Serial: The Failure of the Prosecution’s Cellphone Theory, In One Simple Chart

The prosecution’s case against Adnan can be summed up in three words: Leakin Park Pings. Again and again, the prosecution argued (and is still arguing) that Adnan’s guilt can be shown simply from the fact that his cellphone pinged a cell tower in Leakin Park at the same time that Jay, eventually, told police that Hae had been buried. Based on this claim, the prosecution invited the jury to stack speculative inference upon speculative inference: that the phone pinging L689B meant the phone is in L689B, that the phone being in L689B meant that the phone was at Hae’s burial site, that the phone being at Hae’s burial site meant Adnan has the phone. Because, the prosecution asks, what are the odds that the cellphone would ping the Leakin Park tower at the same time that its witness would say that the phone had been in Leakin Park, with someone who was burying Hae’s body?

Well, I have no idea what the odds of that are, and neither did the jury. Because the prosecution never presented any evidence whatsoever concerning the possible locations from which a phone call could ping the Leakin Park tower. The jury was only informed that the burial site was a location from which the cellphone might ping that tower — but there was no mention made whatsoever to the thousands of other locations from which a call could ping that tower, too.

But the tenuousness of the prosecution’s argument is not due merely to its claim about the precise location of the phone within L689B. It is also due to its claim that the cellphone was even in L689B’s territory at all. Because if the tower pings were capable of demonstrating the tower range in which the cellphone was located at the time of a call, as the prosecution claimed, how come the tower pings gave the wrong location for 16 of the 22 calls for which the prosecution’s evidence showed the location of the phone at the time of the call? And if the tower pings are only accurate 27% of the time, according to the prosecution’s own theory of the case, then how can we possibly assume that the tower pings just happened to be accurate for the Leakin Park tower pings, even when they are inaccurate in the overwhelming majority of all other calls?

Below is a table showing the tower pings for each call in comparison to the prosecution’s claims about the location of the phone at the time of each call. As you go through the table below, it may help to refer to this rough map of tower ranges:

Edit Map 2-page1

Tower ranges show the territories for which the labeled tower is the closest tower/antenna. Note: This map does NOT correspond with the territory that a given cell tower’s signal may cover. It shows only the geographically closest tower for a given location.

Call

Tower

Alleged Location of Cellphone

Distance from Pinged Tower

10:45

(Jay)

L651A

Woodlawn High School (L651A)

Jay claims cellphone is in range of pinged tower.

12:07

(Jenn)

L688A

Jenn’s House (L654A)

Jay claims cellphone is five ranges east of pinged tower.

12:41

(Jenn)

L652A

Jenn’s House (L654A)

Jay claims cellphone is four ranges west of pinged tower.

12:43

(Incoming)

L652A

Jenn’s House (L654A)

Cellphone is four ranges west of pinged tower.

2:36

(Incoming)

L651B

Jenn’s House (L654A)

Jay claims cellphone is one range south of pinged tower.

3:15

(Incoming)

L651C

Jenn’s house (L654A), according to Jay’s testimony. Prosecution does not address this call in its statements.

Jay claims cellphone is two ranges south of pinged tower.

3:21

(Jenn Home)

L651C

I-70 Park’n’Ride (L689C/L689B)

Jay claims cellphone is two to three ranges east of pinged tower

3:32

(Nisha)

L651C

Forrest Park (L689A), according to Jay’s police statements. The prosecution avoids introducing testimony about location of Nisha Call at trial.

Jay claims cellphone is three ranges east of pinged tower.

3:48

(Phil)

L651A

Jay has no statements concerning the location of this call. However, under the prosecution’s timeline, the phone
is necessarily (at least) three ranges east of the pinged tower at time of call.

Jay claims cellphone is three ranges east of pinged tower.

3:59

(Patrick)

L651A

Jay’s police statements place phone at I-70 Park’n’Ride (L689C/L689B) or Forrest Park (L689A)

Jay claims cellphone  is two to three ranges east of pinged tower.

4:12

(Jenn)

L689A

Jay testifies that he does not
remember this phone call.

 

N/A

4:27

(Incoming)

L654C

Cathy’s house (L655A), where Jay goes to after dropping Adnan at track

Jay claims cellphone is two ranges east of pinged tower.

4:58

(Incoming)

L654C

Cathy’s house (L655A), where Jay goes to after dropping Adnan at track

Jay claims cellphone  is two ranges east of pinged tower.

5:14

(Incoming Call to Voicemail)

Incoming calls to voicemail do not
provide location data

N/A

5:38

(Krista)

L653C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call

N/A

6:07

(Incoming)

L655A

Cathy’s house (L655A)

Jay claims cellphone is in range of pinged tower.

6:09

(Incoming)

L608C

Cathy’s house (L655A)

Jay claims cellphone is one range east of pinged tower.

6:24

(Incoming)

L608C

Cathy’s house (L655A)

Jay claims cellphone is one range east of pinged tower.

6:59

(Yaser)

L651A

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call, but based on 7:00 pm call, phone must necessarily be in Leakin Park (L689B)

Jay claims cellphone is two ranges east of pinged tower.

7:00

(Jenn Pager)

L651A

Leakin Park (L689B)

Jay claims cellphone is two ranges east of pinged tower.

7:09

(Incoming)

L689B

Leakin Park (L689B)

Jay claims cellphone is in range of pinged tower.

7:16

(Incoming)

L689B

Leakin Park (L689B)

Jay claims cellphone is in range of pinged tower.

8:04

(Jenn Pager)

L653A

Edmondson Avenue (L653A, L653C, L654A)

Jay claims cellphone is in possible range of pinged tower.

8:05

(Jenn Pager)

L653C

Edmondson Avenue (L653A, L653C, L654A)

Jay claims cellphone is in possible range of pinged tower.

9:01

(Nisha)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

9:03

(Krista)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

9:10

(Krista)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

9:57

(Nisha)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

10:02

(Yaser)

L698B

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

10:29

(Saad)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

10:30

(Ann)

L651C

No testimony as to location of phone at time of call.

N/A

The result? Out of the 30 calls that were made or received on the day of Hae’s murder, there were 22 calls for which the prosecution’s evidence identified the location of the cellphone at the time of the call. Of those 22 calls, only six pinged the tower that covers the range where, according to the prosecution, the cellphone was located. Of those six calls, one occurred while the cellphone was indisputably, according to the testimony of several witnesses, at Woodlawn High School (10:45 am), one occurred while the cellphone was indisputably, according to the testimony of several witnesses, at Cathy’s apartment (6:07 pm), and four occurred while the phone was allegedly in Leakin Park and when Hae’s car was being ditched (7:09, 7:16, 8:04, 8:05).

But isn’t that rather odd? Why is it that the location data for the cellphone is only accurate when we either have multiple non-Jay eyewitnesses who could testify as to the phone’s location at the time of the call, or when the phone was at a location where it absolutely must have been in order for the prosecution’s case against Adnan to hold up?

