Serial: How to Commit Effective Perjury in Eleven Easy Steps

The rumors of Serial’s end have been greatly exaggerated — and between Jay’s recent interview with the Intercept, the release of the trial transcripts from the first trial, the upcoming appeal hearing in Adnan’s collateral appeal, and the work being done by the Innocence Project, new information is coming out faster than I can keep up with. I’ll have a more comprehensive post up in a day or two discussing some of those things, but for now, I wanted to address a specific subject: not what lies Jay has told, or why he told them, but how he was able to come up with those lies in the first place.

Because one of the primary arguments raised by those who support the prosecution’s case is that Jay’s testimony, although troubling due to its inconsistencies, is nevertheless indicative of Adnan’s guilt, because it would have been impossible for Jay to have invented a story out of thin air that was sufficient to convict Adnan of first-degree murder. And that is absolutely correct — there is not a chance in the world that Jay could have come up with the testimony he gave at Adnan’s trial, given only a single shot to do so. Jay needed many, many tries in order to cobble together a somewhat believable story. More than that, he needed someone to supply him with additional information about Adnan’s alibi and the prosecution’s physical evidence, and who could identify and correct all the parts of Jay’s stories that were either demonstrably false or else ineffective at incriminating Adnan.

Luckily for Jay, the state of Maryland was happy to help him out with that. Based on the transcripts from Adnan’s first trial, we now have something closer to a complete picture of how the story of the prosecution’s star witness evolved.

1. Jay’s Statements Prior to Police Questioning, January 13 – February 28, 1999: After Hae’s murder and burial in Leakin Park, Jay told at least four friends about his role in covering up the crime. He told different stories to at least three of them — Jenn was given the version about Hae being killed in Best Buy, Chris was given the version about the car salesman and Hae being strangled at the Woodlawn library before the trunk pop later occurring at the pool hall, Tayyib was given the version about Adnan asking Jay for help with the murder and Jay telling him that he would only help with the cover up. At least one of those friends, Jenn, provided Jay with feedback  on the believability of that story, and “told him there were security cameras in the parking lot and at the entrance” of the Best Buy (Episode 8). Consequently, out of fear of what those security cameras might show, Jay attempted to change his story, trying out several more renditions of the trunk pop claim before eventually settling on the story he gave in his first interview, which was that the trunk pop occurred at a strip. (After all — a strip is the last place anyone is going to have a security camera!)

Of course, this attempt at crafting his story ended up backfiring a bit on Jay — because the police got to Jenn first, and she told them the story Jay had first tried out on her, which was that the murder and trunk pop occurred at the Best Buy.

2. Jay’s First Pre-Interview, February 28, 1999: We do not know the contents of the first story Jay gave to the police, because it was not recorded. When the police brought Jay in to the station during the early hours of February 28th, he and the detectives talked for about an hour before the tape recorder was turned on. As a result, here is everything we know about the contents of that first statement:

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.
Jay: Yes. (Int.1 at 24-25.)

In other words, Jay’s first attempt to explain how Adnan was responsible for Hae’s murder was a complete failure. It had “a lot” of inconsistencies — and for a story to have a “a lot” of inconsistencies in comparison to his first recorded statement, it must have been damned near incoherent.

3. Jay’s First Recorded Interview, February 28, 1999: After the pre-interview, the detectives and Jay talked through his story until Jay came up with a better version, at which point the tape recorder was turned on. Jay admits he was lying in his first story, but swears that he is telling the truth now.

4. Jay’s Telephone Conversations with Detectives, February 28 – March 15, 1999: Jay acknowledges that the detectives contacted him by phone to ask him “questions challenging what [he] had said” in the first interview (12/15/99 Tr. 158). In doing so, the police alerted Jay to the problems they had found with his story, and gave him the opportunity both to correct those statements, and to talk with potential witnesses (i.e., Cathy, Jeff, Jenn, Mark) and find out whether they had been contacted by police, and if so, what they had said.

5. Jay’s Second Pre-Interview, March 15, 1999: After determining that essentially the entirety of Jay’s first police statement was nothing but a pack of lies, the cops make a surprise visit to Jay and take him down to the police station for another round of interviews. During a three hour “pre-interview,” which was unrecorded, the detectives showed Jay the cell phone records for Adnan’s cell phone, and explained to him why they knew his earlier stories had been false.

CG: And you knew that on the 15th of March, you still felt considered like a suspect; right?
Jay: Yes.
CG: They had at that time, because they shared with you your acquaintance Adnan’s cell phone records; did they not?
Jay: Yes.
CG: Okay. And in fact, they asked you about numbers on the cell phone records; did they not?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: And they asked you to describe numbers on a cell phone printout; did they not?
Jay: Yes, ma’am. (12/15/99 Tr. 142.)

Jay later seemed to be about to acknowledge that the police “presented” him with the cell phone records prior to the interview:

CG: Well, you’ve already told us, [Jay], that you recall that they had the cell phone records; correct?
Jay: That wasn’t until the 15th, wasn’t it?
CG: No, sir.
Jay: That was the 28th?
CG: That’s what you answered, sir. Do you now not recall?
Jay: The police presented me —
Urick: Objection.
The Court: Sustained. (12/15/99 Tr. 162.)

Urick, however, jumps right in before Jay can elaborate — it seems like he is not particularly keen on having Jay explain exactly what the police did to assist him in correcting his statements.

6. Jay’s Second Recorded Interview, March 15, 1999: Three hours after Jay arrived at the police station, the tape recorded was finally turned on, and Jay gave his second recorded statement.  When confronted with his lies, Jay freely admitted to the cops that he had been lying in his earlier stories, but swears to them that he was telling the truth now.

According to Detective MacGillivary, Jay managed to do a lot better at the second interview. He testified, at the second trial, that he and Detective Ritz had “noticed that [Jay] statement did not match up to the records,” but that “[o]nce confronted with the cell phone records, [Jay] ‘remembered things a lot better’” (Brief of Appellant at 11). Great work, boys.

Of course, the only things Jay “remembered [ ] a lot better” during that interview were the things that the detectives had identified as being false, and told him he needed to change. All of those lies that the detectives hadn’t caught? Jay stuck by them, now with the knowledge that the cops had not been able to disprove what he had said. On the other hand, all the parts of his story that did conflict with the evidence he was happy to abandon, and he adopted a new version of events in their place, telling new lies to replace the lies that had already been uncovered:

CG: Now, the second time that you spoke to them, the time when they confronted you with your earlier lies, you told us you then told them the truth; correct?
Jay: The second time?
CG: The second time —
Jay: Not the complete truth.
CG: on the 15th of March; correct?
Jay: No, ma’ am, I did not.
CG: You didn’t tell them the whole truth?
Jay: No, ma’am, I did not.
CG: You again lied to them; correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: At a time when they had it on tape; correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: You lied the first time and you attempted to correct some of those lies, right?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: But you again lied about other things, isn’t that correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am. (12/15/99 Tr. 192.)

So the version of events Jay gives in the second interview is still not the truth, but it is a much improved lie compared to his first version of events. (He even almost succeeds in telling a story that does not involve either Hae’s car or Adnan’s car randomly disappearing!)

