put the gloves on?

        • It was winter (and there was a snow storm on the night of the 13th that closed the school for the following two days). So it’s entirely plausible that most people were wearing gloves that day.

  39. I just can’t get my head around Jay attempting to rape Hae. I also can’t imagine how the video cases, if they are related to Jay, ended up by the body. I suppose if he had them in his coat or jacket, forgot he had them, and in the process of doing something with Hae’s body they fell to the ground and in the darkness he might have never noticed them and completely forgotten about them. Perhaps he was checking for them when he want back to Hae’s car, assuming he actually went back not just to drive by (as he admits) but to check if he dropped anything.

    However, unless we have some information that Jay used video cases in his dealing, I have to wonder if they have any connection at all.

  40. Several things that need to be cleared up about Adnan:

    1) If Adnan was not in Leakin Park, were Jen and Jay just fortunate to put Adnan post burial at the mall at the correct time? If he was at the mosque, he might easily have had an alibi. Were they just fortunate the cell records ended up backing up their account of the burial time?

    2) If Jay alone had Adnan’s cell phone at the burial, would he not reasonably expect Adnan to remember that the phone was lent out in the evening?

    3) One possible reason Adnan does not claim that Jay has the cellphone: The initial defense strategy appears to have been to discredit all the cell phone tracking information. When that did not happen the possession of the cell phone became very important. If Adnan claims Jay has the cell phone, Adnan has to come up with a Jay returning the cell phone and car story in order for Adnan to be making the 9pm forward cell phone calls, while still at the mosque. That scenario will likely be contradicted by Jay’s witness(es).

    • I think Jenn was completely honest about when she picked up Jay that night; sometime between 8:15 and 8:30 pm. So they wee not lucky about the cell records matching that, that is just actually what happened.

      If Jay alone had Adnan’s cell phone at the burial, would he not reasonably expect Adnan to remember that the phone was lent out in the evening?

      If he had thought about it, sure. But I am not arguing that Jay consciously set out to frame Adnan — that wasn’t some intentional scheme he came up with. When he told Jenn about Adnan killing Hae, that seemed to have been because he needed her help to dispose of the evidence and also because it seemed like he wanted to talk to someone, and Adnan being responsible would have been a believable excuse. Later on, he was stuck with that story, and the police helped him perfect it.

      The initial defense strategy appears to have been to discredit all the cell phone tracking information.

      But Adnan’s lack of memory of Jay having the cell phone that night was established even before he could have had any knowledge that the cell phone records could be used against him.

  41. Hi Susan,

    Do you know anything about the situation with the only “hard” evidence in this case: DNA?

    We know that there are several potentially significant items which, if still around, may yet shed some new light on the case. These include a bloodstained t-shirt, hairs on Hae’s body which didn’t belong to Adnan and all of the objects found around or nearby the body.

    Is there any chance some of these exhibits are still being stored somewhere? And would the investigating officers have deliberately ensured that not everything got tested for DNA in case there was a match with someone other than Adnan, thereby weakening their case against him?

  42. Is there anything else in the transcript about leaving the shoes in the car? It seems to me like you jump from “he told me he left them in the car” to “he randomly and without solicitation told me he left the shoes in the car.” It seems plausible to me that, in the course of disposing of a body, an accomplice might inquire about the victim’s shoes, were she not wearing any. I don’t see anything in the transcript above that would negate that as a possibility. I’m not trying to stand up for Jay (whose testimony / interviews are obviously highly flawed). Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    • I listed it to show an instance of how Jay’s statements often seem to indicate he has knowledge about very tiny details of the crime scene, but in context seem unusual and disjointed from the rest of the interview. It’s not a significant one, because Jay does give himself the cover story of “Adnan told me,” but it also just doesn’t fit right the rest of the narrative. Because you’re exactly right — an accomplice should be inquiring about details of the crime, that’s what we would expect to see. The problem is that in the whole first interview, Jay never once indicates that he ever asked Adnan a single question about the logistics of the murder or the cover-up. So it seems so incongruous that Jay would have never questioned Adnan about any of the logical things you would have expected him to ask — and yet the one time he does bother to discuss crime logistics, it’s about a relatively minor details like the shoes? How can that possibly be the only question Jay ever asked Adnan during this whole ordeal?

