There is one part of Jay’s story that has been bugging me for a while now. Jay claimed in his first police interview that, after dropping Adnan off at track, he went home to wait for Adnan to call to pick him up once practice was over. In Jay’s second police interview, however, and in his testimony at the first trial, his story changes. Jay claims that after dropping Adnan off at track practice, he went to Cathy’s house, where he hung out with Cathy and Jeff for half an hour or so, until Adnan called him to ask to be picked up.
But this story is obviously a lie. Moreover, it is an incredibly dumb lie, because it is easily (and thoroughly) contradicted by Cathy, who is a reliable and credible-seeming witness. According to Cathy, she got home around 5pm that day, and a little while later, Jay and Adnan showed up together. There is no mention whatsoever of Jay making a previous trip to visit her, while Adnan was at track, and in fact, according to Cathy’s timeline, it would have been impossible for Jay’s “first” trip to her apartment to ever have occurred. Even worse, it does not match the cellphone records. There is no way that Jay could have made a trip to Cathy’s after dropping Adnan off at track, not if the cellphone records (or the laws of space-time continuum) have even a shred of meaning.
So this bugged me. A lot. It was a lie that had no apparent explanation, and that made Jay’s story even more impossible and absurd than it already was. Most of Jay’s weird timeline-based lies have obvious explanations for how they evolved, but this one didn’t.
For background purposes, here is what Jay said during his first interview:
Ritz: What happens after you drop him off at school, is there come a point in time when you go back to school and pick him up?
Jay: Yeah, uh huh.
Ritz: How do you know what time to go back to school?
Jay: He called me on the cell phone.
Ritz: Do you recall what time he called you?
Jay: Um maybe like six forty-five, something like that.
Ritz: When he calls you at six forty-five, where exactly are you?
Jay: Ah I think I was at my house.
Ritz: You’re at home?
Ritz: You leave home, you go back over to school to pick him up?
Jay: Uh-huh. (Int.1 at 11-12.)
And here is what Jay said in the second:
Ritz: Were did you drop him off at school?
Jay: In the front.
Ritz: Were do you go?
Jay: I go, I was on my way home, but then I stopped off at G[i]lston Park and ah, ah, I smoked another blunt before I went home. And then, I, I think I may have, may have gone yeah, I went to Cathy and Jeff’s. And [Adnan] called me from the cell phone there and then I left Cathy’s and Jeff’s to hang out. (Int.2 at 20-21.)
And here is why the lie about Cathy’s apartment makes no sense: Jay’s statement in the first interview matches the location data from the cellphone records, while Jay’s statement in the second interview does not. It is generally accepted that Adnan’s call for a pickup from track practice occurred at 4:58 p.m., and this call pings L654C — which would be completely consistent with Jay being at his house (well, one of his houses, anyway) at the time of that call:
As you can see, Jay’s house is easily in range of L654C. Cathy’s apartment, on the other hand, is absolutely not.
Yet in between the first interview and the second, Jay changed his story — despite the fact that Jay’s claim from his first interview, in which he said that he was at his house when Adnan called him to be picked up from track, is one of the only times that he actually managed to tell a story that matched the location data (even if his timing was about two hours off). So why, then, did Jay change his story in the second interview, to tell a version of events that was even more demonstrably false than his first story, and even more in conflict with the location data from the cellphone records?
Because the police told him to, that’s why. The police falsely believed that L654 was located three farther miles south than it really was, and so they made Jay change his story to match their incorrect location data.
To understand what happened, we need to back up a bit and examine what the investigators were doing before and after Jay’s first and second interviews. At the time of the first interview, the detectives definitely had two things: (1) a list of the calls made on January 13, 1999 and the towers they pinged; and (2) a list of the cell towers and the addresses where they were located. Both documents had been faxed over to the detectives by AT&T on February 22, 1999 (as shown by the header data). From comparing the two lists, one thing would have stood out to them: there is one tower located in the middle of Leakin Park, and that tower is pinged at 7:09 and 7:16 pm. Ergo, they conclude, the burial occurred at 7:09 or 7:16 pm.
So they went in and interviewed Jenn and Jay, and get statements that match the evidence they already have. In order to further investigate Jenn’s and Jay’s stories (as well as Adnan’s), they requested a map of the cell tower locations, in order to assist them in visualizing where the various calls are pinging at the various times. Detective Ritz sent a note stating that he was going to “have an engineer prepare a map on a diagram of the calls outgoing and incoming from the cell locations. This would aid[ ] corroborate information provided to us by witnesses and discredit the suspect’s alibi.”
Pursuant to Ritz’s directives, someone then prepared a map charting out all of the towers that Adnan’s cellphone had pinged on the day of Hae’s death. Once it came back, however, the detectives realize they have a big problem with Jay’s story — because it makes a mockery of what the map was showing them.
But whoever made the detectives’ map made an error. They put tower L654 in the wrong place.
It was an understandable error, really. You see, L654 is located at 824 Dorchester Rd., Catonsville, at the southeast corner of 40 and 695, directly south of Westview Mall. You can see how the address was provided on the tower location records faxed over by AT&T:
Only, as it turns out, there are two locations in western Baltimore with the address of 824 Dorchester Road. There is an 824 Dorchester Rd, Catonsville, Maryland 21228 (where L654 is actually located) and an 824 Dorchester Rd, Baltimore, Maryland 21229 (three miles to the south of the tower’s actual location).
The result of these confusing street names is that the cell tower map that was provided to Detective Ritz mistakenly placed L654 at the 824 Dorchester Rd located in Baltimore, not the one located in Catonsville, as shown below:
Most of the towers shown are placed correctly; towers L655 (circled in green), L653 (in blue), L607 (in brown), and L608 (in pink) are all roughly in the right spots. But L654 (in the yellow rectangle) is not. It should be where the yellow ellipse has been placed, north of L655, not in between L655 and L608.
Why does all this matter? Because the false L654 on the detectives’ map is located directly next to Cathy’s apartment:
So going into Jay’s second interview, on March 15, 1999, Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary were armed with an incorrect cell tower map which falsely told them that L654 was located almost directly on top of Cathy’s apartment. L654 was pinged by Adnan’s cellphone exactly twice on the day of Hae’s death, by two incoming calls at 4:27 and 4:58 pm. This must have meant — according to the detectives’ inaccurate map — that Jay was somewhere close to UMBC at those times, which is the presumed range of (false) L654. And what else is near UMBC?
Cathy’s apartment. Which is why the detectives told Jay that he needed to tell a story explaining why the 4:27 and 4:58 calls pinged a tower that was (allegedly) next to Cathy’s apartment. Jay happily obliged the detectives:
And then, I, I think I may have, may have gone yeah, I went to Cathy and Jeff’s. And [Adnan] called me from the cell phone there and then I left Cathy’s and Jeff’s to hang out. (Int.2 at 20-21.)
And there it is. Proof that the detectives coached Jay’s story to make it fit the location data from Adnan’s cellphone.
Because there was no reason whatsoever for Jay to tell this lie, other than that the detectives told him to. Jay’s story needed to change in order to conform to their false maps, and also to their false beliefs about what happened on January 13, 1999. And when the cops informed Jay that the tower data said he was at Cathy’s at 4:27 and 4:58 pm, Jay conformed to the detectives’ request, spouting out a story that he had to have known was impossible nonsense, simply because that was what the cops wanted to hear.
It gets even more curious, though. Because it appears that, in between Adnan’s first and second trial, the prosecution realized there had been an error in their cell tower map. At the first trial, Jay stuck by the claim he was at Cathy’s when Adnan called him to be picked up from track:
Jay: Okay. [Adnan] decided that it was time for him to go to track practice so then I drove him to the front of the school. He left the telephone in the car, exited the car, and walked into Woodlawn High School.
KU: What did you do at that point?
Jay: I left and went to my friend [Cathy’s] house.
KU: What, if anything, did you do there?
Jay: I sat there. I smoked, they didn’t. They watched television. l was debating with do. He called, asked me to come get him from school. (12/14/99 Tr. 199.)
But by the time of the second trial, however, the prosecution had changed its tune, and seems to have realized that the 4:27 and 4:58 calls were not showing that Jay was at Cathy’s apartment at all. They were (allegedly) showing that Jay was near his house instead. Just like Jay said in his first interview.
That’s okay, though. Because when Jay’s story does not match the cellphone records, the solution, as always, is simply to change Jay’s story. Which is what the prosecution apparently did at the second trial, through the testimony of the prosecution’s expert witness, Abe Waranowitz. During direct examination, Waranowitz was questioned about whether the test calls he had made were consistent with Jay’s (new) story:
KU: Now, if there was testimony that someone had dropped someone off at school to go to track practice and the person who had the car went to G[i]lston Park, parked for a while and then went back to pick the person up, if you found — and they called at G[i]lston Park, one or more incoming calls were received by the AT&T wireless subscriber telephone and then you found cell phone records that had calls from the L654C cell site, would that functioning of the AT&T network be consistent with the testimony?
Waranowitz: Yes. (2/08/00 Tr. 102.)
Jay’s story is truly a wondrous thing. It can be consistent with the cellphone records when they are wrong, and then still be consistent even after the cellphone records have been corrected. And how could a story that is so amazingly consistent with the cellphone records have possibly been anything other than true?
You’re killing it. Keep it up.
Crushing it and then killing it.
Sent from my iPhone
You are so totally amazing! Incredible how you spot all this — what an eye for detail!
Wow. You are amazing.
I understand that you’re parsing this case along a logical legal trajectory, but would you say that Adan might be the right person in jail for the wrong reasons?
I can’t bring myself to believe that the prosecution would indict the one with no alibi simply because he might be easier to convict. In your opinion, why did the prosecution immediately go after Adnan vs. Jay? This is such a quandary for me. It can’t be the cell phone records alone b/c it was such a new technology at the time and something the prosecution would not have been used to folding into a conviction equation. It’s got to be something else, or am I lost in the weeds?
All the best, Leslie Tucker East Village, NYC
Adnan had many alibis. The investigators used his cellphone records to figure out when there were gaps in those alibis — as would be the case in anyone’s day — and then ramrodded their case through those gaps.
They had no evidence against Jay, other than his possibly impermissibly obtained statements. Jay was willing to talk against Adnan. Easy choice.
Why Gilston Park, instead of at his house, which is what he originally said? Is that just a random spot within the tower’s range?
I think the Gilston Park issue may be more interesting than has been previously recognized. (As a background for anyone who is not familiar with it, note that the actual transcripts say “Gelston Park,” but that this is commonly believed to be a transcription error, and that it should actually read Gliston Park. Seethis post on Serial’s website for an explanation of the confusing situations.)
Because I’m not entirely convinced that “Gelston Park” was a transcription error. I have wondered if (and to placate everyone who freaks out whenever I venture into theorizing about this case: HERE BE SPECULATION) perhaps Jay really did say “Gelston Park.” Jay often tells lies which seem to be based on true stories that have had the date, time, or characters changed — so perhaps when he said “I went and smoked at Gelston Park,” he was telling the truth. Only it happened several hours later in the day.
Is there a pool hall in Gelston Park?
I would like to SPECULATE that perhaps Gelston park isn’t a transcription error, because that’s what Jay actually said.
Isn’t it possible that Jay got the name of the park wrong because he’d never been there, he’d only heard someone say the name?
Coach: Jay I want you to say you were in central park at the time of the murder.
Jay: yeah ok sure, I was in Central Perk at the time
Susan, let me add my voice of admiration for your work and lucidity. Exceptional.
But can I ask a similar question. Reading you and others, it seems to me that state, police and prosecution pursued a much harder, riskier and contorted course in trying to crow-bar what they had into a story of Adnam’s guilt.
Remember, they are operating in real time and they cannot have certainty regarding what alibis and evidence will emerge in support of Adnan. In my experience, even in the case of lazy or inattentive or crazy-busy police work, the strong tendency is to avoid the much harder (and riskier) strategy of arranging, forcing, bending everything to fit a narrative that is constructed albeit for reasons believed to be justified. Rather, with two suspects (at the very least equally suspicious), work proceeds down the easier and less nightmarish route of the staying with the more likely scenario rather than risking the later bombshells of having been revealed to be complicit in or contributory to a fabrication. It’s easier and more normal to say we suspect but can’t prove than it is to ‘prove’ via the complex and crumbly architecture of invention.
Obviously, there is a strong pressure to convict. But – again – this usually comes second when up against pressure to maintain professional reputation. In other words, in a case like this with so much screaming ‘this isn’t right’, even inattentive people tend to take the far easier route of stalling on suspect J rather than hammering suspect A through a series of hoops that simply won’t hold. If nothing else, they have to work and prepare under the assumption that defence will be good.