7. Jay’s Written Itinerary, March 18, 1999: Although no copy of this document has yet been released, and it is not entirely clear if Adnan’s defense counsel was aware of its existence at the time of the first trial, on March 18th, three days after Jay’s second interview, Jay provided the cops with a written itinerary of every place he and Adnan went on January 13, 1999:

When Jay took the cops on this ride on March 18, to map out the timeline, he told them that after they left the Park and Ride, they went in search of weed. He says that’s when he called his friend Patrick. (Episode 5.)

This is the route that Dana and Sarah try to recreate, and which they ultimately dismiss as a fool’s errand.  But it was certainly a productive trip for Jay, because it allowed him to see, in real time, exactly what parts of his timeline did not match up with reality:

The next stop after Best Buy [according to the March 18th itinerary] is the I-70 Park and Ride, where Jay says they leave Hae’s car for a few hours. It’s just a large commuter parking lot. Jay says he follows Adnan there, Adnan is driving Hae’s car.  . . . When Jay took the cops on this ride on March 18, to map out the timeline, he told them that after they left the Park and Ride, they went in search of weed. He says that’s when he called his friend Patrick. And this is where things start to get off course. There is indeed a call to Patrick on the call log. But it’s at 3:59 p.m. So right away, we have a time problem.

By trial, though, Jay has sorted that out, so that his story better matched the call log. He testified that he called Jenn Pusateri first, at 3:21 to find out if Patrick was home. Jenn testified that, no, Jay would not have called her to find out where Patrick was.  That’s just not a thing that would have happened. But in any case, there is a call to Jenn at 3:21. Jay says that when they didn’t find Patrick at home, they switched course and headed up to Forest Park to buy weed. Dana and I drive that same route. (Id.)

The March 18th itinerary is, incidentally, the very last time Jay tells a version of events that involve a trip to Patapsco State Park. One can only assume that when forced to actually live out the story he was trying to tell, he realized just how ridiculous the Patapsco State Park trip was, and wisely chose to abandon it.

8. Jay’s Phone Calls and Meetings with the Police, Ongoing, February 28, 1999 – April 13, 1999: Jay had numerous other (apparently unrecorded) meetings and phone calls with the police during the course of the investigation. Jay testified that throughout the entire time police were hauling him in for “official” interviews, they were calling him up to chat about smaller problems with his story, and asking him to correct problems with it:

Sometimes they would come and say, “We need to speak with you at this time,” but never an extensive conversation (12/15/99 Tr. 90).

We do not know the specifics of these little chats, as Gutierrez declined to ask about them, but it is safe to assume the conversations either involved questioning Jay about discrepancies in his story (thus alerting him to the parts he needed to change) and seeking clarification about other parts of the case (thus alerting him to other details it would be helpful for him to provide).

9. Jay’s Third Interview, Unrecorded, April 13, 1999: On the day that the grand jury indicted Adnan for Hae’s  murder, the detectives brought Jay in for a third official sit-down interview. The timing of the third interview is no coincidence — as of April 13, 1999, the prosecution had the advantage of having heard all of the testimony presented before the grand jury, and were no longer only relying on Jay’s crazy stories. They now had a much clearer idea of where all Jay’s previous statements had gone wrong, and exactly where Jay’s statements conflicted with that of the prosecution’s other witnesses:

CG: Were you again confronted [on April 13th] about other inconsistencies about what you had said on either the 28th that was taped or on the 15th of March that was taped?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: Okay. And you again attempted to explain to the detectives what all of these inconsistencies were, correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am. (12/15/99 Tr. 187.)

Once again, the police presented Jay with a to-do list of all the problems in his story that he needed to fix. But it was not just conflicts with the statements from other witnesses that the detectives needed to have Jay correct — they also needed to make Jay change his story so that it fit the location data from Adnan’s cell records. By that point, the poor beleaguered detectives must have realized that their location data — with its extremely valuable Leakin Park pings — was going to be rendered completely worthless by their star witness’s testimony — with its failure to match the location data in most relevant respects. Either the location data was right or Jay’s statement was right, but it was painfully obvious they could not both be right. And since they needed both for their case against Adnan, that had to be remedied:

CG: And, sir, when you spoke to them on the 13th what things did they ask you about?
Jay: Just specifics of where the cell phone was. (12/15/99 Tr. 194.)

In his testimony at the first trial, however, Jay had something even more interesting to say about the statement he gave to the detectives, during this unrecorded interview:

CG: And that’s why they again attempted to confront you with those lies a month later on the 13th, which was a Tuesday, of April, isn’t that correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: So you lied to them on the 28th; correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: And you lied to them on the 15th of March, correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: And, of course, on the 13th of April you lied to them about other things, did you not?
Jay: No, ma’am, I did not. (12/15/99 Tr. 193.)

Wait, what?! Jay committed to the April 13th story as the truest story of them all? The story in which “[Jay] told police that [Adnan] had killed the victim in Patapsco State Park, and that [Adnan] paid him to help”? (CoSA Opinion, at 9.) That is what Jay is going to claim he did not lie about?

I have no idea what was going on at trial, because, somehow, Gutierrez did not follow up in questioning Jay about why his April 13th story is the Most Truest story of them all. Did the prosecution fail to disclose the contents of this unrecorded interview to the defense, and Gutierrez had no idea what Jay was saying? Or was Gutierrez so incompetent she knew about it, and did not think to question Jay about it? Because this sure looks like it must have been either a Brady violation or ineffective assistance of counsel — either Gutierrez did not have the April 13th story, or else she screwed up, one or the other.

It is clear, however, why the April 13th statement remained unrecorded. Because once Jay started spouting off his story about Adnan paying him to assist him with cleaning up the murder he committed in Patapsco State Park, the police sure as heck were not going to be turning on that tape recorder and allowing all that bad evidence to be permanently recorded. Best to forget that the whole April 13th interview ever happened.

Jay himself appears to have been aware of why the detectives chose not to record the April 13th statement — and consequently, aware of the fact that the detectives were assisting him in preparing his story for trial, by looking the other direction when he screwed it up too badly:

CG: [On April 13th,] [t]hey hadn’t caught up to all of the lies, particularly the new ones that you told them on the 15th,  had they?
Jay: I have no knowledge of that, ma’am.
CG: Right, because they didn’t — they confronted you but they didn’t tell you all of the things that you knew you had lied about
Urick: Objection.
CG: Correct?
The Court: Overruled.
Jay: No, ma’am, they did not.
CG: No, they didn’t because they hadn’t caught them all; correct?
Jay: Hmm, I’m not aware of that.
CG: You don’t know whether they caught all of your lies or not?
Jay: Pardon me?
CG: You don’t know whether they caught all of your lies or not?
Jay: I’m not aware. That’s their job. I’m not —
CG: So it’s their job to catch you up in your lies; correct?
Jay: That’s their job to recite what I say, yes.
CG: It’s easier for them to catch you in lies that they record, is it not?
Jay: Yes, ma’am. (12/15/99 Tr. 192-94.)

And if Jay lies in a police statement, but the tape recorder was not turned on at the time, does the lie really count for impeachment purposes?