      But the main reason I like the shoe question as an example is because it is also one where you can see that the detective himself is surprised by Jay’s answer. As soon as Jay says it, the detective repeats the sentence, which in a transcript is the closest you’re going to get to seeing an expression of skepticism or surprise (Jay: “He told me he left them in the car.” Detective: “He told you he left them in the car?”). This is a pre-planned interview — so why does the detective seem surprised by the answer? I wish I had the audio for this segment — I would love to hear the tone he uses.

      But that’s what makes that part of the transcript so maddening. The detective seems to find this answer surprising and/or unexpected, and yet does nothing to follow up. Since this is the one time that Jay suggests he and Adnan actually discussed how to accomplish the crime/cover-up, it would have been a great point to start digging into that. Did Adnan tell you why he left the shoes in the car? (Find out if Adnan seems to have a coherent plan in how he is doing things, or if he is just reacting to events as they come along.) When did Adnan tell you about this? (Find out at what points in the crime Adnan and Jay were plotting together, and what else they may have talked about.) Did Adnan say where in the car he left the shoes? (Find out if Jay knows small details that can be verified by comparing it with the actual crime scene.)

      So many important questions to ask! And what does Detective Ritz ask instead? “As he’s digging the shall ow grave and ah can you describe for me what the lighting conditions are.” Sigh.

      • Appreciate the reply. It certainly makes more sense as an example in the context of the two interviews as a whole (which I have not read in their entirety).

        It would be interesting to see what an expert in interrogations would say about how Ritz et al conducted themselves in these interviews. How many red flags were glossed over? It seems like there is a fairly rigid protocol to how these interviews are conducted, and the more statements which would otherwise be triggers for follow-up questions had they not skipped over them, the more likely it was willful on the part of the detectives.

  43. IF Jay had Adnans phone while he was burying the body therefore had the phone up until Adnan started making calls to Nisha at 9pm, HOW and WHEN did Jay get the phone back to Adnan without anyone including Adnan noticing?

      • Very plausible. I dont get why Adnans defence didnt put up the competing timelines next to each other with locations. It woould have shown considerable doubt in Jays story(s)

      • @whatchemecallit

        Okay, let’s try out your alternative theory. Between 7 and 8 pm, Adnan claims to have returned to his house to pick up food to bring to the mosque. Mr. Syed contends Adnan was present at the mosque that night, and the service ran from 8 to 10 or 10:30 pm. So Jay either (i.) dropped Adnan off at the mosque, keeping his cell phone; or (ii.) Adnan left Jay somewhere and someone else (Jay doesn’t own a car) helped Jay procure the cell phone from Adnan’s car. But the call log suggests that Jay and Adnan were together (Yaser is called at 6:59, followed by Jenn at 7:00) a mere nine minutes before the phone winds up in Leakin Park (incoming call, 7:09). So scenario (ii.) seems unlikely. Which means that Jay dropped Adnan off at the mosque right after the Yasser call, and then hightailed it to Leakin Park to bury Hae. Jay returned the phone (perhaps the car as well) by 9:01, at which time Adnan called Nisha. So Adnan WAS aware that Jay had his phone, and when Jay returned it, Adnan proceeded to make four calls lasting a combined 15 minutes in the midst of the religious service. Is such behavior commonplace at most mosques? Routine enough that one wouldn’t remember it?

        • It’s different from something like a Sunday church sermon. People coming in and out would be commonplace (such as bringing meals to relatives, like Adnan was doing). So it wouldn’t have been some kind of aberrant behavior that would draw attention.

        • He wasn’t present the whole time. He left at nine. Big deal. It’s not like we see back and forth between Adnan’s contacts and Jay’s. The patten is very consistent with him bring dropped off at 7. In the park, it is Jay’s contact who is called repeatedly.

    • Yes, this is the smoking gun against Adnan. Not only does he have to forget lending Jay the phone but he has to forget getting the phone back in the middle of the mosque service. The phone is clearly not in the mosque. It’s highly, highly unlikely and bad for Adnan’s story.

      • The only witness who answers questions as if he has a clear memory of that day is Jay. But what he lacks in the “I was probably…” and the “I usually…” responses, he more than makes up for in the sheer quantity of conflicting stories.

        We know from at least one witness that Jay borrowed Adnan’s car all the time. Why is it evidence that he is guilty if he is unable to remember, six weeks later, a specific time that he let Jay borrow his car?