So, while i am completely with you in all you have set out so brilliantly, I am struggling to understand why the various parts of the prosecution pushed ahead with such a flimsy, half-assed, reputation-risking case. (At the time, wasn’t Adnam’s lawyer thought to be good/ferocious?) It makes little sense unless we believe that pressure to convict is so strong that it trumps every other consideration.
The Adnam case seems to me far riskier and foolhardy and – frankly – difficult to make. Why would they do so with such dogged J-enduring tenacity. Do you or anyone have any thoughts on this?
It could be as simple as honestly believing Adnan to be guilty and so desperately trying to fit the evidence to that the cops perceived as fact. We know he did it – now how did he do it? Rather than let the evidence lead their investigation. Have a look on reddit and see how many people can’t let go of their personal theories despite more and more evidence against it. Cops are people and people are very much influenced by their (often wildly inaccurate) gut feelings. Add that to a sense of commitment to a theory they’ve spent effort on (again a people thing) and you have cops willing to show the evidence to an interviewee because they just want him to tell them the truth – not necessarily realising that they are actually changing his evidence.
Of course, if accidentally changing a person’s testimony is one thing but once you know a person’s testimony is changeable as Jay’s was in this example, it puts into doubt the whole idea of ‘a justice system’. Perhaps the cops were unaware (Jay’s story changing between the interviews and the trials) but surely the Prosecution picked up on the fact that as the cell phone data changed, they were able to change Jay’s story, possibly just by presenting the new fact to him.
My question is actually a response to your 7:16 post, but I couldn’t submit it there.
You say this:
“surely the Prosecution picked up on the fact that as the cell phone data changed, they were able to change Jay’s story, possibly just by presenting the new fact to him.”
From your blog post, you show that the prosecution changed the cell phone data story by putting it in through the testifying expert. Do you know whether Jay also changed his story on the stand in the second trial? I’m wondering whether Urick did not want to expose Jay to impeachment on this point from his trial one testimony and so went the more circuitous route.
Either way, this is also damning of Urick’s Intercept interview. He so stridently maintains that Jay + cell records tells the story of Adnan’s guilt, but given the differences from trial one to two, he surely knew that Jay + cell records was capable of many stories, not all of which have the same conclusion..
Just to clear up any confusion – I am not Susan Simpson.
What u describe is called conformation bias and it occurs when people want to believe evidence that supports their theory and ignore contrary evidence. It occurs in psychological experimentation at times but there are methods of control to stop this. Also police sharing information with the suspect is a former of researcher bias, the interviewee shapes answers to please the authority and hence get themselves in a favored light. Biases such as these are some f the many that play a role in eyewitness testimony and convict innocent people all the time
I thought you were Susan so I want to congratulate you on your clear thinking too!
Watch this movie.
IMHO the police/prosecution probably thought that Adnan had a more credible motive, whereas they couldn’t come up with one for Jay. Motive is maybe not relevant for trial and conviction, but there is a powerful logic in motive that might influence who is picked as prime suspect. Motive might also dictate what is viewed as the more likely scenario (as in is this a domestic violence case or a more random killing).
The prosecution also went to great lengths to argue that Adnan’s religion/ethnicity played a role in his wanting to kill Hae, I.e. motive. They even had an “expert” report prepared to that effect. I believe someone said at trial something to the effect that, in that (Adnan’s) society, women are second-class citizens.
Whether out of bias or genuine conviction, it seems the prosecution was determined to pull out all stops to build a case of “guilty” against Adnan. And his “foreign-ness” may have been one more straw they yard to build their increasingly flimsy argument.
My understanding is that without Jay they had no case against anyone. If they’d chosen to pursue Jay alone, then he could have pled the 5th and all they’d be left with is his admission of being an accessory after the fact after 3hrs of unrecorded interrogation with no lawyer present. Jen’s evidence would do as much to hurt their case against Jay as help it, as it would introduce a viable alternate suspect (Adnan).
Except, with respect, Adnan is not really a ‘viable suspect’ as charged. Even to a busy or inattentive prosecution across only half of Susan’s (and SK’s) fine points. That’s why I also inquisitively take issue with Susan’s phrase ‘easy choice’ above.
In fact, choosing to stick this on Adnam – for any police department or prosecution – is far from an easy choice. Rather, it is the most tortuous, difficult, protracted and professionally hazardous choice. Because nothing really works convincingly in the narrative (as they demonstrably know). And because they have to expect a good defence (in real time, I mean). Instead, they chose the legal nightmare: coaxing, swapping, switching, forcing evidence. This is simply harder to do. So even busy or negligent departments usually opt for ‘we suspect but we can’t solve’ over the sheer protracted risks and difficulty of this kind of fabrication and/or bending things. The figures on unsolved are high and adding one more to them usually proves ‘easier’ and far less perilous than fitting together this kind of case. I accept, of course, that there are cases where the police and prosecution do wilfully or otherwise prosecute the wrong person; but it is very rare that they do it when the evidence against the suspect (A) is so very poor and they have another suspect (J) in interview with at the very least equal plausibility.
Why pursue the mess of prosecuting A at all? From their point of view, it’s not an easy choice, it’s a risky, fraught, messy, leaky strategy that might (needlessly) lead to professional (at best) reprimand. I’d love to know what others think. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe pressure to convict is everything?
Sorry I should have said Adnan was a ‘viable alternate suspect’ in regards a reasonable doubt defence for Jay had he been charged alone.
I completely agree with you that the case against Adnan is extremely weak. But if you were looking at possibility of conviction by charging Jay alone vs cutting a deal with Jay and charging Adnan, you have to admit that the case against Adnan is a million times stronger. Without Jay’s testimony there is literally no direct evidence against either of them.
As for why they didn’t leave it unsolved, I’d suggest a) this was not an drug/gang related murder, this was a successful female high-school student the pressure to solve this would be extraordinarily high b) given the likelihood of a murder being committed by a (ex-)partner they probably thought/think they had/have the right guy. From the police and prosecutors point of view there was a compelling reason to roll the dice and prosecute Adnan. Even if they were conciously gaming the system they probably believed they were getting the right guy for the wrong reason.
There is also the theory that Jay has more value than just in this case. That he could help in Urick’s other narcotics cases. If so, this case set Jay up to be indebted to the prosecution.
With regard to why this would happen, I think the answer lies in the context of where and when this occurred. Baltimore in the late 90’s was one of the murder capitals of the U.S., most of it apparently concentrated in the drug trade in the inner city. The solve/conviction rate for these crimes was abysmal, and it was a huge political issue.
Hae’s murder occurred in the suburbs, and did not APPEAR to be drug related. To the contrary, they had an easy suspect in Adnan, the ex-boyfriend. But, the interesting twist is that the info pointing at Adnan (remember, there is zero physical evidence that Adnan was involved even though they searched his house, clothes, car, etc.) came from Jay who was a drug snitch. We know this from a number of sources, but it is clear from his plea bargain that mentions his testimony not only in Adnan’s case, but also in other unrelated matters. Jay and his family were deep in drug dealing. Jay was terrified of being found out as a “snitch” and also wanted to avoid his family getting caught up: note that the police never bothered to search Jay’s house or collect any evidence from him. Isn’t that convenient.
In any case, the police had one of their regular snitches pointing toward the ex-boyfriend. There was no evidence other than Jay’s story, which the police were able to massage and manipulate into fitting the phone records, so, with an ill and incompetent attorney on the other side, it was an easy conviction. Box checked for a “win” in the otherwise losing DA’s office.
Hate to say it, but there was a vortex of factors prompting the prosecution to make this a “routine domestic violence” case as Urick states, rather than follow and look for real evidence.
I’m curious, where are you seeing information that Jay was a drug snitch? I haven’t seen any reliable proof of that, mostly just speculation.
Beaker: It wouldn’t let me respond directly, but Jay’s plea bargain agreement is available on Rabia’s blog. In addition, in his interview Jay basically implied that he had been. There has been much written about this elsewhere.
I could not agree more.
Don’t forget the “anonymous” phone call that turned them to Adnan. At this point I’m not willing to rule out shenanigans on that one as well.
Well stated, I’ve thought this as well. Now what to do??
Both the police (Bill Ritz) and the Prosecutor (Kevin Urich) appear to have been in a rush to judgement in this case. Jay gave them a narrative, Adnan was proclaiming innocence. They couldn’t build a case against Jay as the murderer – because Adnan wouldn’t roll over or talk. So, they pushed Jay, who was more than willing to say anything they asked him to.
Bill Ritz stories: http://bit.ly/1C1uBk6 Cooper vs State
and here: http://bit.ly/1KKwN3j Ezra Mable
COOPER VS STATE (FINDLAW)”The interrogation began without Miranda warnings and continued for 90 minutes. During this time, Detective Ritz told appellant, among other things, that witnesses “saw him getting out of a vehicle chasing after the victim that evening.” The interrogation proceeded, uninterrupted, until appellant gave a statement that placed him at the scene, arguing with the victim. Then, but only then, did the detective stop appellant from saying more. The only break in the interrogation was to set up the audiotape recording system, give appellant the Miranda warnings, and secure a waiver from him, thereby providing him with even less of an interruption than the 20-minute break given in Seibert. Interrogation then resumed, conducted by the same officer, in the same environment. And, much as in Seibert, Detective Ritz began the second stage of the interrogation by harkening back to appellant’s unwarned statement (“You had indicated that you were involved with a, in an argument with [the victim], is that true?”), as if this part of the interrogation was merely a continuation of the first. Further, of import under Justice Kennedy’s test, Detective Ritz candidly acknowledged that he intentionally withheld the reading of the Miranda warnings during the first 90-minute stage of the interrogation, for fear that appellant would refuse to talk or ask for a lawyer.
Prosecutor Urich prevented Nisha from testifying that she spoke to Jay when Adnan was visiting him at a video store, as he knew that job started AFTER Hae Lee was dead.
He arranged for a lawyer for Jay, and never revealed this detail to the defense. (Jay spilled the beans during cross examination)
He continued to stress that the cell phone calls confirmed Jay’s narrative, and Jay’s narrative was confirmed by the cell phone calls…when the entire afternoon the narrative and the CELL TOWERS BEING PINGED do not match.
He laid out in the state’s timeline that Adnan’s supposed “come and get me call” call occurred at 2:36, while his star-witness, Jay, consistently testified that it happened at 3:40 pm.
He yelled at Don for not making Adnan out to be more creepy in Don’s testimony.
And speaking of consistently, in his own arguments he labels Jay’s testimony as consistent, which it definitely is NOT.
Do prosecutor’s behave appropriately -and only bring cases to trial that they believe are just? See these links – one example of prosecutorial misconduct:
http://bitly.com/1nR8jIH Mike Nifong
http://bit.ly/1IL9vXs Mike Nifong and Innocence Project
Question: Why were Jay & Jenn not given a lie-detector test? Where are Jay’s and Jenn’s phone and pager records? Where are Don’s and Hae’s phone/pager records? Why weren’t the incoming calls sourced? Why was DNA evidence from the scene and Hae not tested?
I agree with everything except the lie detector comment. Lie detectors are junk science and have no value; why waste people’s time and money?
Unbelievable, you outlined what I believe to be the current line of thinking (at least for those of us not privy to some legal docs) Well done! Beginning to end, this theory fills in the blanks and was stated succinctly. I do have to admit it does align with what I’ve come up with as well, so yes some bias, Still, very impressed!
I find the lie detector question very very interesting also. Not because they’re reliable good science – but because the police DID use one on Mr S so it clearly was a technique they were willing to use. Another instance of them not wanting to create ‘bad’ evidence since Jay’s was almost certainly going to show deception (given they knew he was lying about at least some of his story every time), and maybe Adnan’s wouldn’t have?
Jay knew where Hae’s car was. I would think that qualifies as evidence against Jay, doesn’t it?
Only in so far as an accessory and the only evidence that he knew if because of his testimony given without a lawyer present. I’m not arguing that it isn’t evidence, but it may not be usable evidence against Jay alone where he could plead the 5th.
Apparently, initially he did not know where Hae’s car was…it took a few tries. So again, back to square one with, can I call it coercing the witness??
Assuming Jay actually knew where the car was, without coaching from the cops, then it seems to be the only concrete evidence in this entire case against anybody.
Amazing work. I have great respect for what you are doing here.
Your comment above about the prosecution’s timeline being fabricated to accommodate gaps in Adnan’s alibis makes a lot of sense – if there really is such a string of alibis. I want to believe this, but I can’t recall what these many alibis were. Would you be able to provide a list of these and the gaps or have you already done that in another posting? I can think of only the Asia sighting at the library. I believe many people (including myself) just recall Adnan saying he himself can’t say for sure where he was that afternoon. Wasn’t this one of his biggest problems?