10. Jay’s Meetings with Urick, September – December 1999: At the first trial, Jay testified that he met with Urick on two occasions (12/15/99 Tr. 58). The first meeting would have been on September 7th, when he arranged for Jay to have an attorney and negotiated a plea deal. The second time would apparently be a meeting to discuss Jay’s testimony at trial.

Although it is unclear exactly when it occurred, it was likely during Jay’s second interview with Urick that he was provided transcripts of his recorded police statements:

CG: And you know that there’ s a transcript made of what you told them [during the February 28th and March 15th interviews], isn’t that correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: Because you’ve had an opportunity to review the transcripts of both occasions that were recorded in which you lied to the police, isn’t that correct?
Jay: Yes, ma’am.
CG: Yes. And you have in, fact, reviewed the transcripts of both occasions, isn’t that correct?
Jay: No, ma’am. (12/15/99 Tr. 211.)

The only reason you give a witness transcripts of their prior statements, at least under these circumstances, is so that they can be prepared to give better trial testimony. Jay denies that he actually made use of this opportunity, but since he has lied about everything else, there is no reason to believe he is not lying about this too. Besides, whether or not he actually reviewed the transcripts, he fact that he was provided with the chance to do so is significant, and shows how the prosecution was working with Jay to “correct” the testimony he would give at trial.

11. Jay’s First Trial Testimony: By the time of trial, Jay had told his story dozens upon dozens of times. Between the first story he tells and the last, all but perhaps three or four details have been changed, and a great deal of new evidence and data that Jay did not have at the time of his first statement — the phone log, the location data, the statements from other witnesses — have been provided to him, and incorporated into the statement he tells at trial, under oath.

Everything he said in that last version was a complete lie, of course. He said so last week. The whole timeline, the whole trunk pop thing, when Adnan made phone calls and where he was when he did — Jay just made it all up, because he liked his imaginary version better than the truth. It was a pretty good lie, though, all things considered.

And perjury on the scale that Jay has admitted to is not something that just happens overnight — it’s something that takes a great deal of practice and teamwork to achieve.


110 thoughts on “Serial: How to Commit Effective Perjury in Eleven Easy Steps

  1. I — and so many others — have been waiting on your take of Jay’s interviews for The Intercept. Reading through those interviews made my head spin; it was — as Serial’s Sarah Koenig and Dana Chivvis say in Episode 5, “like plotting a dream.”

    I love that you’ve put your legal mind + expertise to Jay’s interviews; I also can’t wait for your longer post!

    The way you’ve dissected the evidence, trial, transcripts, everything — it’s stellar, crucial work. You’ve done so much to separate out the emotion and keep chipping away at the facts. Huge, huge props to you.

  2. I messaged you on reddit about one of my posts. I think your analysis has been great, but you are wrong about some key things, I think.

    Fundamentally you have to see the zigs and zags of Jay’s story not as the tales of a madman but the story of a man afraid to reveal what he knows, because of who it implicates – not Adnan. My current view is that Jay knows who murdered Hae, and that it was neither Adnan nor Jay himself. It was one or more people (potentially relative or associates of Jay’s family) of whom Jay was very scared. I think Adnan knows this too – which explains why Adnan has never accused Jay of the killing. He knows Jay didn’t do it.

    From Jay’s perspective, had Adnan done it, and Jay only witnessed it, or only been enlisted to assist with the coverup, once the police signaled to Jay that they thought Adnan was the killer, and they wanted Jay to help put him away, Jay didn’t need to keep telling these stories. But he does, because he’s covering something else up that the cops don’t even realize.

    One view is that the cops keep working Jay over to get him to conform his story to the facts they know, so they can ‘frame’ Adnan. But another view is that these cops think they’re dealing with a scared kid who is afraid of being convicted of murder, and they expect at some point for the kid to drop his guard and tell a straightforward story of what happened. By ‘helping’ him with phone records and such, the cops can convince Jay that he is safe to tell the real truth. You can imagine that when they bring him in after Adnan’s indictment, they honestly expect this to happen. They didn’t show him the Leakin Park pings to help him lie, but to help him tell the truth.

    But Jay is never going to tell the real truth to these cops.

    In the course of your analysis you are discarding details that are in fact nuggets of that truth.

    Jay talks about calling Patrick for weed because he needs an explanation for why Patrick was called right around the time you (and I) believe Hae was abducted or killed. The weed tale is the lie to cover Jay calling for help.

    Jay says he called Jenn a 3:21 looking for Patrick because he needs to explain that call, which he knows he made, and did so right around the suspected time of Hae’s murder. I bet this call is important to Jay because he’s calling his ‘boo’ who he can trust (not the pristine, apparently law-abiding Stephanie) that he just witnessed some scary shit go down. The call happened, Jay just needs a (nonsensical) reason for it.

    Jay tells the story of not finding Patrick, and therefore going to Forest Park looking for weed, because he knows he was in Forest Park after departing the Best Buy area, and he needs an explanation for why. It sure looks like the real reason he was in Forest Park was to make an unexplained visit to the family criminal compound, “Grandma’s House.”

    Finally, Patapsco Park. Yes, he abandons that part of the narrative, but look at the 12:07 call from earlier in the day. The cell tower ping that, according to your call log post, seems so mysterious and unexplainable, shows he and Adnan smoking weed at Patapsco before Jay drops Adnan back at school. Jay latches onto the location because that’s the easiest way to lie – use partial truths. They were there together that day, just at an irrelevant time. The Patapsco story told to he cops puts Adnan with Jay right after the murder. But Jay can abandon this when it becomes clear during all these police interviews that he can implicate Adnan to the satisfaction of the police without it.

    Couple things not in your post here but in others. First, the 2:36 call is squarely in the direction of Jenn’s house. Jay is likely there, after he was in Forest Park and before going to the area of Best Buy. This is not inconsistent with Jay having involvement with Hae’s death, or at least knowing who did it. Second, you’ve got the park he wanted Jenn to pick him up from incorrect; it wasn’t the Western Hills Community Park near the Mosque, it was Gilston Park at the intersection of Chesworth and Gilston Park Roads. This is significant because Laura and Neighbor Boy live right there, and that area is right where Jay was staying at the time. (I’m thinking the trunk pop happened there, after Jay leaves Adnan at the mosque and takes his car again. I’ve found a circumstantial connection between Jay and Neighbor Boy.)

    But again, great work. Nice to see someone else obsessing about a case they’re not getting paid for. With some more crowdsourced investigation, and some anonymous comments and maybe more Jay interviews, we can make more progress than SK did.

    • Just curious why you think Jay’s lies suggest he’s covering for someone of whom he’s afraid and not that he did it himself? Why one and not the other?

      • Look at n.h.’s comment below — that comment asks the right question. Susan has shown just how absurd Jay’s stories are. They are so contradictory that he’s clearly no diabolical mastermind. But at the same time I don’t believe he’s mentally ill either. My point is that the theory of Jay with the most explanatory force is fear. His stories make no sense because he has an impossible task — he needs to hide whatever/whoever he’s afraid of, and he has to incriminate Adnan. And. He only has several hours of an afternoon’s events to scramble up to do this.

        • The problem with believing that Jay was in fear and only had a few hours to make up a story and frame Adnan means that you would have to explain why Jay told 3-4 people that Adnan had killed Hae before he was brought in by th cops.