Could it possibly be that, for the 7:09, 7:16, 8:04, and 8:05 calls, the investigators refused to accept Jay’s story until he gave them an answer that fit their theory of the case? And that for every other call that was not directly incriminating, the investigation did not bother with making sure that Jay’s story actually fit the narrative they were pushing? Because based on the prosecution’s theory of the case, the only apparent explanation for the cellphone records is that the towers pings magically became more accurate from 7:09 to 8:05 p.m., even though they were overwhelmingly unreliable for the rest of that day. Well, either that, or else the prosecution selected a narrative that happened to fit the cellphone records in a way that made Adnan look guilty.

The prosecution’s entire case has gone into a fatal loop. Why are the cellphone records accurate? Because Jay says so. Why is Jay’s testimony accurate? Because the cellphone records say so. Why are the cellphone records accurate? Because… and so on, and so on. Except for one teeny little flaw in that premise: the cellphone records do not actually match Jay’s testimony, and Jay’s testimony does not actually match the cellphone records. So how can two things that do not match one another verify the accuracy of each other?

In other words: instead of asking, “What are the odds that the cellphone would ping Leakin Park if the phone was not there?”, the question we should really be asking is, “What are the odds that the incriminating portions of the prosecution’s theory of the case conveniently match the cellphone records, when everything else does not?”

-Susan

Edit: I should note that the maps I am using present the prosecution’s case in the strongest light possible — I am giving them every possible benefit of the doubt with the idealized territory of L689B.

But that is not how real life works. I am no graphic designer, so you’ll have to forgive the MS Paint rendition, but below is a representation of the signal range for L689 (in red), based on a signal range of two miles. Also included is a representation of the signal range for L653 (in blue). There was no evidence presented at Adnan’s trial concerning the possible range of any of the towers, so I adopted the two-mile figure based on the conservative estimate often used by law enforcement. The radial lines in the southern half of L689 show the direction of the B antenna (“L689B”). Note that the majority of L689B’s signal range, based on the two-mile assumption (which would appear to be consistent with the closest-territory range of L689A and L689C), is not in Leakin Park at all, but in the neighboring territory.

L653 and L689 ranges - 2 mile radiusAnd here is a map showing an actual coverage map (h/t /u/gentrfam). Note that this map does not even show the extent of the overlap of these ranges, although it is a good illustration of the random nature (and noncontiguous blobs of coverage) that real life cell towers provide:

133 thoughts on “Serial: The Failure of the Prosecution’s Cellphone Theory, In One Simple Chart

  1. Susan, the problem remains– before Jay was ever interviewed, before police ever knew he was associated with this case, it was JENN who set the burial time. It was JENN who set the burial before 8:00PM.

    Hae was buried in Leakin Park.

    Adnan’s phone could have been in Leakin Park between 7-8:00. No matter what Jenn placed Adnan and Jay TOGETHER until 8:00.

    That’s how they won. CG did not give them another scenario. I think she did a horrible job and I hope Adnan can get a new trial.

    • Jenn’s statement: I got a call from Jay sometime after 8pm to pick him up from Westview Mall, and I went there to pick him up. A little while later, Adnan pulled up and dropped Jay off. Adnan seemed completely normal. As we drive away from Westview Mall, Jay says that Adnan killed Hae, but he does not know anything about what happened after that. He tells Jenn to turn around, and (now that Adnan is no longer in the parking lot, for some weird reason) he wants to check out something in a dumpster. Jay tells her he is wiping down “shovels or shovel,” but Jenn never sees anything. This account of events is wholly contradicted by Jay, who claims that he went immediately to his house after the burial, and Jenn then picked him up from his house, not Westview Mall.

      Jenn’s statement about what she did for the next three hours is contradicted by other witnesses, who say Jenn and Jay were not seen again until around 11pm, That is, the next three hours of events are completely unaccounted for.

      Additionally: (1) the cops had the cellphone records before Jenn’s interview, and had already developed their theory that Hae was buried around 7:09-7:16 pm; (2) Jenn made two statements, one in which she knew nothing and the cops threatened her with that they did know, and one in which she comes in and tells them the story she gave; (3) and she had Jay spoke before each of the two interviews.

      • Oh I know, I’ve read her statement numerous times. I think she lied, but her testimony put the burial before Adnan dropped off Jay. Shovels were already used. That is what the jury heard. Combine that with possible pings from Leakin Park, and no other alternative from CG…. and it looks bad for Adnan.

        I’d really like to read her testimony, and cross.

        Like I said, I really hope Adnan gets a new trial. I just think all this focus on Jay causes us to overlook Jenn. SHE is the one who set the stage.

        • you’re obviously not following the logic Susan is laying out. Jenn’s testimony is hearsay as to when Hae was buried. That information only comes to her from Jay. Burial time can’t be substantiated on her testimony alone. For tower pings, see ATT reliability disclaimer for incoming calls.

          • Don’t have an opinion on this detail yet but the point is that she mentioned shovels at the 8:30 pickup before Jay was ever interviewed and had a chance to fit his story to the prosecution’s theory.

        • My understanding of the argument is that the police had their theory before Jen came. She denied knowing anything and the prosecution confronted her with the information they had and may have given away their theory. She also went home and spoke to Jay and came back for the second interview (quoted above) with a story consistent with the one Jay would tell.

          I suppose that we need to find out what the police said to her at stage 1 to corroborate that argument. Is there a transcript of the first interview?

          • i meant police,.not prosecution. Also, Jen said that she thought that she would be charged with the killing. Is it possible that they asked her where she was at 7pm?

          • I don’t know if we have a transcript of the original interview but note how Bill Ritz describes his “two-step” interview process in a decision from the MD court of appeals, Brian Christopher COOPER v. STATE of Maryland:
            http://caselaw.findlaw.com/md-court-of-special-appeals/1423587.html It’s possible that Jen and Jay were both subjected to these strategies. This isn’t relevant for Adnan’s appeal, but it provides some context.

        • Jenn also repeatedly provided an alibi for Jay for the time period of the murder (early afternoon till 3:30-3:45), and we know that alibi was false. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Jenn told the police things that she was directed to say by Jay.

          • right. Jen claimed that Jay told her to tell the epolice what she knew. Givn his repeated lies to save himself and others around him , I doubt that he would have had the integrity t
            o show that kind of honesty.

      • Yes, Jen is the fly in the ointment that prevents the police from having planted the whole thing with Jay. Jen clearly has the burial timeline set, and the cell phone pings are consistent with this theory.

        Adnan needs to not have his phone at this point, and I’m not sure this was evident to Adnan at this point.

        What could CG have done if Adnan told her the story that he probably had his phone the whole night at the mosque? Could she have gone back to him and told him his alibi is blown by the phone records, are you sure you had the phone?

      • You get *way* too caught up int he testimonial details. Instead of either over-relying on the testimony or completely throwing it out, you should try to suss out how reliable the testimony is and how does it square with when it was provided, how it could have been coached, how it compares with some likely scenarios, how it is corroborated or debunked with other evidence, etc.