  44. MOTIVE THEORY: Hae sees Adnans car and pulls up. Hae unexpectedly catches Jay with Jenn together. Hae confronts them because Jay is dating Steph. Jay or Jen kill Hae. Jay and Jen work together to dispose of the body. They come forward when the body is discovered. They have something to hide. They pin it all on Adnan. They are the only ones who have seen and witnessed first hand evidence in the case. No one else claims this except them. They are both coached by the detectives to massage their stories because the detectives are blind to what they have in front of them.

  45. Pingback: Serial: An Examination of the Prosecution’s Evidence Against Adnan Syed | The View From LL2

  46. Nearly all of the inconsistencies between Jenn’s and Jay’s accounts are readily explained by Jay’s unwillingness to implicate himself as an accessory “[A],” or entangle his friends and/or the persons he exchanges marijuana with in the investigation “[M].” Here’s a breakdown (JN = Jenn’s interview; J-1 = Jay’s 1st interview; J-2 = Jay’s 2nd interview; J-T = Jay’s trial testimony):

    1.) Jay and Adnan go shopping at:
    + Westview Mall (J-1)
    + Security Square Mall (J-2; J-T)
    [A] — Security Square is near Best Buy, and Jay is doesn’t want the police to think he participated in planning the crime.

    2.) Jay leaves Jenn’s house and goes to:
    + not specified (J-1; J-2)
    + his friend Jeff’s house (J-T)
    [M] — Jay doesn’t want to involve Jeff.

    3.) Adnan shows Jay Hae’s body at:
    + Edmondson Ave. (J-1)
    + Best Buy (JN; J-2; J-T)
    [A] — Jay fears there are cameras outside of Best Buy, and he wants to conceal his presence at what he knows/believes to be the actual crime scene.

    4.) After ditching Hae’s car at the Park and Ride, Jay and Adnan:
    + smoke a blunt at Patapsco Park (J-1; J-2)
    + attempt to buy weed from Patrick and then someone in Forest Park (J-2; J-T)
    [M] — “Patapsco Park” was most likely concocted to account for Jay and Adnan’s whereabouts without implicating any of Jay’s customers/suppliers.

    5.) After Jay picks up Adnan from track practice, the two of them go to:
    + McDonald’s (J-1)
    + “Cathy’s” apartment (J-2; J-T)
    [M] — Jay doesn’t want to involve “Cathy.”

    6.) Hae is buried by:
    + Adnan alone (JN; J-1)
    + Adnan and Jay (J-2; J-T)
    [A] — Jay doesn’t want to implicate himself.

    7.) After Adnan disposes of some evidence at Westview Mall, Jay is:
    + dropped off at home by Adnan (J-1, J-T)
    + picked up by Jenn, who drives him to Westview to wipe the shovels clean, and somewhere
    along Baltimore National Pike (Super Fresh, F&M) to throw away his clothes (JN, J-2, J-T)
    [A] & [M] — Jay is trying to avoid implicating himself in the burial or involving Jenn in his effort to conceal it from the police.

    • I appreciate the creativity, but nearly all? That’s 7 out of hundreds. And some of the tiniest 7 out of that. #3 is a big one and could be explained if Jay was involved in the murder, but at that point you’re conceding that the state’s entire case is a bunch of made up bullshit.

      • That’s not it, but most of the remaining inconsistencies are ‘tiny’ — “Jenn said 3:45, but it was actually 3:30!” — irrelevant to the plot, and easily explained by faulty memories six weeks later.

        In the case of 3.), I think the implication is that Jay had greater involvement than he wants to acknowledge. Which could mean anything from being nearby (he knew where the murder would take place because he and Adnan rehearsed it that day — which is why he initially claimed they went to Westview Mall rather than Security Squre), to helping Adnan put Hae’s body in the trunk, to shielding Adnan from view as he committed the murder. Any of which would be a reasonable explanation and far from fatal to the state’s case as Jay gave the same account 3/4 times, including initially to his friend in confidence.

        • The problem is that you’re just inventing explanations for why Jay has never been able to tell the same story twice but Adnan can still be still guilty. But while you can make up these just-so stories all day longbut when you’re choosing which portions of Jay’s testimony to believe based on what is the best way to prove Adnan guilty, you’re not doing any kind of meaningful analysis. You also can’t just say “well obviously Jay never told the truth about what happened at Best Buy, so I’m going to invent a totally new reason that no one has ever testified about, and decide that is what is actually true.”

          • “The problem is that you’re just inventing explanations for why Jay has never been able to tell the same story twice but Adnan can still be still guilty.”