          Isn’t that indicative of some kind of pre-meditation by Jay?

          • You’ve just answered your own question. Jay is casting guilt on Adnan and away from anyone else. The 3-4 stories he tells of course make no sense because none of them are true. Lying is hard — and he’s not a diabolical mastermind. The stories don’t “frame” Adnan in some airtight way. But they all communicate the message Jay wanted to send: as you say, “Adnan had killed Hae.” By the time he sits down with the cops they are entirely ready to believe this. Look at the desperation and absurdity of all these stories. They only “make sense” if we look to another motivation for them entirely.

          • I do not think this went down at all the way Jay said it did, but I can’t help wondering, as an honest question, if Jay were acting out of fear, why finger anyone for this, though? Why not keep your mouth shut and, if the cops ask, stick with “I wasn’t involved and I don’t know who was”? Was it because Jay thought they had some kind of physical evidence implicating him (Jay) and he felt he needed to explain it away by giving them another suspect? Did the detectives insinuate that they had such evidence to him before the tape was turned on? And, even if so, that doesn’t explain why he’d lay the groundwork for this argument by telling Jen, Patrick, etc. about it in advance of speaking to the cops. So much of this is so odd to me.

          • Danielle: “Why not keep your mouth shut…”

            After these interviews, does Jay strike you as someone who is able to do that even when in his best interests?

          • I think one possibility is that Jay tells enough people that Adnan did it so it gets back to the Popo (possibly through Tayyib).

            But when the Popo pull Adnan’s cell phone records, it puts them on Jenn who is linked to more than just Jay.

            Then Jay has a real problem.

      • Danielle @ 6:37 said: ” if Jay were acting out of fear, why finger anyone for this, though? Why not keep your mouth shut and, if the cops ask, stick with “I wasn’t involved and I don’t know who was”?”

        I’m realizing I need a timeline of the investigation itself (who was talked to and when) but I think the answer is, because Jenn made this impossible with her interview. It has been suggested that in fact Jenn was unaware of the murder until the body was located weeks later and Jay came to her (at some sports bar). Note also that on cross, Jay admits that Jenn stopped speaking to him after she was questioned by the police. We know there are too many calls between Jay and Jenn on January 13. She’s in the soup, so Jay definitely has to start talking.

    • Just want to say I think you’re spot on for this. He’s been covering for someone all along. That’s the person (or people) he’s afraid of

    • I agree w/ this & I like your explanation of the Patapsco thing. Jay’s reactions make the most sense if someone else was involved — for instance, his fear that “they” were coming after him in a white van. Jay’s extreme terror doesn’t seem to fit if he and/or Adnan were the only people involved. Adnan didn’t have some posse of criminal friends willing to scare someone out of snitching (&, of course, there’s no reason to fear any accomplices if Jay was the sole killer).

      Jay’s willingness to go along with Adnan’s murder plans seems implausible & fishy in all his versions of the story — even if he weren’t willing to go to the police, why couldn’t he just refuse to help with the burial? But it makes a bit more sense if the killer was an experienced criminal with lots of criminal friends — someone intimidating. This would also explain why Jay was calling Patrick, given that he was a weed dealer and would not have needed to call someone else for weed.

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Would you please enumerate the 3-4 times you think Jay is consistent in his story-telling? I was 2L once at an Ivy, turned out it just wasn’t for me, but I find your analysis/commentary particularly interesting.

    • After the Intercept story, we’re down to three consistencies (Adnan showed Jay Hae’s body in the trunk of her car; Hae was later buried in Leakin Park; the shovels used to bury Hae came from Jay’s house). But prior to the Intercept interview, Jay remained consistent that Adnan went to track practice that day; that he was at Jenn’s house until 3:40 pm; and that Hae was buried around 7 or 8pm on January 13th.

      • omg I’m so embarrassed, I meant Susan not Sarah! My apologies, the two are not interchangeable!! I’m so sorry!!

        Thank you, honestly and sincerely, for your in-depth analysis!!

      • Love how Jay called Jenn at 3:21 for some nonsense reason. Don’t they both assert that he was at her house, watching the clock, waiting for Adnan to call?

      • The simplicity in the way you lay out the ‘consistencies’ shows how FOS (snarky radiology term) Jay’s Intercept interview was. On Reddit a lot of people are eager to proclaim his latest version as, finally, the truth. And yet in this new version he’s dropped 3 of the consistent parts of his previous narrative, and all 3 of these revisions are implausible and contradict witnesses and hard evidence.

  4. Great post! I am so into this story. It feels like something that could have happened at my school. I can’t wait to see what the outcome will be for Adnan. Jay is just a slimy character. I need to read the Intercept interview. I’ve been dreading it but I just can’t turn away from the story.

  5. Obviously, at this point, Jay lied is not news. The issue is, is it incriminating lie or is it irrelevant lie? At least for me, he provided reasonable justification for the BestBuy lie. The trunk pop occurred right in front of his granny’s house. And in his mind, was concerned involving granny. At the same time in that interview, he told a brand new lie. He said Adnan called him at his house in the evening. This is not in the call logs. So, needless to say, I’m very confused and don’t know what to believe.

    • Yes, Jay’s Memaw Manoeuvre was masterful. How could anyone doubt someone who loves his Nana so much he’d commit perjury to protect her?….

      …..Although it is puzzling why he felt he had to protect his Grandma from Chris, Jenn or Tayyib (and possibly Neighbor Boy) before the cops are even involved….. Or why he had to lie about anything else. Surely if he is protecting Grandma then all he has to do is tell the truth about everything else and just change the location of the trunk pop. That’s only one lie to remember. Surely it’s easier to remember 3-4 lies rather than a whole ever-changing plethora of them?

      I find Susan’s argument that Jay could be trying out different stories on different people to be a reasonable solution to what seemed previously just bizarre (and made more bizarre by the Intercept Interview) behaviour to me.

      I’d be interested to know if anyone who finds Jay’s testimony convincing could explain why he lies to his friends before the cops are involved.

      • Perhaps these are not really “stories” in the sense that Jay sat these people down and said, “ok, here’s what happened.” Perhaps these instead are off hand lies for the sake of rumor mongering, with the added benefit of poisoning the witness pool, so to speak. “Can you believe this shit about Adnan and Hae.” “Yo, man, I’m just sayin’, I heard he did with the candlestick in the kitchen.” Or, “yo, I heard it was like, pow, with the knife in the drawing room.” This would be pretty easy to do really, and with this age group, all of this would circulate wide and become gospel.

    • The who did it or why they did is all just speculation.

      We really have no hope of trying to successfully piece together what occurred with the little evidence & inconsistent witness testimony available.

      The only thing we should be asking is do you think Adnan should be serving a life plus 30 years sentence based on Jay’s testimony?

      It’s the only thing we can comment on for certain. There’s no point trying to fill in the gaps with guesswork because we have no evidence to fill in those gaps.

    • “The trunk pop occurred right in front of his granny’s house. And in his mind, was concerned involving granny.”