That aside, it seems the only piece of information linking Jay (and therefore Adnan) to this crime is Jay allegedly leading the police to Hae’s car. If he and the police lied about that too, then there is no link between Jay and any of this (and hence, no link to Adnan either). Do you have any analysis on whether that too was fabricated solely to allow the police to have *someone* to pin the murder on? Do you think Jay could have been pressured to fabricating his entire involvement? If so, what could the threat by the police have been to cause him to take such a drastic step? It would have to be a threat worse than falsely admitting to being involved with a murder.
Thanks again for all your hard work!
First half of the day(working from memory, but I think this is accurate):
*The attorney noted show Mrs.Stucky printed a referral for Adnan at 1:13pm.
*He arrived in psychology class late at 1:27, per the teacher’s notes.
*Class got out at 2:15pm. *Asia saw him at 2:30-2:40-ish at the library near school.
*Debbie saw him by the guidance counselor’s office with his track bag at 2:45-3:00ish (per her interview with police).
*Track started around 3:30-4:00.
Also Aisha and Becky see Adnan and Hae talking after class at 2.20pm and there is a mysterious reference to Becky also seeing Adnan later (in the people map on the Serial website it says Debbie told police she saw Adnan at around 3.30pm and Becky say him at about 2.45pm) I’d love for someone to clear that up for me – did Becky say she saw him to the police? if so, when?
An “alibi witness” doesn’t mean someone who can conclusively prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a defendant was not at the scene of a crime. It means someone who can provide evidence that the defendant was not.
For Adnan’s alibis, January 13, 1999, was a nothing date. They had no idea anything had happened until weeks later, at which point they could no longer be sure that they had memories of the specific date in question, or of some other date in time.
1) Asia. Thinks she sees Adnan at the library (basically on campus) at 2:45pm.
2) Debbie. Thinks she sees Adnan at school at some time between 2:45 and 3pm.
3) Track coach. Remembers a warmish day near the end of Ramadan when the track team had practice outside and he had a conversation with Adnan about the prayers he was going to be giving, all of which matches January 13, 1999. However, the track coach (very reasonably) does not remember if that was the exact date the conversation happened on. Track started at 3:30 and ended around 5:30pm.
4) Cathy and Jeff. Adnan and Jay showed up together at her place around 6pm — consistent with going there immediately after track ended. Adnan is super high and super awkward, which he sort of remembers (minus the being super awkward bit). Cathy says they leave a short time later.
5) Jenn. Says Adnan dropped Jay off somewhere, consistent with Adnan’s recollection of the evening.
6) Lots of people at the mosque. Don’t remember specifically seeing him there or at what specific times, but are confident he was there, because they would have noticed if he hadn’t been.
Urick said it best in his “interview” with the Inept, I mean, Intercept. Without jay, the cell records aren’t enough to win the case, and vice versa. They needed witness testimony to get a conviction because there is no physical evidence.
I’m starting to wonder if jay and adnan didn’t do this crime together, and the state forced jay to roll on adnan in return for a walking pass.
But that is a toally unfair conclusion toward Adnan. All the other evidence–the request for a car ride, the note from two months before, lose any suspicious meaning if you eliminate Jay’s origninal testimony after an unrecorded interview with police. He is the only one claim Adnan talked about the ride ruse and his anger toward Hae. Surely police told him during the preinterview that Adnan was a suspect and that he had asked Hae for a ride that day. Jay then weaves motive and the plot to lure Hae into his narrative.
Agree…. everyone is so quick to point out that “it’s always the boyfriend” when a girl dies….. but I’ve never seen such a case where there weren’t all kinds of warning signs…. stalking… harassment…. threats. We have NOTHING here.
Agreed; easy route to pin on the boyfriend. Plus, in this case (the documents are elsewhere, I believe on Rabia’s blog) that the prosecution paid an “expert” to conduct racial/ethnic profiling on Adnan’s “expected” behavior as a Pakistani Muslim. It was patently absurd. The prosecution also used his community support at his bail hearing to argue AGAINST his release on bail on the bizarre assertion that Pakistani boys around the country were murdering girlfriends and being flown out to Pakistan to avoid prosecution. Later, the prosecutor said “oops, I misspoke about that,” but the damage was done. Even though this was before 9/11 there was a major religious/ethnic undercurrent in this case.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not convinced of anyone’s guilt or innocence yet. I’m just saying that it seems odd the cops and prosecutor would finger someone with no physical evidence, purely on the shakey testimony of a drug dealer and serial liar, where the story required so much massaging just to get it barely halfway credible.
To believe this, you have to believe they have ZERO morals, and that they were willing to risk the case and their careers on extremely flimsy “evidence” that a competent lawyer would have utterly destroyed. The only way I can picture a REASONABLE person doing this is if they knew, without a doubt, that Adnan was the killer. Like if Jay admitted to being present while Adnan did it – then they know Adnan’s the guy, but to get Jay to testify to this fact they have to give him immunity. Not far fetched at all.
It’s clear that they railroaded Jay to get his story to match the cell records, but that does NOT mean the entire case against Adnan is a fraud. Either way Adnan should be released because of all the foul play.
“Like if Jay admitted to being present while Adnan did it – then they know Adnan’s the guy”
Why would that statement make Jay suddenly more believable?
Jay23, don’t take my specific example so literally. The point is that it’s possible Jay provided information to them that had them convinced he was actually there at the time of the murder.
“The point is that it’s possible Jay provided information to them that had them convinced he was actually there at the time of the murder.” Then why on earth wouldn’t they share it? I took your example literally because I can’t conceive of a scenario where Jay provides “reliable” evidence but for some reason the police are instead stuck with his nonsense stories.
I’m not sure what information Jay could have given them that would have been capable of convincing them Adnan is the guy but which couldn’t be used as evidence (or wasn’t somehow squashed through anyway (or in interviews now – can’t you just see Urick saying ‘oh we had video footage of Adnan disposing of a shovel but it was inadmissible because of … something). The thing was they already thought it was Adnan before they got to Jay. Jay just gave them a story that ‘fit’ (in the loosest possible way) the idea they already had.
I’ve often wondered the same thing, except that if it was true that they both did it, why so many terrible versions of events, many of which seemed to have been the result if the police helping Jay “remember better” what happened that day? It should not have been that complicated to tell a story where Jay omits himself from the actual murder if he was involved, and the rest of the story should have stayed roughly the same, since the vast majority of the day Jay admits he was with Adnan. He just wasn’t with him during school, the murder, and track. It should not have been that complicated a lie. More complicated than the complete truth, but not THAT complicated. That is why I have huge doubts Adnan had anything to do with it.
You need to watch ‘Murder on a Sunday morning’ and ‘the staircase’ both documentaries you can watch on YouTube. The most compelling documentary movie to watch is ‘west of memphis’ story of the west Memphis 3.
West Of Memphis and Murder on a Sunday morning both show how corrupt the prosecution can be. Staircase part 2 also shows this to a lesser degree.
I can’t believe how corrupt the prosecution can be to just ‘get their cases won’ – they often couldn’t care less about justice, they just do what they can to win their cases. Horrifying.
Also, if anyone remembers the case of Troy Davis, a likely innocent man accused, convicted, and executed on the testimony of another man whom many believed to be the actual shooter. See http://www.naacp.org/pages/troy-davis-a-case-for-clemency
Then there is the case of Richard Rosario:
Is there any other confirmation of Don being at work that day … other than the manager… his mother??
“would you say that Adan might be the right person in jail for the wrong reasons?”
Isn’t that hugely worrying though? When is it right to put the right person in jail for the wrong reasons ie there is not enough evidence against them.
You know they’ve done it but evidence has been ruled inadmissible like wrongly obtained DNA evidence?
They didn’t do this crime but they got away with another similar crime?
You have a gut feeling this person is guilty?
You’ve never trusted this kind of person (Muslim/Black/Gay/Women/Bald people/Whoever)
I’d rather the line was drawn very high – get the right person for the right reasons because anything else is even more open to human error and, unfortunately, abuse of power.
You’re lost in the woods.
If Adnan’s latest appeal fails, would it be possible for him to bring some sort of civil suit against Jay and the police (maybe defamation)? Or does his conviction make that impossible?
You can’t be sued for testifying against someone, and you can only be sued for libel if what you’re saying isn’t true. Adnan’s conviction would prevent him from being able to claim that Jay is lying about him murdring Hae, because legally you can’t claim you didn’t do something you’ve been convicted of doing.
Uh, wrong. There is no prohibition against maintaining your innocence when you’ve been wrongfully convicted. You may not seem very credible, particularly if you’ve been convicted, but what do you think appeals are for?
What I’m saying is that Adnan can’t sue Jay for defamation for saying Adnan killed Hae, because in law, right now, Adnan killed Hae. (I say “in law” knowing that in actual fact, Adnan may be innocent.) Jay would just point to the conviction and say “Adnan’s been convicted, so he can’t claim in this courtroom that he didn’t kill her.” One court will not say that another court’s verdict or finding of fact is wrong, except in the context of an appeal. Adnan can of course claim he is innocent, and no one can sue him for that, but he can’t sue Jay for defamation for saying Adnan is guilty. This is the legal principle of “issue estoppel”, sometimes characterized as “abuse of process.” You also can’t sue someone for what they say on the witness stand.
It is my understanding that prosecutors are immune to civil litigation arising from their trial or pre-trial conduct, even if misconduct can be proven. E.g. in this case, there was clearly misconduct when Urick arranged for a free attorney for Jay in exchange for his testimony. And CG caught on to that when she went apoplectic (SERIAL Ep. 10) But the judge ruled the misconduct was not prejudicial to Adnan, and in Sarah’s words, “that was that”. Why she would rule that is beyond me.
I also do not believe anybody can sue Jay on Adnan’s behalf. The state could charge him with perjury, but somehow I doubt they will.
The prosecutor can lose their law license if they acted unethically. The state can be held liable in civil litigation.
With regard to Jay, theoretically if Adnan could prove he lied there could be civil claims, but it is hard to prove malicious prosecution based on false testimony. Anyways, Jay likely has no real assets, so better off going after the state…
The prosecutor, Kevin Urick, has left the State Attorney’s office in 2005. He’s maintaining a small private practice focusing on civil law. Wisely, I think.
Going out on a limb here, but I won’t be surprised if he’s the one harassing Susan about this blog. His reputation is now in tatters.
I think you overstate the important of people sounding off on the internet. His reputation is in tatters for a relatively small number of podcast listeners and redit/twitter users spread all over the world. For the vast, vast majority of people who might use his practice he’s a ex-prosecutor with a decent record of success.
If the conviction is overturned then perhaps he’ll have a repetitional problem, but again I’d be surprised if it is a major problem unless there is substantive criticism of his behaviour by the court of the state bar.
Well, someone *did* contact Susan’s superiors at her law firm and complained about her “professionalism” with regards to her blog. Could have been Urick’s people. Or CG’s people. I doubt they were Jay’s people.
Doesn’t Jay remind you of John Lovitt from Saturday Night Live you’re just waiting for him to say “yeah that’s the ticket”.
Thank you for introducing me to this sketch.
LOL Susan, you are showing your youth. We used to mimic that sketch in recounting witness’ unbelievable testimony… Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket…
Prosecution thought process:
1. Boyfriend usually does it
2. Jay will testify that boyfriend planned it, did it, and asked for help w/burial
3. Jay is full of shit, but we can make his story work if we try
4. Muslim background for boyfriend makes story stronger
The end. We don’t know who killed that girl. We do know that whatever happened isn’t close to what the state of MD alleged.
I feel like this is the case for a vast majority of cases. They are only after convictions. These people should really do things the right way.
Great Job once again Susan! Just wondering if you have been passing all of these things you post on your blog to the Innocence Project team. I’m sure a lot of it would be really helpful!
Does this happen in all trials? Or is this one special? That’s something else.
Put me down as another interested in the broken turn signal / windshield wiper control. I might have it wrong, but I think it might be just as damning.
I’m with you Brian!
They basically address this in the final episode of the podcast. SK poses the question, is this case out of the ordinary? If we looked at any murder case, would we find inconsistencies like this? She took it to Jim Trainum, the former detective – he said NO. While there is usually some ambiguity in cases, they’re usually pretty clear. This case is a mess, he said.
To give you an example, I was on a jury in a first degree murder trial where the only solid evidence came from DNA analysis. Basically, the suspect’s blood was found where it should not have been under normal circumstances. We convicted him of second degree murder – could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was first degree – and it took us 2.5 days of deliberation. Not two hours.