        • “You get *way* too caught up int he testimonial details.” Seriously! Who cares about the pesky details…. Jay got the big part right – Adnan did it, everything else is just “collateral”.

      • Nope. He says “closer to midnight” and “several hours later [after 6pm]”. This does seem to suggest “later than 7:15pm” but not necessarily around midnight and certainly not after midnight.

        • What he actually says is that Adnan returned to Jay’s place “closer to midnight” without any tools or plan. Jay then goes inside, scrounges up some shovels, and they talk. Then they drive to the park. He remember this because it rains. Then they pick out a spot. Then they dig for about 40 minutes. Then they argue. Then they do a bunch of stuff, drive around, then Adnan goes off for about 45 minutes and when he comes back he says he’s buried her.

          Then they drive the two cars around for a bit, stash Hae’s car, then he goes back home. Has to be after 2 am now. No mention of Jenn. No mention of the shovels or clothes.

          • The whole driving Hae’s car around is very bizarre as well. If you knew that someone was missing, the police were looking for this person, the police were treating the missing person as a real dthreat, would you drive the person’s car around?

          • The thing about the rain has been bothering me. There was supposed to have been an ice storm that night, but not till later. Did it really rain?

          • An ice storm is rain, where it freezes on contact. I know, I went without power for a week during one in 1996. It’s beautiful, everything covered in ice, trees bent over, kind of makes you think of Narnia.

          • The driving around in Hae’s car is especially weird because the turn signal/headlight stalk was broken. The turn signals surely wouldn’t have worked, and it’s possible the headlights wouldn’t work, either, though it’s unclear if the crime lab checked the headlight functionality and documented that.

            Regarding the rain, the ice storm hit around 4:30 am. If you look at the weather records, though, on Jan. 13 there there was a ‘light rain’ with no measurable precipitation at 4:54pm and 5:54pm and possibly again at 8:54pm (it doesn’t say ‘light rain’ but the precipitation column reports “0.00” inches of rain, as it did at 4:54pm and 5:54pm).

            Is Jay’s mention of rain when he’s going to Leakin Park a case of him accidentally telling the truth. Was Jay driving Hae’s body to be buried during this light rain while Adnan was near his home and mosque with his phone, calling Krista? Who the hell knows.

            http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KBWI/1999/1/13/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

  2. Very useful chart and table.

    Out of interest I wonder how the phone log and pinging towers support adnan’s story as told by serial. In that sense the N/A may be of interest.

    What are your thoughts on that?

    I know adnan did not testify but using this to quash a conviction or argue there was reasonable doubt is one thing, support a claim of innocence is another. Just curious.

    Warm regards,

    d

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • I don’t want to hog the comment section here but Adnan’s attorney put Adnan’s father on the stand who testified Adnan was at the mosque from 7:30-10:30. That was almost like Adnan testifying by proxy. (in a way) Meanwhile CG had the phone records! She could SEE that Adnan was on his phone, NOT at the mosque.

      Could she have been much worse??

      • I think you misunderstand what it means to be ‘at the mosque’ during the evening on Ramadan. I don’t think it means sitting in a large group and praying. People go to the mosque to break the fast in a communal setting, and for Adnan to go out to his car, use his phone, then come back in would not be unusual. At least that’s how I think it works. Someone else should clarify, but it’s not he couldn’t be at the mosque, and making a few phone calls.

      • I think I read somewhere that it wasn’t one long service. It was segmented with breaks in between, meaning that he could run to his car and make calls periodically.

  3. Do you have source information for the Tower Map?

    To the extent that evidence regarding the location of tower maps was admitted at the second trial, where are the exhibits and why are you not citing it in your analysis of these records?

    Did you personally review all trial transcripts from the second trial?

  4. Very helpful. I am a visual thinker.

    I would also point out that the prosecution’s case all also rests on the idea that phone being somewhere meant that Adnan was in the same place, when everyone’s story is that for chunks of the day they were not in the same place.

    One of the biggest fails for both the prosecution and the defense was not subpoenaing everyone’s phone records. If they could have figured out who the incoming calls were from and then questioned those people about the nature of that conversation, it might have really brought new light to the case. Was this really Jenn calling and talking to a strange unidentified man? Was it someone who would could say they called and spoke to Jay and not Adnan? Were either Jay or Adnan calm and collected enough to literally put down a shovel and have a pleasant chat with a friend? It has never made sense to me as to how or why you stop in the middle of burying a body to talk to a friend. I think it far likelier that they were not burying the body at that time, or it was someone calling who was giving them advice or helping them out. Why else would you answer it? Wouldn’t you get the job over as quickly as possible and get the heck out of there?

    • “I would also point out that the prosecution’s case all also rests on the idea that phone being somewhere meant that Adnan was in the same place, when everyone’s story is that for chunks of the day they were not in the same place.”
      Totally agree with this! I was a Senior in HS at the same time and none of my friends had cell phones. When I did get one a couple of years later in college it wasn’t like today where you took your phone everywhere with you. They were bulky and not really pocket friendly – even if Adnan did do it and was in the park burying Hae’s body when they say he was, why would he have taken his phone with him???

      • ” it wasn’t like today where you took your phone everywhere with you. They were bulky and not really pocket friendly – even if Adnan did do it and was in the park burying Hae’s body when they say he was, why would he have taken his phone with him???” (–ANC)
        Good point! I used the same type of Nokia (probably even the same model) in 1999 at a job where I went out in the field often. I usually balanced the phone on a clipboard when I was stationary, or carry it in one hand while walking. You’d be butt dialing a bit if you put it in your pocket. Carrying Hae and the cell phone out to the burial place along with the shovel or shovels or garden tools (and the rope that was found presumably to tie her) would have been difficult, especially since Jay says he didn’t help carry Hae. Would have been easier to leave the phone in the car while all this was being done.

      • People have their cell phones with them and are checking them constantly “nowadays” because of texting. I don’t remember 1999 specifically, but according to a history of text messages, by 2000 the average number of text messages sent in the U.S. was about 35 per month per person, so about 1 per day. With few of Adnan’s friends having cell phones, and texting being nothing like what it is now, I don’t think we can assume that Adnan had his phone on his person everywhere he went. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn he left the phone in his car, home, or backpack on occasion. I would be surprised if he took it with him to bury a body.

    • I agree and am absolutely blown away by the absence of WHO all those calls were to and from. The people on the other hand could likely have provided a WEALTH of information.

  5. I spent some time this weekend creating a chart, which summarizes my understanding of the difference among the terms corroborative, material and relevant. Sadly I do not know how to add a chart to a comment. I keep thinking you may appreciate it if someone could use your observations to create “Truth Diagrams” similar to the ones used in logical proofs. I would be more than willing to create these diagrams for you as per your instructions and then send them to you for review and possible use. Your ability to manipulate and present information in writing, is exceptional. For people with a more right brain approach to problem solving, the graphic organizers I am offering to assist with may, help even more people share your impressive insight.