      As has been documented here and elsewhere, ‘granny’s house’ is not who/what you think. Short version: Jay had two grandmothers, and lived with his maternal grandmother. His paternal grandmother owned a home near some of the people Jay called that day, near Leakin Park. This home had a lot of people living in it, and some of those people were involved in much more than occasional weed dealing. This granny’s house is listed in court documents in multiple criminal cases around that time. This information never came up at trial, and casts a distinctly different light on many of Jay’s actions that day.

      • Perhaps Jay felt the need to provide the police with a location for the murder and trunk pop that was free of any irksome security cameras that might contradict his story. In fact, he said as much in explaining to the police why he didn’t use Best Buy in his initial tellings — because he was worried the lot had cameras. Once he knew it did not, he remembered things a lot better.

  6. Great post. It’s so interesting to compare Jay’s most recent interview with the record on his previous testimonies & tales. None of it hangs together, not even his most recent “information”. The most puzzling thing is why Jay can’t just tell the truth. What difference would it make? Adnan’s in prison. Jay isn’t going to be exposing any of the friends we’ve already heard about via Serial and if there is someone new, he could use an alias to protect the innocent or uninvolved, everybody would understand. So why does he continue in the same vein as laid out so clearly in your post — changing details, changing timelines, making things up, leaving things out etc? So many people are trying to make sense of what he says and nobody can really do it. Yes, there are many people who believe his accusation (that “Adnan did it”) but nobody can honestly say that any of Jay’s stories fully make sense. I’m not naive enough to think that Adnan could not have done it — he was unable to account for his whereabouts in any way that provided a solid alibi. I don’t go for the “gentle, nice guy” argument– domestic violence shows us that plenty of seemingly gentle nice guys are capable of doing grievous harm to their female partners. But I can’t make any sense of WHY it’s so necessary even now for Jay to keep messing with his own stories? There’s too much obfuscation and invention going on for any of his testimonies or tales to hang together with the existing facts or evidence. He was successful, he accused Adnan and Adnan is in prison, everyone else that Jay was so worried about protecting went on to live their own lives. People have already pointed out that his new story in the interview doesn’t fit well to the record either. It’s just unconscionable that anyone in his position is still shifting his story around like we’re all playing with Legos or something. A girl is dead, a young man went to prison for life-plus, families are grieving. Jay should not still be moving his pieces around. The events already happened, all he needs to do now (since he agreed to give an interview) is tell the story that fits the known facts or be able to substantiate his own story better if facts are missing. He hasn’t done that and he comes across as very manipulative in his interview.

    • Jay should have either told the truth, or stuck to saying “my testimony at trial was truthful.” Hae’s family would probably appreciate hearing what actually happened to her, instead of a bunch of wacky stories. As for why he provided a new timeline at all: perhaps he felt the desire to clean up his trial story & change some of the more implausible or self-incriminating details (for instance, the notion that Adnan told him about the murder plan ahead of time & Jay agreed to help instead of trying to talk him out of it — he’s now saying he didn’t think Adnan was serious). His new story probably contains some lies, and some mistakes made due to poor memory (e.g. the time of the burial, a detail he has no reason to lie about). He may not have realized how wildly his new version of the story diverged from the trial version.

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  9. Lawyer here, but civil litigation.

    The objection you note above:

    CG: That’s what you answered, sir. Do you now not recall?
    Jay: The police presented me –
    Urick: Objection.
    The Court: Sustained.

    What is the basis for sustaining the objection? Urick doesn’t offer a basis, the court doesn’t explain, and I don’t see anything wrong with the question. Can the prosecutor really object to an answer?

    • That went on all the time at this trial. Objections flying out with no apparent basis and being granted anyway. Judge Quarles must have hated Gutierrez, because he was shockingly unprofessional in every interaction with her. Even when he overruled the baseless objections, he did so with unnecessarily snarky comments (“If she wants to waste her hour with this, let her”). I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of raw animosity from a judge towards counsel roll off the transcript like that — usually when they’re being disdainful, they at least do it in ways that don’t show up in the record.

      He even cut Gutierrez’s cross-examination off mid-question. Because he decided she only needed an hour to cross Jay.

    • That caught my eye, too (I’m a paralegal). Read any bench rules and you will find an admonishment to always state the basis for objections. Stellar work here. Now onto the Urick interview (slow litigation day here.

    • I think all of us agree it’s a real possibility that Adnan is guilty.

      I think what you’re picking up on his how skeptical people don’t trust Jay’s story. In fact he lies so much many us believe it has to be for a reason. That is what we are trying to discuss.

      Also the only real evidence against Adnan is Jay’s testimony. Without that there is no basis to convict or to even believe Adnan did it. This leads people to be highly skeptical of his guilt.

      None of this implies that we are searching for reasons to try to make Adnan innocent, but rather we are being skeptical and trying to make sense of this disaster mess of a case.

      • Jay is an awful liar. Remember his coworker didn’t even bat an eye when Jay confessed to helping with a murder. His coworker never pegged him as a “doer” of anything. No one believed his regular stories on a day to day basis, let alone him attempting to piece the information the police were feeding him to convict a killer. Also remember how Don commented on how the prosecutors were pushing him to vilify Adnan? The simplest rationale for the stories is that he’s trying to please the prosecution and the police so they can get a conviction. And because Jay is a terrible liar, everyone sees through it.

        Jay is no mastermind, and his latest interviews which clearly shows he didn’t listen to the podcast and research any of the established timelines, is further proof.

        You would think someone who is framing someone would do a better job no?

        • Did you read this post? Jay did a *horrible* job of trying to frame Adnan – until the fourth or fifth try, after fishing to see what evidence was out there.

          • Yes, and my question to you all is given how easily Jay is read as being shifty and not credible.. not just about his versions of that day but of anything, do you really think he is manipulative enough to carry out the setting up of an innocent person? Why would the police cooperate with someone they think was involved with the murder? I’m sure the police have a lot more experience than you or I in questioning criminals.

        • The argument that someone has to be competent at framing to be successful at it is belied by countless other cases. Watch “The Thin Blue Line” if you haven’t. There are no criminal masterminds there, only an unplanned murder, a paper thin story, and a police force who willingly overlooked problems with the case because they got the result they wanted.

          • So then why wouldn’t the police simply pin the murder on Jay? No need to help Jay massage his story. They got him to tell them where the body was. Case closed.

          • @parkj: Jay did not lead them to the body. He apparently led them to the car, though there is a distinct lack of clarity about that.

            As for why the prosecution would work with someone who might be guilty, read Urick’s Intercept interview. He says it plainly — you take your witnesses as you find them, and much of the time your witnesses are involved in the crime. He didn’t consider that unusual. His pat conclusion was that his was a typical domestic violence case. No need to consider anything else.

            He says: “We did not spend any real time trying to verify any of the statements Jay made about where he was during the day with the cell phone records because we never considered that time period relevant.” So he admits they didn’t even attempt to investigate what Jay was doing that day, or what his interactions were outside of what he claimed about Adnan (or, they did investigate that, and he doesn’t want to admit it because of what it shows).

            And Urick says: “Remember, there were numerous calls made over the course of that day. We had to be selective about which ones we presented to the jury or the case would have gone on forever.” The goal was conviction. To convict, they needed a witness. Urick admits there was no evidence by itself to get a conviction. Jay was that witness, and they worked with him until his story roughly matched some part of the cell phone evidence.