DNA-only has its problems too.
Yah. This is all off-topic, surely. I agree DNA evidence could be faulty sometimes; I believe rather rarely. There were significant differences with your Melbourne case, though: the accused was not some random stranger; his sample was not taken or analyzed consequently with the crime scene sample. We had expert testimony that evidence was processed properly (of course, no one would admit or even necessarily KNOW they might have made a mistake).
The question I gotta ask is, how REASONABLE is it to consider that DNA evidence could be contaminated/faulty in every case? If there are no other weird circumstances, I’d argue, not very. Unless I am on OJ’s defense team.
ETA, there was some other evidence too, though all rather circumstantial. I do consider DNA evidence rather strong, as long as it’s not been contaminated or tampered with.
Trust me, I have not made that decision lightly. In fact, it haunts me to this day.
I think we all assumed Jay was coached a bit, but boy is it crazy to see stuff like this right in front of your face. Also, unlike many people, I am ALL ABOUT the speculation, because honestly with the lack of evidence in this case, that’s all anyone can do. I mean, that’s pretty much what the state did at trial… lie and speculate.
I was wondering if you can expand a little bit on your third party theory (without naming names of course) that you spoke about on the Arms Control Wonk Podcast. I for one, have always thought that there was a third party who did this (just had not idea who), that Jay was substituting with Adnan’s name in his stories. After all, It is easier to tell lies that have some basis in the truth. Especially all the crazy little details that Jay loved to throw in there.
Anyway, I understand if you don’t want to write an entire blog post based on your speculation because that’s not really what you do, BUT i would love to hear more about your speculation because you are extremely knowledgeable on the subject, so it would be great if you could respond to me with whatever you feel comfortable saying.
That was a such an interesting interview! I also appreciate all your hard work SS!
It would be interesting to see a line drawn on the pinging towers map to show the possible/most likely journey of the mobile phone that night along with a colour code for calls made to people jay or adnan likely called based on the phone logs, i.e. Showing who was with the phone on its journey and at what time.
Have anybody done that yet?
Sent from my iPhone
Several people have done that, I think there’s even a time lapse version I saw on reddit. The problem is that there are large gaps in time when there’s no phone call, and there’s been a ton of debate about exact tower coverage range.
Susan, of course Jay’s ever-changing story is not credible, and it’s obvious he was coached, but:
If AT&T memo says that tower pings on incoming calls are NOT reliable for location info, why are we trying to locate these calls at all? The phone could have been anywhere in the general vicinity. Am I missing something here?
No one can prove where the phone was at the time any call was made, because the cell towers were all clustered too close together to reliably differentiate between them. So Adnan’s case can’t be made based on the cell records, because they aren’t reliable evidence that anyone would ever accept in his defense (even though it was precisely what was used to convict him).
But what can be proven is that the state’s case was based on “evidence” sufficient to make the due process clause run away screaming in horror.
I thought the state’s case was that while the cell phone records could not *prove* Jay’s statements, they at least *corroborated* that Adnan’s cell phone *could* have been in Leakin Park at the time Jay claimed. They bolstered his story. But this is horribly misleading. I’m sure that the jury thought the cell records meant a lot more than they do.
As for the rest of the day, the state didn’t care much. They’d claim that it was not material to the crime.
As explained by the prosecutor in a recent interview, this was the state’s case:
And that’s why this case is so sickening. “When you put together cellphone records and Jay’s testimony.” That is, very literally, what occurred here. The investigators put together the cellphone records and Jay’s testimony, and made sure they fit together in a way to show Adnan was guilty.
But it was all a house of cards. This was never two pieces of independent evidence being compared side-by-side and giving the same result. It was two pieces of play-doh being mushed together and food dye being added in until it made the color the investigators wanted.
Heck, *I* was thinking cell phone records were proof of something when I started reading Susan’s blog. And then we get nuggets like the AT&T memo; Jay happily changing his story to match even demonstrably incorrect cell phone data (but being steadfast about staying at Jenn’s until 3:30 – 3:40… hmm); and then the judge musing if it should carry any weight at all.
What a perversion of justice.
I was thinking the cellphone records were proof of something when I started blogging about Serial.
And then like two months later, it suddenly occurred to me. The reason none of this made any sense was because it was all made up in the first place.
The cell phone records are even more interesting if even an iota of Jay’s interview with Intercept were considered truthful.
The cell phone records still have utility, albeit lessened. The antenna direction still pertains. I’ve seen seemingly knowledgeable comments saying that the arc for a particular antenna should be considered as 140 degrees (to allow for the overlap that would be provided for pass-off), and another comment that the arc should be theoretically considered as 180 degrees to allow for the fine tuning that may have been done to adjust for topography and the built environment. This is all to be considered absent actual testing, which couldn’t be done today.
But can they tell from the Call Data Records? Someone responded on a prior post of yours that AT&T had available at the time two different records: Billing statement (prosecution used) and Call Data Record, which showed the phone number the call was coming from (for incoming calls). AT&T has to have that information to rightly bill someone for the call. The prosecution used the billing statement. What the poster did not know is whether or not Call Data Records were available to be release due to privacy laws at that time.
I want to see the Call Data Records. 🙂
Also, the prosecutor states that the 2:38 call was from a payphone. How does he know this if he doesn’t have the Call Data Records? Because of Jay’s story?
Yup. And that is based on pure speculation because it does NOT match up with any version of Jay’s story. Instead they shoehorned “that must have been the call from Adnan” into the phone records (as an incoming call) because it is actually inconsistent with what Jay said (i.e. that Adnan called him around 3:30-3:45).
When I first started reading the post I was thinking the same thing as you, however I then realized that Susan isn’t trying to show or figure out where Jay really was, the only point of the post is to show that the reason for his changing story in this instance is that the police and then the prosecuter coached him to change it.
Of course we all assumed that’s what happened, but this post show’s us that’s what most likely, definitely happened. And it leads us to ask more questions like “okay so if the police coached him on that aspect of the story, what other parts of the story were greatly influenced by the police?” Or “Did Jay even really know where the car was? Or did the police already know, and then decide to drag Jay in the car with them and lead him to the car in a way that seemed like he led them?”
Also, I’m pretty sure proof of witness tampering, especially in a case where the witness is the entire prosecutions case, can be cause for an appeal.
I hope IP and Adnan’s lawyers will include Susan’s work as evidence.
I dunno what you’re missing, Anonymous, but this here is some hard evidence that nobody from the State cared one bit about what was true and what was false in this case.
Pete, you just made a general statement in response to my specific question. It’s not helpful.
I do realize that prosecution’s way of twisting cell phone data and witness testimony to match their case borders on misconduct (or actually WAS misconduct). What I’m saying is why bother with cell phone records at all, if they hardly prove anything other that the phone was in the West Baltimore area? Susan answered it for me, thank you.
Mind. Blown. (That was a legal comment, of course.) That is fabulous analysis. Not surprised that no one previously figured it out.
Thanks for keeping going with this. It’s fascinating.
Many who have made up their minds about innocence or guilt, will still insist Jay’s testimony is sufficiently persuasive to overcome any reasonable doubt.
I think it needs to be said again and again: if the cell phones are the foundation of the story, they can’t simultaneously corroborate the story. Corroboration doesn’t mean that two pieces of evidence work together, but that one independently confirms elements of the other.
He could still be essentially truthful, or not, but you’d need something else. Jay and the cell phone log aren’t two pieces of evidence – they’re essentially one.
I can forgive the jury for crediting Jay, because they watched him stand up to Gutierrez for five days, and come out still awake and unshell-shocked. That is going to make a huge impression — if not necessarily one that is valid. But I still struggle to understand how those who never even had the chance to observe Jay somehow think they have the magical ability to divine his credibility, even in the absence of any kind of proof that he wasn’t lying his ass off.
Jay could be telling the truth — probably, or definitely, is telling the truth about many aspects of the case, with the details changed — but we no longer have the ability to determine what he is and is not telling the truth about, because every path that could have been used to track that down was thoroughly destroyed 16 years ago. The State of Maryland conducted an investigation that left us, in many respects, with less information than we’d started with.
working in pathology, I cannot get over the fact that the samples under Hai’s nails were never tested. She was a strong girl and unless she was knocked out cold (which would show a blunt force trauma to head), she would have fought back. She would claw at the hands of her assailant and absolutely would have taken some samples with her. Is there a full autopsy report that can be read?
There *is* evidence of blunt-force trauma to her head — bruises on the back of her head and the right side of her head. But there is also evidence that she fought back — the broken turn signal.
Ultimately though, I’m with you: It’s inexcusable that they didn’t test those samples. It’s a murder case. They’re trying to lock someone up for life. They better damn well get it right.
Do you think there is any chance those nail clippings will have some DNA?
Good point. Maybe this is where Jay’s focus on the “red gloves” comes from. As with all other aspects of his story, there is a grain of truth with details changed to protect him/implicate Adnan. So why does he tell the cops Adnan was wearing red gloves at Best Buy when he came to pick him up, and also that Adnan was wearing them (and they argued about them) in the version where the trunk pop happened on Edmondson Ave? Maybe because he was wearing Adnan’s red gloves (left in his car) when he strangled Hae and she clawed at his hands while struggling. He expected fibers from the red gloves to show up under her fingernails and had to pin the wearing of the red gloves of Adnan.
According to Jenn, Jay disposed of a red jacket the night of the 13th when he disposed of his boots. The “red gloves” always seemed like a misdirect just in case any red fibers were found on the body or at the burial site.
If you listen to the juror interviewed she believed Jay because he was willing to go to jail for his part in the order. She seemed very shocked that Jay did not go to jail, which makes me wonder if the jurors would have found Adnan guilty if they know that Jay cut a deal and was not going to serve any time.
The juror also didn’t realize that Jay didn’t go out of his way to tell the police anything until he was forced to because of his calls to Jenn from Adnan’s cell and that Adnan doesn’t even really know her. Jay was dragged into it and did what most people would have at least considered doing, true or not…he pinned it on the other guy. A lot of people who think Adnan must have done it because Jay “risked everything” to bring Hae’s killer to justice need to look at the timeline of events.
Thank you so much for taking the time Susan. Your notes are wonderful and make the law accessible to us all.
Again, incredibly insightful analysis and a significant finding.
Susan, you’re amazing.
Great work Susan!
Breaks my heart. There can be No other explanation but the error for that weird lie. Susan, can any of this help DNAN?
WoW! Susan! You’ve been on fire lately. First of all, where did you get that hand written note from Rittz? I don think SK ever saw that one. It is very revealing note. It puts Urick’s favorite line into whole new light. And the line is, “jay’s story corroborates the cell records and the cell records corroborate jay’s story”.
Is there any chance Urick could be disbarred for all this?
Absent a smoking gun of him actually asking Jay to perjure himself (which I don’t believe happened) I can’t see this reaching that kind of bar.
The coaching seems mainly to have been by the police and was probably in many ways unconscious rather than deliberate (e.g. “you said X, the cell says Y, why don’t you just come clean and say you were at Y?” the police might see that as challenging the testimony rather than coaching even though it achieves the same outcome).
Wow…great work Susan, if only Adnan had had someone like you around, instead of CG.
(who sounded quite insane when heard on the podcast Serial.)
Unreal, Susan, can you please address this on behalf of CG?
Susan, one element missing from your scenario is when did LE interview Cathy for the first time? Do you have this information?
My notes say March 9th, but I don’t remember where that’s from. I think that’s right though.
So assuming March 9, why would LE coach jay to say he’s somewhere they know he couldn’t possibly have been? Cathy would have already told them she didn’t get home until after 5 and didn’t see jay until around 6.
Jenn Interview: We were supposed to go to Cathy’s house at 7pm, but something happened and then instead I met Jay later to do some murder cover-upping. After that, we go to my friend Cathy’s house.
Jay Interview 1: I went to 5,000 locations in western Baltimore, but none of them were near UMBC.
Interlude, police receive map allowing them to visualize exactly where all the cell towers addresses are plotted out: Hey, isn’t it odd that we’ve got a bunch of pings coming from near UMBC? Like these 4:27 and 4:58 pings, what is up with that?
Cathy Statement: Yeah, Jay and Adnan came over to my place that afternoon.
Police, in reflection on the new evidence: My god, L654 is right next to Cathy’s house! That’s where the phone was!
Police to Jay, pre-interview of Interview 2: We have rock solid proof you were at Cathy’s from 4:27 to 4:58 that afternoon. Rock solid proof. What do you mean ‘you went to your house after dropping Adnan off at track’? We know you’re the one lying to us, because the cellphone records don’t lie! So tell us where you were.
Jay Interview 2: I, I think I may have, may have gone yeah, I went to Cathy and Jeff’s.