            No, I’m proposing a theory — just as you’ve done. The only difference is that my explanation is much tidier and more plausible. It assumes that: i.) Jenn is the most reliable witness because she has little incentive to lie; ii.) Jay is more likely to have been truthful with Jenn (initially) than the police; iii.) Jay is motivated by a desire to limit his own involvement and the involvement of his friends and associates in the drug trade. Given these three premises — pretty natural, all of them — there’s very little that remains inexplicable or incongruous.

  47. thanks so much for this thoughtful and informative blog…I’m aware that we (the listening public) have been converted into a zillion armchair detectives after becoming SERIAL addicts, but there are obviously LOTS of holes in the narrative so far, and your observations are pretty spot on.
    Wish you’d been the defence for Adnan!

  48. Point re Inez, the podcast story you cite is later amended. Koenig says what Inez first told the cops is opposite. Opposite probably doesn’t mean Hae turned her car off, bought nothing, and asked Inez to make sure the bus left without waiting, and Inez saw someone getting into or lurking around Hae’s car.. It’s maddeningly ambiguous. Opposite???

  49. What I find interesting about the calls is that there is the 3:15pm call to Adnon’s phone (in Jay’s possession), but then there is a call from Jenn’s house at 3:21pm. How/why is Jenn’s house calling Jay if Jay is supposedly at Jenn’s house at that time?

  50. This is fascinating stuff. I had one small thought having looked at the cell phone logs and map again. What if Jay didn’t have Adnan’s phone until later, i.e. swung by the school and borrowed it just before 4pm as Adnan was starting track practice. This would make the calls between 2:30 and 3:45 Adnan’s, from the school while he waits for practice. This would gel with the location and explain the Nisha call. Then later, Jay could have hung onto it while Adnan went home and to mosque/evening prayers, and given it back to Adnan just before 9pm when the normal social calls to Nisha etc seem to resume in the vicinity of Adnan’s house.

  51. I assumed that “Top Spots” meant essentially ‘Good spotting’ as in – well noticed…. in other words the detective noticed the error of Jay’s words.

  52. Thank you Susan, your work outstanding. I am starting to believe that Adnan may not be in jail If you had been involved with the case all those years ago.

    I do believe now that Jay commited the deed by himself. Adnan could have been too high to remember or to do all that (speaking from my own experience being in that state when I was younger, many times you feel very lazy when your are that stone, you go with the flow and cannot really function, and tired the day after and barely remember much at all – it would have been interesting to have the opinion of an expert on that matter…) and it looks like it was what Jay wanted and he used it accordingly.
    Now I feel that Jen was let off the hook so easily. She did not like Hea.
    Hea may have known or did found out that Jay was unfaithful to Stephanie was therefore was a serious threat to his relationship (why this was never investigated?). Now, we have 2 people who does not like Hae at all and convenientely, they are covering up for each other. If think about it, it is plausible that Jay confronted Hea or that Hea confronted him about the affair. And that’s when Jay could have lost it.
    Jen and Jay’s relationship with Hea should have been deeply investigated: why Jen did not like her? Did something happened between them two? She did not mind Hae was killed?! That is strong to feel that way even for someone you do not really like… Could Jen have asked Jay to get rid of her? Her involvment should be more looked at.

    As for the detective, It may have been harder for them to convict Jay but so much easier to target Adnan and ‘successfully’ close the case.

    Does anyone think any of the above could make sense?

    • In the first episode, when I heard part of Jay’s interview with the cops (I knew 0 about the story or even who was talking then), I thought, “Well that guy’s lying, and he’s really bad at it.” It was so clear to me based on his word choice and tone. I remember thinking that interview must be something they just ripped to shreds later when the cops start busting out the, “funny you should say that, because we have proof that you were here at that time” etc. like they do on The First 48. Those cops let people come talk and tell all the lies they want, then they start picking the confessors’ stories apart with injections of evidence (even stuff they don’t have, just to see what they’ll say!). Anyway, I was shocked, truly shocked, that that was not what happened with that confessor and that testimony, which I later learned was Jay talking to cops.

      Because so many people apparently were not moved to immediate “this dude [Jay] is so full of it” thinking, I wondered what I was missing that they knew. So I became familiar with the subreddit, this blog, and as many other sources I could, including publicly available legal documents and records. I’m an attorney (civil litigation, nothing to do with criminal cases). When something doesn’t make sense to me, I dig and think and dig some more until I feel comfortable taking a position. It’s just who I am.