    • There was no evidence presented at trial that a call pinging L689B meant that the call was likely to have occurred when the phone was in Leakin Park. The state’s own proffer — in response to the judge considering whether to strike the cell evidence all together because it was “so tenuous [ ] that it might not even weigh anything at all” — was that the evidence was introduced merely to show “the possibility that it did.”

      The sole piece of evidence on this point was that a call that pinged L689B could have been made from the burial site. But if the vast majority of calls throughout the day occurred at a place two or more ranges away from the tower that was pinged, then the state has shown no reason to believe that the cellphone was even within the range of L689B at the time the 7:09 and 7:16 calls were made, let alone that the phone was in Leakin Park and not in all of the non-Leakin Park territory that the tower covers.

      Because if the fact that the phone pinged L688A is consistent with the phone being in L654A, and the fact the phone pinged L651A is consistent with phone being in L689A, then the fact the phone pinged L689B is consistent with the phone not being in Leakin Park.

      • That still doesn’t change the fact that the 7:06 and 7:14 calls almost certainly hit the phone near the burial site. The evidence presented was that an expert made a call from the burial site and it hit that tower. And those 2 calls were tagged as having been routed through that tower. How can you say there “was no evidence”? That’s just stupid.

        • The expert’s testimony merely establishes that those calls COULD have been made from the burial site. It doesn’t establish that they WERE made from there.

        • No your logic is off.
          That a call from the burial site pings the Leaking park tower is not logically the same as saying that a leaking park tower ping is from the burial site.
          The experts testimony say that his test doesn’t debunk Jays testimony in this case. But not debunking is not the same as verifying that it is true.

        • Please show some manners and do some reading. In reality, it was the judge who declared that the ATT evidence did not prove that the call came from the burial site. And the prosecution did not dispute that point. In that case, logically before one could consider the ATT evidence, one would need other proof that Jay is not lying. The argument that KU makes is as follow. If A and B then C. A therefore C. Where A equals Jays testimony and B equals the ATT testimony and C equals a guilty verdict. Your argument appears to be that if one is ignorant of certain facts, those who are aware of those same facts are stupid.

          Perhaps you have mistaken Susan’s blog for reddit.

  6. The outgoing calls place Adnan somewhere between Leakin Park and Hae’s car. Is it your assertion that Adnan and Jay showed up at some drug dealer’s house unannounced?

    • No, no they don’t. Most of the range that L689B is capable of covering is not in Leakin Park. The “idealized” portion of it is, but in real life, the signal goes far beyond that.

      What you see on the map above has little to no relationship with the territories that a cell tower actually does cover. All it shows is where we theoretically expect that tower to have a stronger sway — but it can, and very frequently does, service calls outside of there.

      • The map is not the territory. A chart showing cell phone towers and call times is not evidence.

        In other words, don’t make the same mistake as the jury and get caught up in the graphical representation of evidence that you use it instead of the actual evidence.

        • Yes, what’s missing from this ongoing debate are ALL trial transcripts and ALL evidence marked and admitted at trial.

          • If you think I’m criticizing Susan here, you’re incorrect.

            I have not seen one unassailable piece of actual evidence linking Adnan to the murder. I have seen many, many people assume that there must be something solid behind the summary presentation of partial evidence from unreliable sources.

      • It’s not what the tower is capable of covering, it’s what is it likely to cover!

        “What you see on the map above has little to no relationship with the territories that a cell tower actually does cover.”

        This is flat out false. The map absolutely shows what towers a call is most likely to connect to when it is those areas.

        • Wait.
          Think.
          Imagine a big circle.
          We will call that, all the calls that connected with a given cell tower. Now think of a smaller circle within the bigger circle. I know that this is like pre-Algebra for you, but try to keep this picture in your mind. It is beyond argument that the smaller circle is a subset of the larger circle. It’s like this, the big circle contains all the less likely calls plus all the most likely calls. Are you still with me? Now when Susan states “What you see on the map above has little to no relationship with the territories that a cell tower actually does cover.” She is stating that the truth of the matter is “the little circle fits within the big circle”. To this you respond, “This is flat out false” and your proof is the map you are looking shows that the small circle EXISTS, or to quote you “The map absolutely shows what towers a call is most likely to connect to when it is those areas.” Can you see how the existence of the little circle does not negate the existence of the larger circle? Is is possible that you have mistake Susan’s blog for Monty Python’s “Argument Department”?

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  8. Re: Your update

    It’s actually a map of the Kansas City area, around the State Line Road/I-435 off-ramp. It was provided by the Olathe, KS Public Defenders. (That’s what I meant when I said it was “not even close” to the Woodlawn area. 😉

    gentrfam

  9. If we assume all of the tower data to be accurate, it paints an interesting picture (unless I’m misreading something here).

    It puts the phone (which is with Jay according to everything we know, including his own testimony at trial) in the Best Buy zone right when the murder is alleged to have occurred. Jay changed his story about Best Buy in the beginning, saying it was because he thought there were security cameras there which is complete nonsense unless HE would have been on those tapes. Then the phone goes over to Woodlawn where Phil and Ken are called (“help with the body” calls?). Then the phone goes directly to Leakin park just north of the burial site (actual burial?). From there is goes directly to Jay’s house (change of clothes, disposal of evidence?). Then he gets a 4:58 pickup call from Adnan, who at 5:15 is picked up and checks his voicemail. Then they go to Cathy’s (which is supported by witness testimony).

    This is purely speculation, but it does seem to line up with the facts in the case.

    • One other point of pure speculation – prior to the phone going to the Best Buy zone, there’s a few incoming calls, so the records don’t say who placed them. One possibility is that one of them was Hae calling Adnan, but as we know Jay has the phone. He sees it’s Hae and answers, a “we need to talk” conversation happens (she was going to confront him about cheating on Stephanie), and they agree to briefly meet at the Best Buy when she gets out of school?

    • Anyone else have a take on this? The cell records as presented above DO seem to show the phone (and whoever is in possession of it) moving from the school to Best Buy, then to the burial area, then to Jay’s house, and all at key times.

  10. Interesting analysis. While it remains to be seen that this analysis will stand up in court (if ever presented), it dooms prosecution’s case either way… If we accept that “cell phone always ping closest tower” assumption, then we have to toss their timeline. If we reject “cell phone always ping closest tower” then the entire cell phone evidence goes poof and we’re left with “is he telling the truth” Jay testimony.

    Any way, I’ve created a meta topic for all the phone stuff and your blogpost has been added.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/serialpodcast/comments/2s3jlf/meta_link_to_all_the_phone_log_evidence_expert/

    Any way, I spotted that map before, but obviously you didn’t make it. Any idea who did?

  11. This is another interesting and valid de-bunking of the prosecution’s timeline as delivered through Jay. But’s its just irrelevant at this point, and its a distraction from what should be the focus now. You are correct that the pings were only probable evidence that the phone was in Leakin Park, but Jay’s “testimony” corroborated it. Adnan’s attorney had the chance to attack these obvious points on cross and apparently failed.