So you’re saying that Cathy didn’t give LE a timeframe as to when she got home and when she saw Jay that day but only said, “yeah, they came over to my house that afternoon”? Do you have Cathy’s interview with LE to confirm that?
It doesn’t make sense that LE would tell Jay to lie and say he was somewhere that was “demonstrably false” (your words).
But that’s the thing: they had proof Cathy was wrong about when Jay was at her house. The cellphone records show, in black and white, that Jay was down right next to Cathy’s house at 4:27 and 4:58 pm!
In addition, kt, I think the detectives know that people are often at least a little off about times, especially weeks later in recalling events. When they had Cathy saying Jay had been at her place that day, and the cell phone records in black and white, then they had what they needed. It would be easy to just assume she didn’t remember coming home from work a little early that day.
I also recall reading somewhere that Jay tried to explain this by saying Cathy may not have been home yet when he was first there, and that he might have just been with her boyfriend hanging out. In any event, if the police didn’t believe Jay every single time a witness didn’t perfectly corroborate a part of one of his stories, they literally wouldn’t be able to account for 90% of his day.
Amazing work Susan. I really admire your eye for detail, your logical reasoning and impeccable intelligence. I just hope the truth emerges and justice is done so everybody can get closure from this. If Adnan indeed is innocent he does not deserve to rot in jail. If Jay is lying then the truth will come out at some point and maybe now is the time. Kudos to you and team and keep up the good work.
given Susan’s digging, I am surprised NPR News or, say, Wash Post hasn’t picked this story up (given Serial’s popularity) and started their own investigation of Urick.
Don’t worry – at least it is in the able and unbiased hands of Natasha Vargas Cooper.
This post just made my day! Thank you.
Mine as well.
Crab crib. 😦 😦 😦
It’s very telling when you read Jay’s (and Jenn’s) statements, that they contain so many of the speech patterns and phrases we know to represent lying. I was going through cases on this site and found Jay and Jenn’s statements show these things consistently. It bugged me that their statements are so difficult to read: sentences are unfinished or change mid-sentence, they say “I think” or “maybe”, they change from past tense to current tense, etc.
Doesn’t Adnan do the same thing?
Give me a link to Adnan’s statement and I will tell you.
Sorry, incomplete log in. That was me.
I don’t have a statement from Adnan to review. Do you?
Listen to him on the podcast, for starters.
This is to AJG below – for some reason I can’t reply to your comment.
That’s not a statement.
Now I cannot reply to you. The podcast is a media q&a, which was in many cases what is being analyzed on the website you posted a link to- which I found fascinating. Also, even before reading it, I was trying to recall if Adnan ever said to Sarah that he didn’t kill Hae- point blank.
AJG, in answer to your question, Adnan says several times that he had nothing to do with Hae’s murder – check out episodes 1/7/9/10/11. Sarah Koenig says many times that he has consistently maintained his innocence even though that hurts his chances of ever being released. Has he ever said the exact phrase “I never killed Hae” to a specific person, Sarah Koenig? Who cares? It seems like she never asked because it’s very clear that he maintains his innocence or for the same reason she never thought it worth broadcasting. He has certainly never avoided the question based on what was broadcast. From my perspective it is a weird and irrelevant thing that people like to focus on.
As a general aside and not aimed at AJG, just brought to mind by their question, I think that Adnan never saying directly that he did not kill Hae is one of the urban myths that has developed with this story, along with the “I will kill” note and that Adnan has no alibis.
It’s strange to me that people can be so certain of other people’s guilt or innocence and yet they, themselves, can’t even remember the evidence accurately.
I’m replying to Sue. I am not certain of anyone’s guilt or innocence (and thou doth protest too much in that regard – I don’t think that was said or implied). I found jonalisa’s insight and link on the use of language compelling and wondered how it should apply in this case. Her note was with respect to Jay, who we already know was at best speaking of things that he could not recall clearly and at worst being deliberately dishonest. I would be more interested in what she has to say about Adnan.
Anyway, for the record, Adnan does say he did not kill Hae, this from the Baltimore Sun story reporting the verdict: ” ‘I’ll be all right,” he said as sheriffs’ deputies put handcuffs on him. “I have faith in the Lord. I know I didn’t kill her. The Lord knows I didn’t kill her.’ “
Susan you are immensely talented. I hope your abilities are well and nobly utilized in your corporate law career, and if not, that you seriously consider switching.
I don’t see an option to reply to your response so I’ll start anew. How do you know Cathy was “wrong”? Do you have her LE interview to confirm that. Cathy seems pretty sure about what time she got home from work and what time she saw Jay that day in everything we’ve read and heard from her.
As Susan explained in the post, the police initially read the phone records wrong and concluded that Jay had to be at Cathy’s because that is where the (incorrectly understood) cell pings showed the phone; thus Cathy had to be wrong about the time. However, they later figured out that Cathy wasn’t wrong when they got around to correctly reading the cell phone tower pings, at which point Jay changed his story to match Cathy’s timeline and the newly understood cell phone pings.
She was being SARCASTIC when she stated:
But that’s the thing: they had proof Cathy was wrong about when Jay was at her house. The cellphone records show, in black and white, that Jay was down right next to Cathy’s house at 4:27 and 4:58 pm!
Once the cellphone records were re-interpreted, the police switched their story/Jay’s story since they had proof that Cathy was RIGHT about the timeline.
LE could also see that the cell records confirmed Cathy’s timeline when they looked at the 6:07, 6:09 and 6:24 pings, but I guess getting Jay to change his testimony about what is actually an insignificant detail, (where he was when Adnan called to be picked up from track) trumped all that and of course LE would have had to now go back and “coach” Cathy’s story as well. Right.
I responded above, but I’ll do a version again here. First, I think you are intentionally misreading the situation. The detectives didn’t need to coach Cathy. They knew Jay had been to her place, and here was a cell tower ping that put him there earlier than she said, and so they could easily assume she was an hour off about when she got home. It’s easy to credit a witness with being accurate about a general event like someone coming over, and we don’t expect people to be perfect timekeepers. If they’d have demanded to see her time card or log out time from her work that day, then they would have known. But they didn’t. They didn’t look for any evidence that would discredit Jay. They simply had to get Jay’s testimony to roughly match what they thought the phone record showed.
I also recall reading somewhere that Jay tried to explain this wrinkle in his story by saying that Cathy may not have been home yet when he went to her place, and that he might have just been with her boyfriend hanging out. Does anyone else remember seeing that in one of the versions of his story?
An excuse like this would preserve the mistaken timeline and Cathy’s testimony. I know he also at one point claimed he told the boyfriend about the murder, and I couldn’t see where the police had bothered to follow that up or confirm it. Remember, everyone the police are interviewing are admitting to being stoned, and they’re interviewing them weeks after the events. There’s no way the police would be rattled by a discrepancy of an hour in Cathy’s timeline as it related to Jay’s story.
If the police didn’t believe Jay every single time a witness didn’t perfectly corroborate a part of one of his stories, they literally wouldn’t be able to account for 90% of his day. They would have had no case.
Sorry for repeating a lot of what I wrote above.
I appreciate your effort but I don’t know if you do it for page hits or whatever but the title to this blog post is not fair. How is this “evidence”, isn’t this just a theory of yours? Based on the totality of your blog posts, are you saying cell phone data is reliable, are you saying it is never reliable or are you saying it is reliable when it fits your narrative?
As a lawyer, I think you should take the time to put together a post defending CG – I am not sure if you have already done so but if this post exists, you should link to that post on every one of your posts. It is not fair that so many people in your comments and Reddit come to the conclusion that you would have done such a better job defending Adnan and that if you were Adnan’s lawyer’s you would have gotten him off. You as a lawyer, know how ignorant that is and you should address that. You are putting together blog posts for an audience that inherently will agree with anything acquitting Adnan, you are not before a judge or jury, you have no one to counter your theories and a lot of what you are saying may or may not be admissible, you don’t know at this time if you would have had access to the same knowledge we have today about cell phones, etc. It is not fair that you pick apart CG’s case in retrospect without ensuring your audience understands what you are doing. And the worst part is that CG is dead and cannot defend herself against all of these assertions of your greatness and her failings. So you should do it for her and provide a link to that caveat before beginning each blog post.
You clearly have spent a lot of time on this and it is appreciated, especially because you have a full time job as well but I think the way your posts are being taken as gospel is dangerous to both the case and to CG.
You do know that CG was disbarred for being corrupt, right? And she’s dead, so there’s that.
Can you provide me evidence that CG was disbarred for anything relating to the Adnan trial?
Kat never claimed CG was disbarred for anything related to the Sayed trial. CG was disbarred after over 20 separate complaints of misconduct were filed with the bar.
Would you settle for just proof that she didn’t do her job properly, as befitting a lawyer with her reputation? She was after all hired because she was “the best,” she wasn’t cheap, and Adnan’s family wasn’t rich. But she didn’t even seem to meet minimum standards. You can start here if you want to see alawyer’s take on how well CG did her job, but Susan certainly isn’t responsible for other people’s opinions on Reddit. She’s too busy doing actual work on the case. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2015/01/ive-posted-28-entriessarah-koenigsserial-podcast-which-deals-withthe-1999-prosecution-of-17-year-old-adnan-syed-for-murderin-1.html
I don’t think Susan ever said she’d do a better job defending Adnan than CG, or indeed wanted to defend Adnan – You are saying yourself it’s “people in your comments and Reddit” who have come to this conclusion. Why should Susan apologize for other people’s opinions?
Susan is merely parsing available evidence, mostly cell phone records which CG clearly overlooked / did not understand / did not consider important enough to argue in court.
Why is Susan responsible for what the clowns on Reddit are saying? Why should she speak for a lying, stealing, disbarred attorney (especially when the content of this post has nothing to do with her?)?
Fair? Fair to who?
The evidence is the detective’s handwritten notes, and the internal map that was created at the request of that detective, and showed the tower in the wrong place. I think by any standards of the word ‘evidence,’ this applies.
I’m unclear on your transition to focusing on CG being somehow maligned. Was she even mentioned in this post? This new evidence makes the detectives and the prosecutor look bad. Are you confusing the author of this blog with the commenters on the blog? How is this post “dangerous to both the case and to CG”???
The condescending tone of your post is offensive. Like we are all little kids who can’t think for themselves.
All Susan’s points are backed up with evidence. It is very convincing.
In my book a post signed with Anonymous has no credibility. You could be anybody. You could be Urick and/or you could be the one who e-mailed Susan’s firm to complain about her. If you are brave enough to accuse Susan, at least be brave enough to use your real name.
…as for your question about the cell records: the police assume they are ironclad evidence to the point where they pit pressure on Jay to change his story to fit them. The evidence is, ahem, evident, because as luck would have it an error was made in the location of a tower which explains why Jay changed part of his story to a version that once they figure out their mistake with the cell tower location they abandon that version of events. Unlike the police who try to fit the evidence to the story they have in their heads, Susan is taking the evidence (a really weird previously unexplained change in Jays story) and trying to find the story behind it, and she found it. It’s kind of a big deal actually.
Would you mind showing us what the address/location on this list says for L689? Great find!
Just edited to link to the pdf.
Great, thank you!
At the end where you say Jay changed his story, you cite only to the cellphone expert’s testimony. Did Jay himself say during the second trial that he was at home for those two calls during the time he’d previously said he was at Cathy’s (before which he originally said he was at home)? Or was it only the cellphone expert who said that?
Second part of Intercept’s interview with Urick has been released.
Was the map definitely a response from “The Engineer”? It just seems to me that the cops could have easily drawn that up themselves with the address info they had. The wording of the note suggests they were looking to get something more substantial than marking cell tower locations on a map.
Do you know how a teacher can tell definitively that 2 people have cheated off each other in a test? It is when both people arrive at the same ridiculously wrong answer.
That is what you have proven here. Jay arrived at the same wrong answer as the police, because he was essentially copying then (fine-tuning his story to their cell-phone records).
To me this is definitive. When you go over the fact that Jay continuously changes his story, you get he sense that he may just be coached by the police so that they can get a conviction (which is, by the way, a career boost for detectives). But when you find that the police have made a mistake which is immediately reflected in Jay’s story, and then they realize their mistake which is again quickly adjusted in Jay’s story, you have PROVEN BEYOND ANY DOUBT that the police had coached their witness to tell that story).
This is EXACTLY it:
Do you know how a teacher can tell definitively that 2 people have cheated off each other in a test? It is when both people arrive at the same ridiculously wrong answer.
That is what you have proven here. Jay arrived at the same wrong answer as the police, because he was essentially copying then (fine-tuning his story to their cell-phone records).