          • “So then why wouldn’t the police simply pin the murder on Jay?”

            Because they thought Adnan killed Hae, and helping Jay with his testimony was the only way they had to “prove” it.

          • @parkj238 (I can’t seem to respond directly to any of your posts…not sure why) Unfortunately, once the police have a suspect in mind they sometimes single-mindedly pursue that theory vs. trying to find alternate ones. Look at the case of Justin Wolfe, which was mentioned in episode 7, I think? He was sentenced to death in VA based on false testimony from the guy who the police knew actually pulled the trigger. The police said “we know you pulled the trigger but we think Justin paid you to do it – rat him out and you don’t get the death penalty”. The only proof they had of this was that this guy who testified he was paid to kill somebody said so. Justin’s conviction has since been vacated with the Federal judge finding “these actions not only unconstitutional in regards to due process, but abhorrent to the judicial process.” but Wolfe is still in jail because Virginia wants to try him again using the same testimony which the actual murderer has since recanted. (Story on Slate here:
            It’s really sad that things like this actually happen but they do.

      • It’s looking more and more likely that it’s not (likely Adnan is guilty). ….from what I have seen (re: whitenoise and animalrage) there is more to this story than Susan Simpson is able to post right now

        • “So then why wouldn’t the police simply pin the murder on Jay? No need to help Jay massage his story.”

          They didn’t have any witnesses pointing to Jay so it would have been harder to convict Jay. With Adnan, they had Jay pointing the finger at him (truthfully or not) which made for a stronger case.

          • That makes ZERO sense. On one hand they have someone who they know was actually involved, yet they would count on using this person to make a case for someone who they had no evidence on. Yeah thats what professionals do.

          • And here we come to another point I’m sure has been made elsewhere (apologies if I can’t remember where I read this): if Adnan were both unscrupulous AND if he had any idea at all who killed Hae, it would have been so much easier for him to claim he knew where his cell phone was and pin this on Jay, and it would have been much easier for police and prosecution to “enhance” Adnan’s timeline to convict Jay.

            Regardless of whether one thinks Adnan did it, at least Adnan didn’t and doesn’t claim to know who else could have killed Hae. He has not changed his story to cast suspicion on anyone else, let alone Jay.

          • “That makes ZERO sense…..”

            Again, for whatever reason the police thought Adnan did it. They were probably wrong, but they weren’t just trying to tick a box off their to-do list: they were trying to catch the guy they actually thought did it, even if it meant relying on someone they didn’t really believe.

            And I don’t think there’s a great deal of evidence that they were professional about this at all.

            AGAIN: watch “The Thin Blue Line” and get back to us.

  10. I don’t know if you have answered this question at some point and I missed it, but do you know what reason the police would have not to test the physical evidence (Hae’s fingernails, etc.)? If Adnan was the killer and the only person who touched her body, anything they found could only help their case. I really don’t understand this.

    • Jim Trainum referred to ‘bad’ evidence as any type of evidence that the prosecution would be unlikely to pursue b/c it would undermine the theory of the case. I believe that Hae’s fingernails fall into this category.

      • Adnan is adamant about his innocence. If so I’m guessing he would have wanted the evidence tested, unless CG advised against it (concerned about her client’s potential guilt). I think I’ve read that Adnan was never aware there was physical evidence that could be tested (which is why the IP is now attempting to test it), so was he not aware because CG didn’t tell him, or because she was not aware herself?

        • Adnan didn’t know about this evidence. CG apparently was pretty confident that she could tear Jay’s testimony apart, and may have considered the DNA evidence irrelevant. I’ve heard it said that lawyers are taught, “Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.” Doesn’t mean she thought him guilty, just that she couldn’t be 100% sure that it would cut against Adnan in some way.

          AFAIK, there may not be DNA under the nails they clipped. We won’t know until the tests are run. I suspect that whoever did this may well have worn gloves, and the weather would be jacket weather, so Hae could have clawed at the person strangling her, and not scratched his skin. In other words, I’m not holding my breath that this thread will reveal anything.

          • I agree. I really doubt the nail clippings will show anything, but the stain might. Also, it’s really unclear if there was any kind of sexual assault. The swabs might show something, but I fear this is a longshot, also.

            Ultimately, I wish I could hold out more hope for a hail mary save from DNA evidence. I think the things Susan has pointed out are convincing, but I’m not confident we’ll get the iron clad evidence many people would need to be convinced.

        • Gutierrez’s reaction to the cell phone records was, and I quote, “I did not care.”

          So at this point I am happy to be done with caring what Gutierrez did and did not find important in the evidence. She should have known about the DNA, and maybe she did, but she didn’t care enough to check into it.

  11. Thanks so very much for these.

    Something I’ve noticed that strikes me as odd is the sheer lack of resources the BPD put into this case. In looking over the case description, I saw that there were a total of six officers noted in Adnan’s case (three techs, three detectives). One detective (Hastings) hasn’t been mentioned at all in the transcripts or podcast, so I searched to see what other cases he had been on. And noted something very, very strange. A case that opened in February 99 and resulted in second degree murder convictions used eleven officers and two tech officers. Second case in 2/99 resulted in manslaughter and handgun charges. It used nineteen officers, only one identifed as a tech. A third February 99 case that pled out to an incredibly lightly punished first degree murder (3.75 years of a five year prison sentence suspended; five years probation) used fourteen officers. One March case used 12 officers. A second used 21 for another plea deal. A July 99 case with a similar structure (one partner flipped on other and pled out) used 26 officers, including our own Ritz and McG. (Hastings seems to have been distracted in this time frame, since he vanishes from the record for the latter half of 1999 and all of 2000.)

    I was mostly curious to understand average resource allocation for a murder case, and what I’m seeing is an extraordinarily under-resourced investigation at this point. On average, a Baltimore homicide case has eight to twelve officers assigned, plus one to four technical officers. I see two reasons for under-resourcing this case — one, they didn’t really care. The kids involved were all County kids, so no aldermen or community activists were going to champion any of them; it had neither political nor criminal juice. Closing it quickly and with little investment of resources boosted their stats without any real risk.

    The other is more nefarious. R & McG knew they had a crappy case from the beginning. In the clips of the recordings of them, they can barely contain their “SRSLY?” eye rolling and irritation with Jay and Jen and it comes through the transcripts 5×5. They also have much bigger cases on their plates (such as some of the ones I mentioned above). But they also know if they bring in more eyes on this weak case, it’ll fall apart on them. And yeah, it’s likely they knew of Jay’s paternal family — at least one of them comes up under the same name as Jay. Even if it is a crappy case, it doesn’t appear that this kid from a mid-level involvement family knows that it’s a crappy case. If they get the kid to play along to close the case, they have taken down two birds with one stone — one stats booster case for little work, and a source to be cultivated for future use. (Which they probably took advantage of, since things that should have violated probation or revived the suspended sentence were never addressed again.) I’m not necessarily saying they intentionally conspired for a frame-up. I really do think it was more a case of putting in minimum effort and resources because it doesn’t look like a useful case. You get someone like Itchy Man, that’s keys into his network. But a couple of suburban honor students in the oldest story there is? Barely good enough is fine.