    No one should think Adnan will get an new trial because of the information presented here. It is long past that time. Adnan’s attorney could have done more but was not objectively “ineffective” in the manner required by the law (however much I disagree with that).

    You can’t just disprove the state’s case anymore; you have to make an affirmative one.

    You and everyone else who cares about this case have until about March 2015 to create a new timeline that does work based on the record available. Only some explosive, undiscovered evidence can help now, and a proper timeline would help people focus on where to look. It has to be something that might inspire the Court of Appeals to take extraordinary action on the current application. (IP’s motion is a separate vehicle, but that is a long shot.)

    • Did Cristina Gonzalez attack the state’s cellphone evidence at trial, using the disclaimer about incoming calls printed on the first page?

      If she did not, then it is either a Brady violation (if she was never given that page) or Ineffective Assistance of Counsel (if she was given that page but failed to use it).

      • Maybe forty years ago. The standards are way, way more strict today. There is just no way. And the ineffective assistance claim is all Adnan has left.

        • Forgive me for this ignorant question, as I am not lawyer, but does the fact that Jay admitted to completely fabricating the timeline used by the state to convict allow Adnan to seek a different type of relief, i.e. a new trial? He was convicted under false pretenses and it would seem that the law should provide for some redress if new evidence is presented (as in Jay’s recent interview) that the case the state made was false.

          • It’s an interesting situation, but he’s not recanting on the critical issue — that Adnan did it — nor is he saying someone else did. If he had come out and said, “it wasn’t Adnan, I was covering for someone else/pressured by the cops, and I know who really did it,” that would be something. Do I wish a court would grant a new trial on what we have? Perhaps. But that’s not how it works. Not that I don’t think Adnan’s attorneys should focus on that. But note that’s a very different thing then calling the detectives and the prosecutors liars.

          • Also, the only condition set in Jay’s plea deal is that he should be honest ‘about his involvement’ with Hae’s murder, which is a very bizarre and restrictive phrase to begin with. The plea deal doesn’t say anything about the timeline, or any other detail in that sense. I’m not a lawyer, but as a lay person this seems like the prosecution was covering their own rear parts, probably because how evasive Jay was, he could come up with a new story any time. So as long as he maintained that he helped with the burial, any divergence from his under oath statements would not constitute perjury. Sorry if I’m not making sense, as I said I’m not a lawyer, just trying to interpret things using reason.

        • Forgive me for this ignorant question, as I am not lawyer, but does the fact that Jay admitted to completely fabricating the timeline used by the state to convict allow Adnan to seek a different type of relief, i.e. a new trial? He was convicted under false pretenses and it would seem that the law should provide for some redress if new evidence is presented (as in Jay’s recent interview) that the case the state made was false.

        • As a former federal clerk judge… never say never. A persuasively argued analysis like Susan has done…. showing that the tower data was absolutely NOT a pinpoint GPS system as KU told the jury, but CG failed to attack….. I could’ve seen mine old Judge finding IAC.

    • Why do you think IP motion is a long shot? Is it because a)likelihood of dna being fingernail is marginal, b)if there is DNA, the probability of a match with a known suspect is marginal?
      Honestly asking. I’m really hoping there’ll be a match, either from the fingernail dna, or those two hairs that don’t belong to either Jay Wilds or Adnan. Thank you for your response.

  12. Sorry, Susan, but you’ve bias has gotten way too strong. You make assertions like “there is no evidence” when in fact there is good evidence. Or that the maps have “little to no relationship” to phone locations when the maps actually show very likely phone areas. I have to question every word you write which sucks.

    • “very likely” 2 mile swaths of land. It’s as likely that they were at Jenn’s house or Hae’s car as they were in the park burying the body based on the coverage map. Remember, she’s holding onto the AT&T expert’s testimony from trial 2. If they established or argued that the call came from leakin park she’d know that. They didn’t argue the tower pings were proof of location, just that they left the possibility open.

      • Let’s just say there’s a reason that I’ve completely abandoned my prior position, which was that the cellphone was in Leakin Park.

        I guess I fell into the trap of assuming there was evidence to support that, since it’s what everyone was saying.

        • So it appears the cell tower records can neither prove nor disprove the cell phone’s exact location. The judge questioned it? Could he have not allowed it to be entered as evidence? CG should have shredded it but failed badly and Adnan is stuck with it as he is with Jays fantasy.
          Jenn was and is the key to unraveling this mess. Could she still be charged as an accessory?

    • Susan is an advocate for Adnan, which is why you won’t find anything in her posts that examine an Adnan did it scenario. Rabia Chaudry recently stated that if Adnan gets a new trial she wants Susan to be his attorney.

        • While I wouldn’t wish that upon Susan, that would be great for Adnan’s case if he did. Remember what happened when Terry Hobbs tried to sue Natalie Maines for defamation? It was one of the best things that could happen for the West Memphis Three.

        • If you were Urick, you would hopefully know that the elements for a successful libel suit in Maryland are simply not present here. In particular, Urick would struggle to show that there have been statements that were defamatory, false and that resulted in damages. It is not an easy claim to make in the US.

        • On what grounds? Defamation is not for hurt feelings. He has to prove that she knew she was wrong about what she said. I do not see anything in her posts that extend beyond critical of the case to defamatory.

          Urick is pretty ridiculous for missing the writing on a document while criticizing others for misunderstanding the cell dats

        • Even if you take an uncharitable view of what Susan is doing (which I don’t), surely this is no more defamatory to Urick than his statements about Adnan’s friends and family in The Intercept interview. By my reading of that article, he accused Adnan’s family of attempting bully a witness and accused many people of being prepared to perjure themselves to provide Adnan a false alibi.

    • Sir, respectfully, it seems you are taking this for more than what it is. One can look at what is presented without taking each word literally and draw a conclusion- whichever conclusion they choose. Supports Adnan or doesn’t. We all understand what she is presenting without reading into every word. You can look at the chart without reading every word and understand the meaning. You may not agree with her conclusion but her point is valid. Bottom line, the prosecution relies on Jay backed up by cell records but the cell records are NOT conclusive evidence and we all know Jay is unreliable. The phone could have been in one location and it could have been in another….that’s the gist. I don’t understand why you would accuse bias or seem as if she is providing misleading information. The information speaks for itself.

    • -Susan is biased.
      -There is good evidence.
      -Susan sucks.

      Thank you for your invaluable contributions. Now can you go away and let the adults have a conversation?

  13. “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.”

    By using the word “teamwork,” are you accusing Kevin Urick of committing subornation of perjury in the Syed case?

    2013 Maryland Code
    CRIMINAL LAW
    § 9-102 – Subornation of perjury

    Universal Citation: MD Crim Law Code § 9-102 (2013)
    §9-102.

    (a) A person may not procure another to commit perjury as prohibited by § 9-101 of this subtitle.

    (b) A person who violates this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of subornation of perjury and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

    (c) A person who violates this section is subject to § 5-106(b) of the Courts Article.