Thanks for the analogy — very clarifying.
You all probably already know this but Ritz was involved in another wrongful conviction where a man spent 10 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, thanks in part to Ritz. Ritz eventually left Baltimore “under a cloud”.
To be honest, he makes me sick. Every time I read Jay’s interviews my blood boils.
The devil really is in the detail! Amazing work and much appreciated.
I think this is insightful but very incomplete analysis, and it’s confusing as to the sourcing / consistency of some of the references between 1st/2nd Jay interview and 1st /2nd trial, esp. since the “engineer” map doesn’t seem to be dated (tho I might’ve missed it). Honestly, it also bugs me that you’re relying on 2nd trial transcripts that aren’t now fully publicly available (to my knowledge) to bolster your point. Did the expert at the 1st trial have an incorrect map? Or was it corrected before the 1st trial? Was Jay cross-examined on this particular inconsistency in the 2nd trial? To me, this looks like somewhat typical stuff, a witness changing statement based on “objective” evidence shoved in face during police interview, but yes, could possibly result in improper coaching pressure. But not really a crucial “ping” moment in the timeline, either, at least in terms of the murder or burial, so not sure it matters if a reasonable juror could’ve found (legal standard) that Jay was credible on who killed Hae, how, and where they put her body & car. For that, IMO there’s definitely enough just from the broad outline of Jay’s testimony plus pings, and all the inconsistencies tend to raise the burden of proof for the state above what they needed to do and is far below what Adnan needs on an appeal. But I do think this is a very thought-provoking post and an interesting find.
“To me, this looks like somewhat typical stuff, a witness changing statement based on “objective” evidence shoved in face during police interview”
Again, the prosecution’s case was “The witness corroborated the phone data, and the phone data corroborated the witness. One without the other is nothing, but together they tell a complete story.” So when faulty data leads the witness to testify, under oath, to something that is clearly false, and then to change the testimony when the data is corrected, there is no corroboration. End of case.
No, not end of case. Are you a lawyer? Jury typically decides credibility after cross-examination of inconsistencies. Jay’s testimony was already inconsistent with the state’s case, so this moment doesn’t really add much to that. Outcome is likely the same, UNLESS there’s evidence of coaching and coercion. SS is basically claiming that’s what this is, and this post is a (highly speculative) first step to showing it. Unfortunately, with an incomplete record and the loose way she’s presenting this info it’s very incomplete and ultimately unconvincing to me.
I mean “inconsistent” on certain details but largely corroborative on key facts (who killed Hae, how, when, what happened to car/body). That’s fairly typical in a crim trial and exactly what the role of a jury is. All of SS’ analysis here is worth reading and thinking about, but has very little impact on affecting appeal unless you can point to applicable precedent setting aside jury verdict in similar circumstances.
How do you know how the juror processes the information at trial? There is a standard that they MUST follow or else something happens? How do you know the jurors are all of equal critical thinking ability or that they were given complete information? In one of the juror interviews in the podcast, the juror was surprised to find out that Jay did not need to serve any jail time.
The point is that the cellphone records should not be seen as something that corroborates Jay’s testimony because his testimony was influenced by it. Even without this blog post, in one of the police interview recordings, the cellphone records are referenced during questioning. At trial, it seems the two pieces of evidence were presented as if they were independently corroborating each other. This was as stated by the prosecutor himself, the basis of their case.
Right. And the jury believed it. I’m just stating an uncontrocersial fact about law. Courts respect jury verdicts. There’s 2nd guessing in any trial. The fact that a blog post, no matter how great, attacks evidence of inconsistencies 15 yrs later when they were examined at trial means nothing for appeal. Otherwise trials would be endlessly open-ended. Adnan needs to show violation of Constitutional right in a way that couldn’t have been raised until now, based on new evidence unavailable or suppressed. I don’t see it.
Thanks above for your thoughts above on my first post. I take the well made points made. But I still suspect that there is something driving the police and the prosecution above and beyond the need to convict. By any standard, they are taking a ridiculous number of unnecessary protracted professional, legal and evidentiary risks in their pursuit of Adnam – many of which they are only too well aware of as Susan has so ably demonstrated. Remember, they don’t yet know Guitierrez is going to misfire so badly. And they have to assume that their tissue is going to be stretched if not torn by anyone with even a modicum of tenacity. Worse – they’re going to be implicated if it is shredded. Additionally, (in real time), they have to be more than anxious that Adnam is going to spring alibis on them from all over the place. They don’t know who saw him where on that very public day. And (ahead of trial) they certainly cannot be hoping that a man they are going to falsely accuse of murder is going to be so helpfully vague about the day! Fingers crossed everyone that he can’t remember where he was while we get our ‘star’ witness to explain about the two cars and the trunk pops and the shovels!
Again: to fit something up as contorted as this (as you go along rather than with hindsight) is insanely risky and almost vanishingly difficult to pull off and thus unlikely for ninety-nine point nine per cent of police and prosecutions, no matter what the pressure. In cases where the crime is isolated, maybe – if the state is inattentive or lazy or feeling major national urgency. (Still much rarer than people think). But in cases where there are hundreds of potential witnesses (at the track, mosque, library, school, parking lots, malls, houses) and dozens of potential alibis and phone records and several circumstantial points either way and a very very flaky ‘star’ witness and inumerable obvious and practical problems with the story, it just doesn’t happen. Ultimately, even if you ascribe pressure and/or business and/or laziness and/or wilfull wrong-headedness to police and State and prosecution, they do not need to take that kind of a bet. And it’s definitely not the ‘easy choice’.
I completely buy and admire Susan’s brilliant analysis. I am convinced of all her main points and the implications for Jay and Adam. But I remain baffled as to where the State’s meta-confidence is coming from because it’s certainly not coming from the details. Either I am wrong and it is pure pressure to get an ‘easy’ conviction – totally possible – or there is a very significant dimension to this case that we do not understand which is why it makes no more sense in big picture terms than it does in little.
Thank you! It’s nice to see some common sense here.
I think you are simply underestimating people’s tendency to jump to conclusions and overestimating people’s willingness to revise existing beliefs. The police had reasons to suspect Adnan, and were excessively quick in making the mental leap from suspecting him to believing he was guilty.
I believe that all of the State’s (police and prosecution) actions in this case are consistent with them truly believing they had the right guy and doing the hard work (in terms of building a case, but not in terms of critically reevaluating their own assumptions) to get the “right guy” in prison. I think that the evidence we have about the unfolding of the case is more than sufficient to support this theory, and that significant unknown dimensions are not necessary for understanding the State’s behavior.
Yes. Now this is common sense.
I completely agree with Elliot. In addition, realize that the prosecutor had many other cases (8 or 9 other cases that he had to be in court for in addition to Adnan’s trial, just on the first day of the second trial alone!). And the detective’s had many other cases. 1999 was a high water mark year for murder in Baltimore, which was one of the most dangerous cities in America. The unsolved murder rate was a national scandal. Watch ‘The Wire’ for a fictionalized version of life inside the Baltimore homicide department in those days. That show was written by a long-time Baltimore crime reporter, and based on scores of actual cases. The idea that this case is “more contorted” than 99.9% of cases prosecuted is, well, likely not true.
Reading your post, I imagine the detectives and prosecutor sitting around a conference table, drinking herbal tea, and musing about the state of their meta-confidence on this one case, and what kind of political and career risks they might be taking, and wondering if they should be more cautious. I don’t think it works that way. Read Urick’s recent interview for all you need to know about what made him confident they had the right guy.
“Welcome to the real world…” You would probably be surprised at how often this happens. Police and prosecutors love closed cases, and they love wins. And they take a lot of shortcuts, and take leaps to reach their conclusions.
Just to be clear before I sign off. I believe Susan is right on all the main legal points and I believe she is on the right path in terms of the implications for the case and the people involved. My misgivings follow on from her work. Given what Susan is exposing and explaining, what the hell was the State doing and why? Remember, they already knew much of what she has brought to light. (As well as everything else, she has even managed to prove that they are aware of the mess they’re in.) Why then are they taking these borderline-insane risks with the case, their reputations and Adnam himself? Where is their confidence coming from? I don’t know the answer, of course, and I’m open to persuasion; but it strikes me as a question we have to ask. And I wanted to air it here where there has been so much insightful and intelligent comment. That’s all from me!
I think you vastly overestimate the risks they were taking. Prosecutors and detectives are given very wide latitude in how they do their work. It’s exceedingly rare for a prosecutor or detective to have their reputation trashed for being over zealous (actually, it more likely their rep will suffer if they don’t get enough convictions, however they do it). I think they were confident Adnan was guilty, from the start, so I don’t think they considered the risk to him. And as for the risks to their case, I think at each stage each of these risks and discrepancies seemed small to them in the big picture. As I said above to the anonymous poster, if you want to know where the prosecution’s overreaching confidence came from, read Urick’s interviews on The Intercept website. He couldn’t be more clear about it.
Really for 15 years it did not loo0k like much od a risk did it?
Not sure if this has been asked or ever covered… How much effort did the prosecution put into verifying who made any of the incoming calls? IE buy checking Jens phone records to see that she actually did make the calls to the cell in the park? Or any of the other incoming calls that perhaps are identifiable?
Just a curious thought I had as listening to a few episodes this week.
This is really interesting information. However, while it looks bad for the police when we see how Jay’s testimony apparently changed, it seems to me that this PARTICULAR change doesn’t affect the actual case.
Jay originally says, truthfully apparently, that he went to his place. However when the police tell him the calls went through a tower near Cathy’s, and say in effect ‘Are you sure you’re not mistaken?’, Jay doesn’t want to ruin his chances of getting out of this thing and he changes his story. Ironically although it does look bad for the police, it may make Jay look better because he told the truth to begin with. Whether he got Adnan’s call at home or at Cathy’s has no bearing on the fundamentals of the case, does it? Or does it?
I’m not discounting any other confusing and contradictory aspects of Jay’s testimony, but I’m just not sure this particular change is all that significant. If the police were working with the wrong cell tower location, it’s understandable how a relatively insignificant aspect of Jay’s story might end up ‘mysteriously’ changing.
The point is not that this disproves the state’s case. The point is that it shows the police coached Jay to testify the way they thought they needed him to testify, and that he complied to the best of his ability.
I’m not sure this instance alone is irrefutable evidence of ‘coaching’ by the police. After all, where Jay was where Adnan called him from track practice probably doesn’t matter in terms of the critical questions of who killed Hae and when, and who buried her and when. Jay might have decided semi-independently to change his testimony on what seemed like a minor point once he was presented with the faulty cell tower evidence (Faulty Towers…), in order not to make things awkward for himself and the police. The police may have said something like ‘The call from track practice pinged the tower down here, near Cathy’s place – not the one near your house. Are you sure you didn’t go to Cathy’s after dropping Adnan off?’. And Jay says, ‘Oh yeah, maybe I did.’ Since that part of the timeline isn’t really critical, everyone just lets it go.
But I completely agree it injects more doubt into what already seems a flimsy prosecution case. And I would love to have been a fly on the wall when they were discussing the Patapsco State Park part of his initial statement.
That’s what witness coaching is!
Put a nail in the coffin – Susan has demonstrated proof of police misconduct in creating false testimony.
From blog post: More-details-about-jays-transcripts-than-you-could-possibly-need
“Things get worse in the second interview. The leading questions from the first interview were not particularly unreasonable, in themselves, but by the time the second interview comes around, the questions are no longer simply “leading.” The detectives are not just prompting Jay to give a specific answer — they are prompting Jay to change answers he has already given. There are numerous examples of this throughout the transcript: Jay will answer one of the detectives’ questions, but the detective will indicate dissatisfaction with Jay’s response — and Jay will respond by instantly reversing himself, giving a completely new answer to the question than he had before.
For example, while discussing the conversation Adnan and Jay supposedly had at Patapsco State Park, the following exchange occurs:
Detective: Did [Adnan] name any locations [where he could bury Hae’s body]?
Jay: None at all.
Detective: Um, he didn’t say, you know what about here you know, he didn’t name up a half dozen locations and you gave him thumbs up or thumbs down?
Jay: Um, I just nah he ah, said something to me ah, to the effect of the State Park, where we were, a little bit up the river, but I told him people walk up and down there. That was the only thing that. (Int.2 at 18-19.)
Note here how Jay gives a very direct answer to the detective’s question — “none at all.” But the detective immediately pushes back, asking, “Are you sure that this hypothetical conversation didn’t happen, where Adnan names places to bury Hae’s body and you gave approval or criticism to his ideas? Like, perhaps, did Adnan maybe suggest what about burying the body here?” And Jay stammers for a moment, begins to repeats his answer of “no,” and then suddenly changes his story to match the detective’s question, flipping his answer from “none at all,” to “ah, yes, actually, something exactly like you suggested did occur.”