    Other thoughts: I don’t think either judge helped at all. I think CG had made enemies over the years. I truly think she should have recused herself after the mistrial as a strategic move, just so that Ulrick wouldn’t know what was coming.

    • It had never occurred to me that the cops were cultivating Jay as a potential future source. Add his testimony in this case (under all the confounding circumstances we already know about) to his continued involvement in at least minor crime (but without the commensurate consequences when caught) to his current relocation and clearly stated fear of getting on the wrong side of people “back home.” And suddenly Jay being a source makes a ton of sense. Huh.

      • Jay himself pinged that line of thinking for me. The No Snitch campaign was several years after this, and snitching on someone with no ties into the gang/drug world isn’t the same as snitching on someone with close connections.

        • And Urick primarily did Narcotics prosecution. I know that state’s attorneys get assigned on a who is free basis, but the Narcotics focused prosecutor in Baltimore in 99 wasn’t really likely to be the one with the emptiest Filofax.

    • Detective Hastings is mentioned by Sergeant Kevin Forrester (supervisor of Ritz and McG) on day two of trial two, in testimony beginning on page 199. Hastings appeared in the video of the broken turn signal lever in Hae Min Lee’s car (p, 205). Forrester also mentions a Detective Serio that goes with Forrester and McG when they had Jay show them the location of the car.

      • I admit I haven’t gotten a chance to read trial transcript 2 yet. (My granny is spending her leisure hours trying to break a hip. Such fun.) I have read transcript 1, though. That name never came up.

        I did the same with R&McG’s prior/subsequent cases. Those had much higher officer involvement, too. That just seems… Strange.

  12. Are you confident that Jay was telling “Adnan killed Hae” stories prior to Adnan’s arrest? Or was he just telling “exciting murder dead body midnight burial blue lips” stories in general, and people plugged in Adnan later, when he was arrested? Josh didn’t have a name. That he could recall. Just “people were after him.”

    I think if Jay had given a name before Adnan was arrested, that would have sounded less like typical BS artist’s BS. Was Jay known for telling lies about people or just big tales?

    Excellent post. Just wondering if you truly thought Jay named Adnan before the arrest.

  13. Susan – great work, here. You said: I have no idea what was going on at trial, because, somehow, Gutierrez did not follow up in questioning Jay about why his April 13th story is the Most Truest story of them all. Did the prosecution fail to disclose the contents of this unrecorded interview to the defense, and Gutierrez had no idea what Jay was saying? Or was Gutierrez so incompetent she knew about it, and did not think to question Jay about it?

    It looks to me like Gutierrez didn’t receive the Jay’s prior statements and the tapes of his interviews with the police until the morning or at noon the day Jay testified on direct at the first trial. She says she listened to portions of one tape during lunch – this would have been just before he took the stand. (See below.)

    Transcript from first trial, Dec. 14, Page 219:
    CG: Judge, we would ask for an overnight recess. Notwithstanding our request for the last five months, we only received 120 pages of the prior statement and the tapes.
    During lunch I was able to listen to portions of one of the tapes. I have not reviewed fully either of the statements. I can certainly start, but I would ask for a recess overnight to fully prepare.

    Transcript from first trial, Dec. 14, Page: 221

    Judge: Now, in the future, you will have the entire day planned. If you knew, because you dumped the discovery on her late today, she was going to ask, reasonable anticipated ask for a recess, which is appropriately, you should have had another witness.

    Transcript from first trial, Dec. 15, page 251
    CG: Judge, I don’t plan crosses by times. I plan crosses by what it is I need to cover with the witness. There are 126 typed pages of what appears to be a transcript of two separate interviews.

    • How is that not a Brady violation? As a technicality, receiving such large quantities of potentially exculpatory material less than 18 hours before cross is due to start is hardly better than not getting it at all.

      • Not a Brady violation, because Brady only happens when you don’t disclose at all. But in the words of Sarah Koenig, it is definitely a dick move.

        And ought to be a Brady violation, because there sure as hell is no way for defense counsel to synthesize and understand the extent of Jay’s impending perjury overnight, in the middle of trial. But MD disagrees on that point.

  14. Hi there – Short-time Serial fanatic, sort-time lurker on your addictive blog. There’s something that’s been bugging me, and I apologize if this has been addressed before but perhaps someone here can shed light on this. So the call that Nisha remembers involving Jay and Adnan could not have occurred the night of the murder because Jay’s job at the video store began three weeks later. Okay. But wait – so then Jay and Adnan were still hanging out at least three weeks after the murder?? I don’t know, man – I would *not* still be hanging out with someone after he had forced me to help dispose of his dead ex, whom he had just strangled with his bare hands.

    I take your point about how it’s generally not productive to speculate about “how *I* would have reacted” or “how it’s *normal* to react” to something like this, but… the fact that they were seemingly casually hanging out weeks later does seem to undercut Jay’s statement that he was scared of Adnan. Also, if I were in this situation (I know, I know…), I’d be damn sure to tell our mutual friends, “Look, stay away from that guy – he’s bad news.” Especially my girlfriend, if she were a close friend of the dude, and the dude was threatening to harm *her*. (Wasn’t Jay particularly protective of Stephanie?) Is there any evidence Jay did that? Warned them in some way? Because it seems as though Stephanie, Aisha, et al. were still socializing with Adnan (snowball fight, together when they found out about Hae’s death, etc.) even after all of this went down.

    • Jay initially says he and Adnan hung out dozen of times after the murder. By trial, he says they only hung out “twice,” except he describes at least three separate encounters they had, and one was entirely made up.

      Jay did not warn Stephanie about Adnan, because he said he had no way of doing so without explaining why she needed to be careful around him. And apparently Jay did not want to do that.

      • Thanks for your speedy reply! I can actually see Jay’s point in the second respect, although I do think there would be ways to try to shield someone from hanging out with a murderer without coming out and saying “He’s a murderer!” Weird that Jay would still be hanging out with Adnan himself, though. Was he ever asked about his motivation for this specifically by the detectives or Adnan’s attorney? Also, then by the time of the first (?) interview, Jay is referring to Adnan as “an ex friend of mine”? But they’re still hanging out? Seems inconsistent (I know, I know, unlike everything else Jay has said…). Again, love your blog!

        • I think Jay’s first story on this — they hung out dozens of times — is probably accurate. At the very least they probably hung out as they normally would have, however much that was given their interconnections with Stephanie.

          But think of what the options are here — all of them exclude Adnan having been the one to strangle Hae with his bare hands, I think. First, Jay did it, and Adnan has no idea, therefore its a secret neither Adnan or Stephanie know. Second, a third party did it, and only Jay knows who, therefore Adnan is not a threat because he’s not a murderer. Third, a third party did it, and both Adnan and Jay know, and both can continue to hang out together and with Stephanie because neither are a threat.

          I just refuse to believe that Jay (and Jenn, and perhaps several more in the days after Hae’s disappearance) knew that Adnan killed Hae in the sickest, most cold-blooded way possible, and let him continue to associate with Stephanie. No way. Had this been the word on the street no one would have gone near Adnan.

        • I mean, I think the second he started telling the cops Adnan was a murderer, he could safely classify himself as an “ex-friend”…

          But no, the cops never question Jay about why he hung out with Adnan a dozen times after Hae’s death. But they must have thought it was weird, because the number of times Jay and Adnan hang out after the murder steadily decreases from the first statement through the last.