    • To answer your question, basic reading comprehension will suffice.
      Short answer: No.
      Slightly less-short answer: No, but if Urick wants to sue Susan for defamation, then he should (with my deepest apologies to Susan) just so that she can shred him in the deposition he’d have to give.

    • Of course I would never, ever, ever accuse anyone involved in this trial with subornation of perjury. That being said, when I consider the verb “procure: to get (something) by some action or effort” KU kindness is arranging for a pro bono, non state provided lawyer, certainly appears to fit the first part of that definition. Not that I am accusing him of anything. But would you agree that his act did involve a certain level of “action or effort”. I guess the question is “Did that action lead to perjury”.

      At first, when I consider the definition of perjury: “failure to keep an oath”. It appears that there is more circumstantial, and collaborating evidence of Jay having perjured himself at nearly every opportunity, than evidence to the contrary. It seem like only an extreme statistical anomaly could account for him not lying. In fact, the only information that I can comfortably use to support the notion that Jay DID NOT lie on the stand is that he is now claiming that he DID.

      So I have to agree with you that it would be improper to accuse KU of subornation of perjury, unless or until Jay claims that he DID NOT lie under oath. Because that would mean Jay DID…right? Oh I get so confused.

      But wait, we could never believe Jay if he claimed that he DID lie on the stand, because the police testified under oath that Jays memory got so much better after they showed him some evidence. Doesn’t that prove that Jay was not lying?

      It seems obvious that the police definitely new the truth all along. The only problem they were having was getting Jay to remember the truth as well as they did. It must have been so hard for them. Obviously Jay felt sorry for them because in his recorded statement you can here him say he is sorry over and over again. If I were Jay I would have sent those guys some donuts to make up for making their job so hard. Anyway, back to our defense of KU.

      So if the police knew the truth all along, and they taught Jay to tell the truth, then obviously, Jay told the truth under oath, hence no perjury. I mean that just simple logic. Thank you for helping me think this through so clearly. I hope Susan takes you advice and steers clear of accusing anybody of subornation of perjury.

    • No, she’s saying that the process used in ‘testing’ Jay’s testimony to ensure it agreed with the cell records provided the necessary conditions to allow perjury to happen. The leaking of the cell phone info to Jay might have been unintentional or deliberate, but in either case it seems to have occurred. This is similar to the way many false confessions occur in police custody even where it’s not intentional.

      From the reports I’ve read, much of this seems to have happened during the unrecorded police interviews although some changes do appear to have happened when Urick was prepping Jay for his testimony.

      Urick did also seem to allow some statements about Jay’s whereabouts he must have suspected to be untrue to go unchallenged, but whilst that might be ethically dodgy it certainly doesn’t come near the criminal standard you’ve posted.

      Accusing Susan of accusing Urick of criminal activity is pretty unreasonable since it’s plain that isn’t what she’s doing.

  14. To begin, thank you Susan for your diligent work on the evidence and testimony of this case. Someone hinted in an earlier post that Rabia wants you to represent Adnan should he get a new trial. I don’t know where that person got their information from – and furthermore I’ve learned to temper my excitement whenever I read Rabia’s enthusiastic bloggings – but the spirit of the comment rings true. I just read through CG’s opening statement, and the “get to your point!” feeling she incited in me stands in such sharp contrast to what I know would be a surgical dismantling of the state’s case should you have the opportunity to do so. That being said, I want to contribute two thoughts in my first post on your blog:

    1) I do not understand the cellular technology at play here with nearly the level of expertise that I would like to. Your analysis included, I need answers to more questions than I know I will ever get:
    – I want an AT&T internal counsel statement on the “incoming call” location disclaimer
    – I want a broad spectrum AT&T cellular technician opinion on the cell tower routing mechanism as it relates specifically to how incoming calls are reflected on a customer’s usage statement
    – I want a similar opinion from a technician(s) who services the west Baltimore area in question specifically
    – I want subpoenaed the cell phone records of each person even tangentially connected to the events of January 13, 1999 for at least 2 days on either side of the day in question
    – I want a more rigorous version of the testing done by Waranowitz on more towers in the area; this should include different locations about each tower at varying radial distances from cell towers and at different angles with respect to a reference line extending from each tower in question. I want multiple data points for each location, and the testing should be done at different times during the day.

    Now, I realize some of this may not be feasible because we are talking about old technology which has certainly changed by now, but I’ll continue. My ultimate point? Admittedly I think I would either be recapitulating what you have already laid out in your last several posts or coming to the same conclusions via a different route, namely that the cell phone record cannot withstand the scrutiny to BY ITSELF provide an accurate geolocation record of the day in question. I suspect that what we would find is one of two things:
    a) The shortcomings in the technology would, like you have said before, provide us with only a “possible” and not “probable” account of the behavior of Adnan’s cell phone in this network of cell towers. A jury could be shown that attempting to use the cell phone information to account for the actual whereabouts of the cell phone is akin to trying to make sense of a 500 piece puzzle with only 50 pieces. If you look at the picture of the finished product, you can kinda-sorta work out where each is supposed to go, but only to some unsatisfactory degree of certainty. Reasonable doubt is introduced.
    b) To everyone’s surprise, the testing shows that we can geolocate the phone to a comfortable degree of certainty most of the time

    Now regarding (a), Urick commented in his recent interview something to the effect of “once you understood the cell phone records…in conjunction with Jay’s testimony [ergo the State’s case fell into place]”. I don’t know if there’s any place for scientific thinking in the courtroom, but this is incredibly UNscientific logic. One cannot simply take two unknowns, conclude that they must somehow be related, and then use each unknown to draw conclusions about the other. “Ladies and gentleman of the jury, X is unreliable, Y is unreliable, and it must follow a priori that considering X and Y together cannot make either X or Y individually more reliable.”

    2) About 2/3 of the way through the podcast, I began to doubt simply everything about the events of January 13, 1999 as it pertains to this case – a gut feeling combined with with a “well then who the f&^# did it” perplexity captured perfectly by one of the ex-Woodlawn high schoolers interviewed by SK. Someone who commented above made what I think is a great point that combines well with scenario (b) above. In this scenario, we can track Jay’s movements with a comfortable degree of certainty. The post in question is above at “Beaker on January 12, 2015 at 4:05 pm”. I know this is probably a pipe dream, but assuming we had this sort of confidence in the information, and assuming we want to stay with the idea that Hae was killed and buried on January 13**, we’d have what I as a layperson see as new evidence in the affirmative that would warrant a new trial; a timeline that actually IS corroborated by the cell phone record. This isn’t ‘reasonable doubt’ stuff here; its brand new evidence that, when combined with the “how could you have known that!?” parts of Jay’s testimony that we’ve all been over a million times, elevates our accessory after the fact to the main suspect.

    Thanks for listening. Looking forward to much more from you in the coming months.