      With this case, it was clear almost immediately that there was reasonable doubt such that Adnan should not have been convicted. I’m 100% set on that. But what I really wanted to know was who did it? Adnan? Jay? Or both? I ruled out an unknown third party fairly quickly because, well, it’s just too far fetched based on Jay’s involvement. I’m 99.99% sure it was not a stranger, serial killer, or someone who didn’t know the main people involved here.

      After many hours of my free time forming a position, I have come to the conclusion that, if I were on a jury trying JAY for Hae’s murder totally on his own (no Adnan), based on everything he’s said and all the evidence available to the public, I would feel comfortable convicting Jay of murder. Not premeditated/first-degree, but a heat-of-the-moment intentional murder.

      In that same scenario, I’d want to convict Jenn of accessory after the fact. She helped cover up a murder, destroy evidence, lied to the cops, and would’ve happily lived out the rest of her days knowing darn good and well that two of her friends (according to Jay) murdered and buried this 18 year old girl. Jenn watched the search effort, knew what horror Hae’s family must’ve been going through not knowing if she was alive or dead or hurt somewhere. But Jenn never said a word. Not only that, she helped the killer and his accomplice get away (again, per Jay). It disgusts me. And she let a murderer (allegedly Adnan) walk around like nothing happened? She hung out with a guy who admits he knew a murder was going to happen, did nothing to stop it, actually helped it happen, and then buried the body? Wtf?! It is appalling that the cops let her just walk away from this like nothing happened. Can you imagine what it feels like to be Hae’s mom, knowing Jenn could’ve brought their daughter’s body back and her killer to justice the day after it happened but instead helped them conceal it?

      Rant over. But consider this–had Jenn done the right thing and reported what Jay told her to the police immediately, they might’ve found so much more evidence at the burial site (1 day of weather versus weeks), on Hae’s body, and in her car. Plus they could’ve tested it all against Jay and Adnan before they could destroy more evidence. They could’ve pulled the shovels and clothes from the dumpster. They could’ve asked these kids about January 13 while it was fresh on their minds. They could’ve checked surveillance footage from the gas station on Hae’s credit card receipt, at Best Buy, at the public library where Adnan said he was…. It just goes on and on.

      Now, some people think Jay didn’t tell Jenn until the night Hae’s body was found. There are arguments on both sides, which you can find on reddit. But the theory is they lied about it to the cops because it sounded better if Jay told Jenn that day it all happened. She could corroborate his story (they still struggle at this, too many lies and made up things to keep track of). Sometimes I wish this were the truth so that I don’t have to imagine Jenn sitting on all that info while Hae’s body is in a shallow grave and her family is holding out hope. It is so utterly disturbing.

      • I,too, am a civil litigator and completely agree with your analysis of Jay’s lies. When I was a new lawyer, I’d get so upset when deponents lied to me. I quickly learned that the best thing to do is sit back and let them continue to lie, and lie, and lie. They will ultimately bury themselves because almost no one is a really good liar, and will get caught up in inconsistencies and assertions that defy the evidence (like the phone records). In this case it is indisputable that Jay’s statements were lies upon lies upon lies, yet the police and prosecution seemed to ignore it. The same with Adnan’s attorney who was woefully unprepared to defend him.

      • I understand and agree with your position.

        I wish Jen’s relationship to Hae would have been investigated. I am also incline to believe that she was more involved in the murder than she and Jay say (he even admited that he tried to protect her by lying).

        Think about that instead of the Jay/Adnan duo, how about the Jay/Jen duo? She is involved up to her neck….

  53. Hi, you mentioned that Jenn did not like Hae. I don’t recall that in the podcast. Did Jenn say that in an interview? I was under the impression she didn’t really know Hae but, if she disliked her that puts things in another light.

    • In her interview, Jenn describes Hae as “ditzy” and “stuck up,” but says that if someone met her, they would probably think she seemed nice (Jenn Int. at 35). In Jay’s interview, he says that he told Jenn about Adnan’s plan to kill Hae, but she didn’t really care:

      Detective: Jenn never really like Hay, correct?
      Jay: Yeah, I mean.
      Detective: So I mean, did she actually even care?
      Jay: Not really. (Int.2 at 48).

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  56. I can’t believe you refer to this post as the “smallest details”. I don’t want to tell you how many times I said WTF while reading this. I think what I am feeling right now is shocked. Wow, just wow.