And from – “Why Jay’s Testimony is Not Credible Evidence of Adnan’s Guilt”
“The state has itself acknowledged that Jay was the alpha and the omega of its case against Adnan. At trial, the prosecutor told the jury, “Let’s talk about Jay [ ] because, clearly, this case hinges on his testimony” (Brief of Appellant at 40). But while the prosecution then went on to continually assert, at every opportunity, that Jay was a “credible” witness (see below), there was simply no objective basis for believing that Jay was likely to tell the truth when he testified at Adnan’s trial.”
“So how does Jay stack up in terms of consistency? To hear the state tell it, Jay is a daggum straight-shooter who sticks by his word. During opening arguments, the prosecutor told the jury,
“The main plot points in Jay’s story have been consistent. He tells them that consistently, Jay ‘has always given the same story about what the defendant did where. Consistently, he tells Jennifer a consistent story, he tells police a consistent story about the defendant, he tells consistently the defendant’s involvement, the defendant’s actions on that day. He has never wavered on that point.’” (Episode 5.)”
What I found interesting in that interview is that Jay said (paraphrasing) that “they could dump her body there right then.” If Hae was in the trunk of her own car, and any of that statement is true, then he had Hae’s car and her body at Patapsco park.
I think this is smart investigative work, but I don’t understand what it amounts to. You seem to think it’s evidence of some kind of ill-intentioned “coaching.” The reality is that no one can perfectly recall all of the events of a day months earlier, particularly not down to the times of specific phone calls and visits throughout the day (not to mention a possibly bewildering day where one is stoned). So of course if there are cell records of that day, you’re going to look at the records when trying to reconstruct the day, and if you’re memories don’t match the cell records, you may think your memories are incorrect, and conform events to the records. And if those records later turn out incorrect, you might change your mind again about the events. This is not evidence of lying or police misconduct a miscarriage of justice, it’s just the logical way to figure out what happened on a certain day. If I were trying to fill in the blanks in an incomplete day of billing time, for example, I’d look at my e-mails, times I opened and saved documents, call records, etc. If I initially thought “I worked on that brief for two hours” but then I see that the document was opened at 4:30 pm and closed at 6pm, I’d “change my story” to 1.5 hours. And if it turned out that a glitch in the computer caused the time to be misrecorded, and I discovered that, I’d “change my story” again.
Two thoughts. If he initially remembers going home, but then changes the story to being at Cathy’s, that’s a lot different than misremembering the exact time something happened. You either remember an event or you don’t.
Second point – if you DON’T remember events precisely, especially where timeline is crucial in not just corroborating your story, but placing the accused into the story at key times and places, then I would think your testimony isn’t strong enough to be the ONLY evidence in a murder trial.
On your first point, if that’s the case, it actually makes him more credible, not less — he remembered right the first time, but then saw the (incorrect) records and honestly thought “oh, I must be remembering things wrong.” But he was right the first time.
On the second point, well, I’d have to rehash the entire case to get into this, but I think the phone records from Cathy’s house through Leakin Park up to the calls to Adnan’s friends from 9pm on are pretty strong support for Adnan being with his phone in the park. Remember he clearly has the phone for the 6:59 pm call to Yasser, then the Jenn page is a mere minute later. Then there are 7:09 and 7:16 pm calls from Leakin’ Park. Then Adnan is already calling his friends again at 9pm when he’s supposedly at mosque until 10/10:30. In any case, when the key points are backed up, other inconsistencies do not make testimony “not strong enough to be the ‘only’ evidence in a murder trial” (which, to be clear, it isn’t). If you don’t agree that the most important facts are backed up, I’m not going to convince you. But I don’t agree with your argument on principle.
The calls you reference as “7:09 and 7:16 pm calls from Leakin’ Park” were actually INCOMING calls to Adnan’s phone. And, as AT&T clearly stated in their FAX to Baltimore PD, location data for incoming calls is not reliable, in comparison with outgoing calls.
Exactly. The correct response would be “I don’t remember,” I don’t even think we got a “to the best of my recollection” out of Jay. I’m pretty sure everything he said in both trials was stated as absolute fact, no grey area. Ah, because grey area would lead to reasonable doubt!
Exactly! The correct response from Jay would be “I don’t remember.” Period.
I don’t even think we got a “to the best of my recollection” out of Jay. I’m pretty sure everything he said in both trials was stated as absolute fact, no grey area. Ah, because grey area would lead to reasonable doubt!
Well, that’s a fair point, I haven’t read all of the trial testimony, but perhaps Jay is testifying with certainty to things he is not actually certain about, and perhaps that’s a problem. I still have to pick on this argument though — one can feel “certain” about the way something happened by comparing memory with records and conforming them. “I think I went to x’s house some time between 3 and 5pm, I remember calling y from outside when I got there to see if they were home, the only call to y’s house is at 4:15pm, so I must have arrived around 4:15 pm.” That process doesn’t make the testimony non-credible. Even on the stand itself a document can be used to “refresh recollection.”
Usually when someone has been presented to refresh their recollection in court, you’ll get a “OK, yeah, that sounds about right” or “Yes, I agree the document shows that I was there at that time, so I will agree.” One of the main problems with that theory here is that all of this was done during interrogations. If the presenting of the phone records to Jay had been done in the court room, and the jury heard the wiggles, the dodging and weaving – I don’t think there’d be one juror who would feel uneasy about Jay’s recollection.
Additionally, Jay “recollects” really strange things. Just as a small example, in his first interview with police, he says that he knew what Hae’s car looked like because he knew her (had Biology class with her) and saw he driving her car to and from school. Now in the Intercept interview, he says there was no way he could know if Hae’s car was in the Best Buy parking lot because he had no idea what it looked like.
How do we refresh his memory on something like that???
Usually when someone has been presented with something to refresh their recollection in court, you’ll get a “OK, yeah, that sounds about right” or “Yes, I agree the document shows that I was there at that time, so I will agree.” One of the main problems with that theory here is that all of this was done during interrogations. If the presenting of the phone records to Jay had been done in the court room, and the jury saw him wiggling around uncomfortably, heard his dodging and weaving – I don’t think there’d be one juror who wouldn’t feel uneasy about Jay’s “recollection” – especially when a teenager’s life is on the line.
Additionally, Jay “recollects” really strange things. Just as a small example, in his first interview with police, he says that he knew what Hae’s car looked like because he knew her (had Biology class with her) and saw he driving her car to and from school. Now, in the Intercept interview, he says there was no way he could know if Hae’s car was in the Best Buy parking lot because he had no idea what it looked like.
How do we refresh his memory on something like that???
You not remembering whether your billing records are 30 minutes off is different from Jay not remembering his afternoon on the day he claims to have been shown a dead body in the trunk of a car. He doesn’t say he can’t be sure . . . he gives details that contradict one another.
There are 2 things going on that are troubling. 1 is that Jay is okay with saying he was someplace he clearly wasn’t if the police tell him he must have been there, and 2 is that the prosecutors are okay with basing a life sentence on the word of a witness who will oblige them in this way when they’re wrong.
But there’s also a difference between not remembering what time the trunk pop happened and not remembering whether Adnan committed the murder. My point was that it’s not about whether he’s ok saying he was someplace that the police “tell him” he was, but whether he’s looking at cell phone records and figuring out where he must have been at a certain time. “I remember going to Cathy’s, thought it was at x time, guess it must have been at y time because that’s when I made this call.” The question is whether those lapses in memory make his testimony non-credible. I believe that they do not necessarily make it non-credible.
It would have been nice if the jury had known about Jay’s multiple recollections/assertions of where the trunk pop occurred. Perhaps some would agree with your point that it’s not a big deal that he can’t remember where he first saw the dead, pretzel-shaped body of his classmate, but I expect a few jurors may have found that very odd and something very pertinent that would remember for the rest of your life. That’s why it’s such a shame the jury wasn’t able to decide for themselves and decide what a reasonable person in Jay’s situation would have done.
Did the Jury not know that? Wasn’t the defense given the opportunity to cross-examine him about it, including about inconsistencies from his prior statements to police? I don’t remember whether that specific point came up, but I definitely remember reading and hearing cross examination of Jay based on his prior statements.
What level of repeated, and admitted dishonest is necessary before Jay seem non-creditable to you. Where is your threshold. Is it the same for Jay as for Adnan? Please explain.
To be clear, I don’t mean to say that Jay is the world’s greatest or most reliable witness. There are many problems with his testimony and strange inconsistencies that are hard to explain under ANY theory (whether you think Adnan did it, Jay did it, or aliens did it). That said, the fact that he knew where the car and body were pretty much leaves three possibilities: (1) Adnan did it more or less like Jay said, with Jay as accessory after, (2) Adnan had more help from Jay than Jay is admitting, and Jay is lying to protect himself (3) Jay did it alone (or with someone else) and is framing Adnan. #3 has no motive and no evidence, and every “theory” I have read for this one seems extremely far-fetched, including the theory put forward on this blog. Under the circumstances, I find the most important points of his story credible because they match up with the evidence and the scenario. Jay was the witness, the state doesn’t get to do job interviews and pick out a witness they think is suitable. It doesn’t make sense to prosecute nobody just because a witness has some flaws. That said, I am still troubled by the possibility that it was #2 rather than #1.
So an incomplete and strangely piecemeal investigation did not uncover evidence of the star witness’s further involvement in the crime, and that is evidence that Adnan is guilty?
The police made sure Jay’s story matched up with the evidence. If his story matched the evidence, they wouldn’t have needed to constantly fix his story to make it match the evidence.
This is in reply to Joshua’s comment below but it won’t let me reply to that thread.
>(3) Jay did it alone (or with someone else) and is framing Adnan. #3 has no motive and no evidence, and every “theory” I have read for this one seems extremely far-fetched, including the theory put forward on this blog. Under the circumstances, I find the most important points of his story credible because they match up with the evidence and the scenario<
They match up with…what? The scenario HE gave that no-one else proposed? And what evidence? There's no evidence that authenticates the scenario he came up with AT ALL. No physical evidence that Adnan touched Hae. No evidence of the crime on his clothes (noting that Jay identified the jacket he was supposedly wearing while burying the body). No independent witnesses who corroborate a single part of his story except for the parts that also corroborate Adnan's (eg Cathy's). And this very post of Susan's shows a clear example of how easily Jay changed his story to apparently 'corroborate' the phone records regardless of how little sense it made in the overall narrative – which means you can't trust that a single part of his story independently matches any of the phone records, Nor can you trust the Ulrich's assertion about what the phone records mean because now it's clear that the tests they did were not tests that discredited Adnan's story but rather a tiny selection of tests that at best merely showed that part of Jay's wasn't debunked (ie they presented evidence that at 4 points in Jay's story it was possible for the phone to have pinged the right towers at the right time. They didn't, for example, offer evidence which showed it wasn't possible for the phone to have pinged those towers if ADNAN was telling the truth).
If at this point you still find any part of Jay's testimony credible and therefore that it's more likely he is telling the truth than Adnan, then I really don't see how there is any evidence out there short of Jay announcing he did it that could change your mind. I was teetering each way after listening to the podcast but every more detailed bit of information that has come out since has further weakened the State's case, called into question the way the police and prosecution handled it, and made it more and more apparent the lack of any suggestive, let alone incriminating, evidence implicating Adnan.
This one is in response to Susan Simpson:
First of all, thanks for the response. I think your blog is brilliant even though I disagree with many of its conclusions. I’m going to answer your question with another question: what if there had been no cell phone records at all in this case? Let’s say you just have Jay come in and give a loose and unverifiable account of what happened that day, and there’s never any need to make it match the cell records, there’s simply no way to “verify” it at all beyond the vague recollections of other people he saw that day, which are also fallible. So you have a guy claiming he was an accessory to a murder, and that the primary is a person who would already be under suspicion because of his relationship to the victim (jealous recent ex — by the way, I fully reject Serial’s attempts to dismiss this motive and found them irresponsible and fatuous). Then that person not only can’t clearly account for what he did that day, but can come up with no reason whatsoever why the person claiming to be an accomplice might actually be framing him or might have any reason to murder his ex-girlfriend. And no one else interviewed can either. Indeed, nothing in a weeks long investigation points to that person having a reason to kill the victim. And you have no cell phone records against which to check the accomplice’s story, but you have nothing else either. What do you do? Prosecute? Let the case go cold? This is a question that actually troubles me, and I’m not sure. Sometimes I think your theories about the cell records are onto something, other times I think that someone as smart as you with as much passion for the case and as many details and facts to work with could poke holes in almost anything, and that any series of events this complex will have things that are misremembered, inconsistent, hard to explain, etc. But what if you actually had fewer facts to work with? Prosecute or not?