    ** I want to briefly address one “problem” with this idea. Lets say that the burial doesn’t occur until ‘closer to midnight’, as Jay spoke of in his recent interview. Susan, in a previous post you dismissed the idea of a protracted time period between death and burial because of the fact that rigor mortis onset would have been incompatible with a pretzled body in a trunk being found splayed out in the grave. First, rigor mortis onset is not entirely predictable, meaning that the body could very well have been pretzled in a trunk for up to 12 hours with minimal onset (3:30pm murder, 11pm-midnight burial). Second, rigor mortis subsides unpredictably as well when enzymes start to cause decomposition of the sarcomere muscular unit. This does not necessarily have to coincide with any gross decomposition detectable in the trunk of a car. I think the first scenario is more likely, but my point is that we should feel comfortable with an alternate timeline without getting too worried about pegging it to time of death based on some pretty variable biological markers.

    Cheers.

    • I’m pretty sure Susan is not a criminal lawyer but whoever represents Adnan either during appeals or a new trial would should think seriously about hiring her as a consultant.

      • If he does get a new trial, wouldn’t the safest bet be taking a plea deal? 15 years of good behavior in prison would go a long way, no? I’m not a lawyer but I wouldn’t want to try my luck with another jury of people who make decisions on things they were literally told to ignore.

        • That is the terrible injustice also highlighted by Serial: If you happen to be innocent but have a hard time proving it, you have a better chance of serving less time by pleading guilty. Especially with Baltimore juries. But I’m guessing that’s true everywhere, not just in Maryland.

      • I do not believe Susan specializes in that area, but she certainly shows immeasurably more insight and understanding of the evidence than CG ever did while defending Adnan.

        After reading her blog and the Intercept drivel, the two things Adnan was definitely guilty of were associating with the wrong people and smoking way too much pot. Nothing more than that.

    • Just to be clear, I am definitely not involved and will not be involved in Adnan’s defense! Rabia meant it as a rhetorical compliment, and I’m glad she likes my work.

      – I want an AT&T internal counsel statement on the “incoming call” location disclaimer
      – I want a broad spectrum AT&T cellular technician opinion on the cell tower routing mechanism as it relates specifically to how incoming calls are reflected on a customer’s usage statement
      – I want a similar opinion from a technician(s) who services the west Baltimore area in question specifically
      – I want subpoenaed the cell phone records of each person even tangentially connected to the events of January 13, 1999 for at least 2 days on either side of the day in question
      – I want a more rigorous version of the testing done by Warnowitz on more towers in the area; this should include different locations about each tower at varying radial distances from cell towers and at different angles with respect to a reference line extending from each tower in question. I want multiple data points for each location, and the testing should be done at different times during the day.

      I want all these things too. Too bad the investigators did not.

      Re: rigor mortis, I still don’t think there’s any realistic chance she could have been buried the next day. But yeah, there’s a lot more flexibility in the timeline than I was originally thinking. From ~8:10 to ~11pm, we have no verified account of Jay’s (and Jenn’s) whereabouts, nor do we have one for after midnight.

      Here’s the more obvious point that should have bothered me a lot sooner: there is a significant amount of traffic that runs along N. Franklintown Road. Like heck someone could pull over and unload a body during rush hour.

        • I dunno if it’s true. I respect Susan’s opinion on most if not all issues related to the case, but this sounds like a conjecture to me. Besides 7 to 8 pm is significantly past rush hour.

          • Well not *significantly*. I mean I guess it depends on the city and whatnot but where I live rush hour doesn’t taper off until around 7. 7-8 could still be higher than normal traffic.

          • Regardless, Google maps shows it as a semi-major road and unloading a body there anytime in the evening does seem pretty risky.

          • There are some articles about locals complaining about traffic conditions on Franklintown from the early oughts, and locals posting comments about the case have mentioned traffic conditions there. I wouldn’t say it’s a major road, but it’s a busy city road. Not a road you could unload a body on at 7pm with any degree of confidence not to have a car pass by at that time.

          • I did a google map of N. Franklintown Road through Leakin Park tonight. At around 7pm, there were 6 yellow bands representing slower traffic on the Google maps traffic indicator, with most of the road showing green. At 7:45 there were 8 yellow bands, and at 8pm there were 9, then by 8:30pm I only saw one yellow band. So it appears now, 16 years later, that there’s enough traffic on the road in the period between 7pm and 8pm in the middle of the week to actually register.

            Some of the road, especially the freeway, were showing red, so there’s pretty heavy traffic that late on the surrounding roads.

            As I’m thinking about this, I’m also processing the information that Hae’s car had a broken turn signal/headlight stalk. It had been misreported as the wiper stalk, but it was the lights. I haven’t seen it mentioned if the crime lab actually tested the headlights or turn signal, but this would be very interesting information to have as we think about the car movements that late afternoon and night.

      • I was down near the burial site last Saturday morning. It was rainy and cold and still there was enough traffic that I did not want to just pull over and get out even for a second. Local people use the roads through LP all the time so they can avoid all the congestion of the surrounding area. The park has always been a favorite route of people who really understood how to get around in Baltimore. Look at Google Earth and you will see it is a terrific route that connects the west side of the inner city with the suburbs. Every other route is just like one long series of strip malls with tons of red lights and people pulling in and out of parking lots.

        Also just because Hae disappeared on the 13th does not prove she died that day much less was actually buried that same day. As far as I can tell from the transcripts so far, we only have Jay’s testimony to that. All other mentions of Haes death on that day appear to be hear say provoked by Jay. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on that point.

    • > First, rigor mortis onset is not entirely predictable, meaning that the body could very well have been pretzled in a trunk for up to 12 hours with minimal onset (3:30pm murder, 11pm-midnight burial). Second, rigor mortis subsides unpredictably as well when enzymes start to cause decomposition of the sarcomere muscular unit. This does not necessarily have to coincide with any gross decomposition detectable in the trunk of a car. I think the first scenario is more likely, but my point is that we should feel comfortable with an alternate timeline without getting too worried about pegging it to time of death based on some pretty variable biological markers.

      I think you overstate how unpredictable rigor mortis is. Rigor mortis starts immediately after death, but it’s only noticeable early on in the small muscles. By 12 hours from the murder you’re at the peak time for rigor mortis, but of course this is an average. Realize, though, that rigor is not binary. This is why dead bodies are called ‘stiffs.’ The stiffening starts fairly quickly, and it only takes 12 hours to fully effect the largest muscles. The smaller muscles around the elbows and knees would have been locked rigid well before that typically.

      Elsewhere I laid out reason why in this case there would likely have been significant rigor mortis in the major muscle groups even 6-8 hours after the murder, and the factors that would tend to significantly slow rigor mortis (obesity, very low temps) don’t apply or wouldn’t have applied until a good 8-9 hours after the likely time of murder.

      If anything, the cold temps that hit late that evening and early morning would tend to make the rigor mortis that did develop last longer, so taking the body out of the trunk the next day, or two days later, would yield a still-frozen corpse, except now there’d be a combination of rigor mortis and literal frozen tissue (from the low temperatures).