    • I agree, literally makes no sense! It’s not like he only saw him in large social settings and was cordial, Adnon went to his porn video store job and hung out just the 2 of them. And things seemed to be normal and playful bc Jay asked to speak to Nisha on the phone.

      Also, it literally makes no sense that you can tell the entire world that Adnon killed Hae, but you can’t warn your girlfriend who “Adnan threatened to harm”, about the situation? Maybe it’s because as Adnon’s best female friend, she would have known Jay’s story was full of S* H* I* T* … I mean Jay did state in the Intercept interview that Stephanie didn’t believe Adnon did it. Interesting she wouldn’t believe that her own boyfriend was telling the truth.

  15. Susan you are a treasure. As a new criminal defense attorney – your analysis is really informative to see. I’m sure you are an incredible lawyer.

  16. regarding Urick giving an interview to Intercept (same site as jay). reporter comes off as very anti-SK. and Urick sounds like a defensive simpleton. that said, from Urick’s version it seems all Adnan had to do was say that he may have lent Jay his phone while at the mosque. that’s it. no case since according to Urick it all hinged on Adnan’s cellphone being in Leakin park at 7pm according to cell tower pings (although tower pings don’t line up with any stories for most of the day). If I were Adnan, I would be pissed (whether I did it or not) that this ass was able to convict me on such cherry-picked evidence.

    • This sums up pretty much everything about Urick:

      Intercept: “[Jay] said the time of the burial [in Leakin Park] took place several hours after the time he gave under oath. Again, do these inconsistencies alarm you?”

      Urick: “Like I said, people who are engaged in criminal activity, it’s like peeling an onion. . . . There were a lot of inconsistencies throughout Jay’s prior statements. Almost all of them involve what we would call collateral facts.”


      Urick: “So, many of the material facts were corroborated through the cell phone records including being in Leakin Park.”

      Basically, “facts matter when I say they do, and don’t matter when they are inconvenient for me.” Because it’s the same damn fact he’s talking about.

      If this is the definition of “collateral” and “material” that Urick is using for Brady purposes, dear god, that man needs to be disbarred.

      • Disbarment is an unreasonable remedy for incompetence, Susan.

        Why not let him represent pets, like Ms. Benaroya does?

      • It was so frustrating to read that interview, wanting at least some of Urick’s statements to be adequately challenged, e.g. when he says they knew where Adnan was because of the cell phone evidence. My response would be….OK, you could say with reasonable certainty where Adnan’s PHONE was but is that in any way considered proof of where Adnan was? Except for the call from Adcock, (and I may be missing some calls, I know there are times that Adnan doesn’t dispute being with his phone and Jay) which calls could be tied directly to Adnan, beyond a reasonable doubt?

        Also, a nitpicky detail that struck me on my third listen-through of the podcast. December 23 was when Adnan met Don, according to Hae’s diary, when she had a fender-bender. Don describes it as “old boyfriend sizing up the new boyfriend kind of thing.but they weren’t even dating yet, right?
        I know SK said the meeting was timestamped at the trial as happening in January, but the diary entry seems to me to be the most reliable evidence available. Also it was apparently a snowy day. Now, again, nitpicking maybe, but Jan 8 we’ve learned was the first snow of the year. Maybe they meant of 2014, but generally when I think of the “first snow of the year” I think of the first snow of that fall/winter season.

      • Honest inside-legal question here: is it good for a prosecutor’s reputation to win convictions on the thinnest possible evidence, the same way a criminal defense attorney wins acclaim for securing acquittals in the face of damning evidence? I wonder if that’s why Urick is giving the interview, as free advertising: “If I could use my ingenious legal skulduggery to convince a judge to put away Adnan for life, in spite of the world’s worst witness and 0 physical evidence, just imagine what I could do for you!”

  17. And I apologize for posting items that are a bit random, but I’m reading the Appellant Brief from Adnan’s 2002 Appeal and there are several bits of information that seem very significant that I hadn’t read or heard yet.
    1) Jay initially told police he saw Hae’s body in the back of a truck?
    2) One of their friends testified that Stephanie was “interested” in Adnan?
    3) Hae’s bank statement showed a purchase at a gas station at Northern Parkway and Harford Rd in Baltimore, on Jan 13, 99. You can map it, it’s on the other side of Baltimore (possibly on the way to Hunt Valley?)
    4) A friend said she said she was meeting Don at the mall that day?
    Link to brief

    • Wow that’s really interesting Shari, I didn’t know any of that! There should have definitely been some follow up by the police on all of that because I agree with you, it all seems pretty significant.

      • Also, the brief says that in the first statement Jay gave to police, besides saying her body was in a truck, he said that on Jan 13 his first contact from Adnan was at 2pm when Adnan called to ask directions to a shop in East Baltimore.
        Oh, and one more “interesting” fact; Inez Hendricks, the teacher/athletic trainer who saw Hae after school and told her not to be late for the wrestling bus, said SHE took over Hae’s duties as scorer at that meet.

    • 1) I think the ‘truck’ word is generally assumed to be a typo (instead of ‘trunk’).

      3) Regarding the gas station purchase, this has been discussed a lot on Reddit. It appears the police did not investigate it. Several people have stated that some businesses post the charges to the bank after the charges, and this charge could have actually been made even the night before. Also, some small businesses with multiple outlets are apparently known to send all those charges as coming from a main location. So without the police checking on this, it appears possible that both the time and location of this charge are inaccurate. At the very least it speaks to the inadequacy of the police investigation. Not sure we can say more than that.

      4) An undelivered note to Don that was apparently written that afternoon (it references her being filmed by the local news that morning) was in her car. There is speculation she was planning on dropping it off, either before or after she picked up her cousin.

      • The gas station thing makes sense. I haven’t really followed Reddit closely so I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. The part about the truck…is the theory then that the appeals lawyers intentionally used a known typo in their appeal, hoping the appeals judge wouldn’t know? In other words, it was part of the appeals brief, used to show that Jay had lied (a lot) from the beginning. So, they would have had to read it in the transcripts or other trial material, in context presumably, and either write an intentionally misleading brief or really not know it was a typo?

  18. The police knew Jay was inconsistent in all of his testimonies, ergo he was lying, the defence proved in court Jay was lying, and he agreed in court with the defence, but yet it took just over an hour for the jury to convict Adnan on this?

    Excellent analysis as per usual Susan. Thank you for the time and effort.

  19. Will someone tell me the first time Adnan’s name comes up in connection to the murder? Was it the phone call? Or was it Jay telling friends? Thanks. I’m old and can’t remember.

    My question hinges on the report the police had on Muslim men and their treatment of women. Was that early on in the investigation? Did the police supply Adnan’s name to Jay from the beginning?

  20. Pingback: Serial: How Prosecutor Kevin Urick Failed to Understand the Cellphone Records He Used to Convict Adnan Syed of Murder | The View From LL2

  21. Since the case started out as a missing persons case I am shocked that the gas station receipt was not thoroughly investigated. Is there any way to see the information the police gathered when they were looking for Hae? (when case was missing persons versus homicide). Such as phone records, pager records?

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