  57. I will echo the sentiment stated many times, thanks Susan for such thorough investigations into these details. I have read through all your blog posts on Serial, but unfortunately haven’t made it through all the comments, so I’m not sure if this is a repeat question. I am so glad you included the “Answers showing Jay knows too much” section. All of these things have been sticking out to me as well. I was wondering if you had similar thoughts on any part of his Intercept interviews. One part that stuck out to me was when he was explaining the (alleged) conversation he had with Adnan when Adnan first said he was going to kill Hae. Jay says “…But I just thought he was just shooting off like everyone else shoots off when they’re mad at their girlfriend. He never said anything like, ‘Hey, what gauge gun should I use?’ or ‘How many minutes am I supposed to hold somebody under the water for?’ or, ‘Is there a statute of limitation on murder?’…” That last part immediately stuck out to me. Why WOULD he have said “What is the statute of limitations on murder?” The other two phrases make sense: a high school student who was seriously planning to commit a murder would likely say things like “What gun should I use?” and “How long does it take to drown someone?”, but it is highly unlikely a high school student would be contemplating the statue of limitations on a murder they haven’t even committed or gotten away with yet. However, I imagine that JAY has likely been contemplating this as of late, and in his usual fashion, real life thoughts and memories inform his lies.

  58. Pingback: CONTINUING WITH “SERIAL”: THE LAZINESS OF EVIL | kitchenmudge

  59. Pingback: Serial: Killer radio or mere hatchet job? | Here Lie the Remains

  60. Loving this post! This one is driving me crazy:

    “Jay: Oh I’m sorry, I apologize. Um, I’m missing.
    Detective: Okay.
    Jay: Top spots. Um, yes I’m sorry. We leave, we we still do have two cars. (Int.2 at 35.) ”

    What is he talking about??? Any theories on “top spots?” Is this a common phrase I’m not familiar with? I sort of get Susan’s implication but not really. Help?

  61. Hi there,

    I came across the SERIAL podcast only yesterday, I’ve listened to the whole thing and I am now… slightly obsessed, I realise this article is a few months old but does anyone know where their at with the case ‘now’ and whether or not Deirdre Enright and The Innocent Project forensically tested the physical evidence?

    • As far as I’m aware, they have yet to even locate the evidence, or determine for sure that it still exists. BPD has previously informed Adnan’s counsel that the evidence was thrown away, but there are no records certifying that fact, which means they may still exist somewhere in the system.

  62. Susan, I’m confused about Jenn’s statements regarding seeing Adnan when she picked up Jay after the burial. If this a lie, isn’t it a massive lie? A lie that would be considered aiding a murder cover up? Does she ever backtrack from this, or do we have any way to know it’s a lie? It seems this is a game changer either way…

  63. Pingback: Susan Simpson’s blog – Read in a Flash!

  64. Susan, I do agree with you, maybe Jay did not like Hae… I do recall reading in one of the myriad documents that Stephanie had confided in a friend that she was “interested” in Adnan. Could Jay have found out about this and plotted to have Adnan eliminated, so to speak? we knowJen did not like Hae. It seems strange that on Stephanie’s birthday (as well as Hae’s day of disappearance) Jay did NOT spend any time with Stephanie, his beloved girlfriend, whom he wanted to “protect” (insert snicker here) and instead spent time with Jenn.. Jenn’s & Jay’s stories of the day’s event do not match, but strangely enough ONLY their alibis match.. this is highly suspicious

  65. First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask
    if you don’t mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Many thanks!

  66. Pingback: Synthesis – The Analysis of Adnan Syed’s Guilt – Aja Khanal's ENG4U Blog

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  70. Pingback: Synthesis – The Analysis of Adnan Syed’s Guilt – A sky full of stars

  71. Pingback: Adnan Syed, Guilty or Innocent? – Engilshforlife

  72. Hi Susan. Thanks for this. Very helpful and insightful.

    “…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… (And I would fully agree that all of Jay’s lies are designed to protect himself from being charged with a more serious crime.)”

    1. I’m just trying to understand this. You say that Jay trying to minimise his role in the crime cannot explain the bulk of his lies, but then you say all of Jay’s lies are designed to protect himself from being changed with a more serious crime.

    Could you just clarify what you mean here?

    2. Can you give me a couple of examples of some of Jay’s lies where he is just trying to minimise his role in the crime, that are not lies because he is being coached by the police to fill in the details of their narrative?


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