      In other words, if she’d been killed when it was near freezing, placed in the trunk, then the body sat in the trunk for 12 hours or 3 days or whatever, then the body buried soon after temperatures warmed up, rigor mortis wouldn’t have been advanced at the time of burial. But we have the opposite situation: it was warm enough for normal rigor mortis development for at least the first 6 hours (assuming death around 3:00-3:30), then cool enough to probably slow but not stop rigor mortis development for the next few hours, and then it was cold enough to ‘lock in’ that level of stiffness and delay the eventual resolution of rigor.

      And then there’s post-mortem lividity, which would become very pronounced at 12 hours, and would not disappear. In warm weather, rigor mortis does start to subside after it peaks, and might be entirely gone after 24-36 hours. But the lividity would get even more pronounced. Plus, as the ME stated, the tissue starts to breakdown and the skin becomes very fragile as the bacteria breaks down the connective tissue at temperatures warm enough for the rigor mortis to resolve. So if the body were stashed till rigor mortis resolved, it would have a clear, permanent lividity pattern, and it would be falling apart as it was hauled around.

    • This is another example of purely circumstantial evidence, but has anything been made of the fact that (according to Md judiciary records) “Mr. S” lived almost literally across the street from Woodlawn H.S.?

      • It may well be a fact (I haven’t seen the records you are referring to), but I think you are misusing the words “circumstantial evidence”. The fact that Mr. S lived across Woodland High does not in any way amount to evidence of his involvement in the case, either direct of circumstantial.

    • Very impressive comment. You should Susan’s co-counsel if Adnan gets a new trial. I’m a new criminal defense attorney and am so impressed with Susan’s work. I see things the exact same as far as CG’s performance….. “get to the point!” So many lawyers I’ve met don’t seem to understand this…….. I’ll just futz around and put everyone to sleep for a few hours in the hope something turns up and don’t worry I’ll put it all together at summation.

      Jay’s cross should’ve been a 35 minute ANNIHILATION.

    • This is not a post that I can completely absorb by reading it one time though at 11:00 PM, but you have made a lot of good points especially about KU’s failed logic. Do you agree that the best thing that can be done now is to construct a rational alternate explanation based on the existing evidence. If so I wonder if you also think it is useful to run some sort of “How do we know what we know test” against all the evidence. For instance, so many people seem to agree on the fact that Hae died between 2:30 PM and say 8:00PM on the 13th. But I have never read any evidence that convinced me that those times represent anything more than the window during which Hae disappeared. I am especially interested in what if anything was learned from lividity evidence. I did not see it mentioned at all in the autopsy. Don’t get me wrong; I am not for a minute suggesting that some other time of death is more likely, just that it is important not to paint yourself into a box.

  15. On a sombre side note, the Serial subreddit is quiet today in memory of Hae Min Lee. No wild speculation for 24 hours, just a poignant note. I’d say that’s very respectful of them.

  16. I just read Jay’s interview with Intercept and I am now starting to wonder… is he doing this on purpose? Why would he change his story so many times? How can the burial time now be “almost midnight”? How can he go from telling the story about parking the car “around the corner” etc. and now say that Adnan came to Jay’s house in Adnan’s car, and picked him up? It almost makes me think the guilt is getting to him… but he doesn’t want to say outright that Adnan is innocent, but maybe he wants him to get a retrial.

  17. Firstly let me say thank you for this post it is very interesting and I think adds some new evidence to the obvious difficulties with this case. It seems to me that there are three different points that you address here and I think it might be helpful to split them apart rather than conflate them:
    1. The cellphone evidence doesn’t support Jay’s testimony – I think we all knew this, but it is fascinating to see it shown in such a clear manner. Even leaving aside the coaching that may have gone on, it’s amazing how badly aligned the two sets of evidence are. I don’t know why this wasn’t better presented at trial.
    2. The point that connecting to a cell site doesn’t pinpoint location exactly – Again this is an important point. Being consistent with being in Leakin Park doesn’t demonstrate that the phone was at the burial site. To me this seems to be a common problem with the presentation of complex technical evidence in court, the jury quite possibly didn’t understand what ‘consistent with’ really meant and what it did or didn’t show. The fact that the jury came back so quickly makes me suspicious of how much they could have really weighed this evidence.
    3. That the cell information is inaccurate – Here I think I disagree with you somewhat. If we assume that Jay’s testimony is unreliable, then the only reasons to presume the cell information isn’t fully reliable are the phone calls at Cathy’s house and the AT&T disclaimer. My working assumption is that in most cases the cell phone will be in or near the claimed coverage area for that tower. However as in point 2 this really only helps in disproving Jay or Adnan’s (whomever you believe has the phone) claims to be significantly outside of those areas for those calls, rather than being probative of someone being in a precise location within those areas at a given time.

    In any case, point 1 is the strongest part of this argument this should have destroyed Jay’s credibility and proven that he was lying on the stand, somehow CG couldn’t land that punch and waffled on for 5 days instead. I think that’s a pretty poor showing but I don’t think it helps Adnan much at this point.

  18. I think I made a post on one of your earlier blogs stating this exact thing! We keep hearing cell phone records are inaccurate, yet Sarah and everyone else acknowledge it, and then ignore it! I’m glad you have caught onto this!! Thanks Susan.

  19. Pingback: Serious About Serial | Craig James

  20. Jenn’s statement: I got a call from Jay sometime after 8pm to pick him up from Westview Mall, and I went there to pick him up. A little while later, Adnan pulled up and dropped Jay off. Adnan seemed completely normal. As we drive away from Westview Mall, Jay says that Adnan killed Hae, but he does not know anything about what happened after that. He tells Jenn to turn around, and (now that Adnan is no longer in the parking lot, for some weird reason) he wants to check out something in a dumpster. Jay tells her he is wiping down “shovels or shovel,” but Jenn never sees anything.

    Strange. Jenn never sees anything…

    So are the shovels already in the dumpster? Or did Jay take the shovels out of Adnans car and throw them in the dumpster? Seems odd, that she doesn’t notice Jay stepping out of Adnan’s car with shovel(s) in hand. Because according to her statement, she’s already at the Mall waiting on them…

  21. My feeling is that you are over estimating how much the jury believed the details of jays story.

    What about the fact that Adnan’s alibi seems completely false. He and his friends all claim that he had asked Hae for a ride the afternoon of the murder. Then he makes a statement that he never asked Has for a ride.

    His alibi for later in the evening is that he was at the mosque with his cell phone. The cell phone records seem to indicate that he wasn’t at the mosque.

    So… You have a witness who is claiming that he was an accessory to murder. Who actually pleads guilty to these charges and serves two years of probation for getting involved.

    You have a number of people claiming that they had heard the defendant asking Hae for a ride after school. Do you agree that he asked Hae for a ride? Why would he have done that if Jae was simply borrowing his car or he could have just hung out at the library until track practice?

    Then he lies about where he is later in the evening.

    In order for me to believe adnan is innocent, I have to believe that jays testimony is completely false and was basically blackmailed by the cops to make up ALL of it.

  22. Pingback: The Adnan Syed Case - New Trial Granted Based on Challenge to Cell Tower Data - Corruption, Crime & Compliance

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