Urick himself has said that either the cell phone records or Jay’s testimony alone wouldn’t be enough. Only together.
Without the cellphone records, this case wouldn’t have moved forward.
You seem to be incredibly knowledgable about this case. Maybe you can answer a couple questions for the rest of us:
1) Why should we believe any of Jay’s account of JAN 13 when we know that he has lied about significant facts from that day?
And 2) How is okay for Urick and the cops to cherry pick specific call log information and label it proof of Adnan’s guilt, while dismissing other call log information that doesn’t match their narrative?
Can someone explain what constitutes witness tampering? Where is the line between excusable behavior and criminality?
The State of Marlyands Response to the Request to the Court of Special Appeals has been posted
Click to access responseoppositionleavetoappeal.pdf
Does any one have an idea of how long it should take for an opinion now? Is there a new deadline of any sort?
No deadline for issuing op.
I’m becoming addicted to this blog and Susan’s brilliant detective work re the cell phone records. And it seems from this work, an unreliable witness and a total cock-up with the phone records on the part of the police and the prosecutor, plus a defense counsel suffering from a neurological disease…and the jury still convicts ‘beyond a shadow’ looks like terrible ‘bad luck’ for Adnan Syed
However, we seem to know next to nothing about Adan Syed. He didn’t speak to the police, and he did not testify. Facts which no doubt swayed the jury (even though it’s not supposed to.) So, while the prosecution and Jay are busy throwing up smoke and mirrors. nothing of substance is presented to the jury to contradict these tales. And it wasn’t Jay or Jen who first put the police onto Syed, (they would have looked at him anyway) but an anonymous phone call from a person with an accent (believed to be someone from the Mosque) Syed’s finger print was on the cover of the map inside the victim’s car (prosecutors statement to Intercept) as well as on a card in the glove compartment (ibid). As a former, they could have been there innocently…
I am leaning towards the “they’ve got the right person for the wrong reasons” school of thought, with the state’s star witness (and possibly a third person) as accessories.
What do you mean, he didn’t talk to the police? They just didn’t record interviews. There are interview notes available on Rabia’s blog, I believe.
A person with an ‘Asian accent’ is all that is known about the anonymous tip-off (sure, Asian MIGHT mean Pakistani? But it could just as easily mean Korean). Jay’s claim that that person must have been a person from the Mosque is backed up by…what? Just ole trustworthy Jay’s magic guessing powers? Rabia released another document which shows the claim in Jay’s interview that Bilal plead the fifth and didn’t testify at the Grand Jury was false (he did in fact testify).
The fingerprints in Hae’s car mean absolutely nothing. Zilch. They admitted there were dozens of other people’s fingerprints on that map book and Adnan had been in and driven the car many times. It’s not even suggestive of anything, let alone evidence of it.
I just can’t see what evidence there is to lean toward the ‘got the right person’ view when there is literally no evidence against Adnan that isn’t meaningless (ie based on a generality like him being her ex boyfriend, or being equally applicable to dozens of other people in her life eg having been in her car). Jay’s word is it. I mean, of course you’re entitled to that view, but you have to accept that if you have it it’s because you (to me, inexplicably) believe Jay is more credible than Adnan, despite everything.
Rabia knows who the anonymous caller is and has talked to his family about it. They confirmed it. It is someone from their community.
I have been incredibly impressed with your research and comments. You have clarified a great number of things and seem to be able to find patterns that others cannot. As a non-lawyer I do find a number of things incredibly puzzling and I was wondering if you could comment on them (assuming they would not negatively effect the ongoing case).
I think that most people are rational actors and they make decisions based on that fact. After reading your blogs, listening to you and Deidre the only explanation that makes sense to me is the following:
Jay was a overall good kid who got caught up in way over his head and decided to throw Adnan to the wolves to save himself / people he cared about . To be honest if I were Jay and afraid for myself and my family and loved ones, with limited resources and many responsibilities I would hope that I would have the moral courage to testify against Adnan but as a scared kid I might well have. I tend to see Jay as consciously/subconsciously sabotaging himself and the states case, by talking to other people, telling crazy stories, and incorporating true elements (that don’t fit the external pressures desired narrative) into his story as much as possible as an effort to deal with his sense of guilt. Now more speculation and some questions :
1) Assuming he was forced to help some legitimate scary dude who HAD murdered Hae, most likely many people would have known about connections between them. If these connections can be proved are they enough to grant a new trial?
2) Next assuming the scary dude is currently dead or behind bars, a lot of the pressure from 16 years must be gone, but still other lesser external pressures remain. It would not be pleasant to have the hordes of Reddit, my friends and family, and a possible vindictive justice system come after me. This would be compounded if I had a lawyer who is either incompetent or not looking out for my best interest ( As the terrible intercept interviews would indicate ). Is there anyway to help relieve these external pressures and convince Jay to recant and admit he covered up the murder for this scary dude? If Jay recants is this enough for a new trial?
If I were Jay I would be MUCH more interested in recanting if the following could be assured to me.
A) I would not lose the support of my wife and family
B) I had competent legal help who could insure my safety
C) I would have the support / forgiveness of the community at large, ( Public statements of forgiveness from Adnan and his family, prominent people from Reddit and the Media, if he comes forward now and helps free Adnan).
Is Rabia or others like Sarah Koenig even allowed to offer this, arrange this or would it impact the admissibility of his new statements?
3) What are your opinions on why the State is still going after him? This boggles my mind. If I were the State I would be exerting pressure on Jay to tell the truth and running the DNA right now. Are they allowed to do this? They are going to get TERRIBLE press if Adnan’s innocence is established and Rabia and everyone else invested in Adnan is not going away. Why not save everyone heartache, time and trouble and possibly get some GREAT press as advocates for Justice?
Sorry about the mistype. Should be “testify in defense of Adnan” / “testify against true murderer at trial” in 3rd paragraph
Brilliant, as usual, but ballsy. Is this proof that they did coach Jay or merely evidence that they likely did?
It’s evidence that the police (and prosecution) were sharing evidence with Jay and his story would change according to what the cops wanted rather than to the truth of what happened that day ie the cops have an incorrect piece of info, Jay switches to that incorrect piece of info.
It is evidence that Jay’s story and the cell phone evidence are not independent and so did not corroborate each other ie Jay’s story changed to fit the cell phone evidence.
Is it evidence that police deliberately and cynically manipulated Jay? No, ,maybe Jay was deliberately and cynically manipulating the cops! But the how it happened is almost incidental – the evidence shows quite clearly that it was happening.
From Adnan’s point of view the outcome, whether accidental or deliberate, evidence that was presented as corroborative at court was not. The cell phone data is probabilistic, Jay’s testimony firmed them up into definites – but now it seems he has was more interested in telling the cop what they (or he thought they) wanted to hear rather than telling the absolute truth.
How can we know what, if any, of the rest of Jay’s testimony is true, or just what he thought the cops (or prosecution) wanted to hear?
Jay showed the police the location of the car at around 3 o’clock on Feb 28, right after the first interview, which started at 1:30AM. He told them the windshield wiper stick was broken, but it turned out to be the turn signal that was broken.
How does that fit into the conspiracy theory?
Everything I read makes me feel very certain that Jay was involved – he knew this detail and other details not known to the public, he acted weird on the day of the murder, he exhibited real fear thereafter, he hid shovels, he said he was there and told others he was there. Taking all of that together, I would struggle to believe any story that didn’t include Jay at this point.
I guess what I cannot understand is why Adnan or any of his supporters would discuss anything other than Jay. The state’s time line, lack of motive…who cares? Why waste airtime on that? That may have been important at trial, but that stage is over. It seems that the only thing of interest would be Jay and Jenn and anyone else who may know the truth, almost to the point of obsession. If Adnan is innocent, then Jay helped kill someone he really cared about and got him locked up for life. That’s not something to be fair or balanced about. And yet in my limited exposure, I don’t get that vibe from Rabia, Adnan, the podcast, the innocence project…Does any one else have a view on this?
Legally, there’s no ground to be gained in attacking witnesses. Witnesses lie, and unless they recant, so be it. But what the prosecution knew or should have known about those lies, and may or may not have disclosed? Now that’s interesting.
I agree, legally it’s interesting and upsetting, but I understand that the only chance at exoneration/release is to get the truth, which Jay holds. And from a human perspective – wouldn’t Adnan’s camp just have an unhealthy obsession with finding that truth? I think about the Natalee Ann Holloway case – people, reporters, everyone, was obsessed with getting the truth from van der sloot. They befriended him, got high with him, did everything they could to get the story – and he even did admit guilt to some people here and there. Sadly, him killing someone else probably is what really put the case to bed. But every before that, no one let it rest.
I don’t really get that feeling from Adnan and his family (maybe I don’t see the whole picture)…which is confusing.
Because legally that’s not the route that’s going to help Adnan. And Jay, as you have seen, (smartly) keeps his distance.
What if Jay were convicted of perjury for testimony during the trial? Would that at least be grounds to grant Adnan an appeal or new trial?
No crime has occurred when a false statement is (intentionally or unintentionally) made while under oath—instead, criminal culpability only attaches at the instant the declarant falsely asserts the truth of statements (made or to be made) which are material to the outcome of the proceeding. That would be hard to prove, and that is probably why Jay is comfortable changing his story once again, because of the view that the material facts are the same.
AJG – ok thanks for the clarification. So if Jay had lied about something material under oath, and was then convicted of perjury, would that have any bearing on Adnan’s argument for appeal or new trial?
No, that would not.
This is my summary of why the cell records aren’t proof of Adnan’s route that day.
1. We have Jay, who has a story about borrowing a car and phone for a large part of a day. During that day, he helps to bury a body and he parks a car where no one will find it.
2. We have cell phone records that may or may not tell a story. The cell record story, if any part of it is accurate, isn’t about where a PERSON is, it is about where a CELL PHONE is.
3. Jay had the phone and all calls during the day could have been his. The Nisha call is the only odd one–odd, because it was Adnan’s friend, not Jay’s..
4. Nisha’s number was in the phone. Anyone holding the phone could make this call. Curiosity could prompt someone to punch the button.
5. Nothing here links the phone’s whereabouts to Adnan. Jay tells us that he had the phone.
These are my open questions:
1. Why did police not find Hae’s car for all those weeks? Why was the car not noticed as abandoned? Could the car have been elsewhere during all that time? Did the police have it? Did others see it? Did the killer have it?
2. What does the stop at a gas station to get less than $2 worth of gas mean? It seems like it was interrupted before it was complete. An interruption could mean the moment that changed Hae’s day.
3. Drug killings are not usually strangulations. Is this why detectives decided it was more likely domestic violence? Could there be a 3rd suspect, known to Jay, that he is covering for? Could this 3rd person actually be so threatening that Jay could be coerced into helping cover up the crime?
4. Someone else has suggested that Jay was useful to the police in other cases. Could they have kept him in the field because putting him away would risk other operations, maybe risking undercover detectives playing a long game? They needed to grab a suspect from another pool?
You wrote, “Drug killings are not usually strangulations.” While I have not read any research that supports you statement, I have read some very interesting article about how the statistics regarding the perpetrators of manual strangulations differ significantly (not completely) from those who commit manual strangulation. I have a terrible memory, but I keep thinking that somewhere in some legal document I read Hae’s death described as “Death by strangulation either manual or ligature”. In that same interesting article, I just mentioned I read the following:
“In a study on sexual murder, Kocsis et al. (24) analyzed crime
scene behavior and provided an empirical model with distinct behavior clusters.
Their study suggested that in sexual murders, ligature strangulation is associated
with deliberate and cruel crime scene behavior, suggesting a “predator” murder
Since originally reading the article I have lost the full text, but here is a citation that may help:
Criminal Profiling, 2007, pp 73-87 Murder by Manual and Ligature Strangulation Helinä Häkkänen
Here is why I bring this up. As I understand it, at this point in the appeals process, proof of reasonable doubt is a non-starter. I think, and I may be wrong, but doesn’t any next appeal hinge on new evidence? For Adnan’s sake I am hoping that an interpretation of existing evidence, which presents a more compelling explanation of the facts, might be a step in the right direction along this new evidence path. It seems that the act of strangulation led police to immediately suspect a boy friend. From the little I have read, that assumption is supported by evidence, if it were a manual strangulation. At least in sexual murder, ligature strangulation points toward more predatory behavior. This leads be to want to examine the evidence as though we were looking at a gang crime. Did someone make their bones by killing Hae. How bad is the gang problem in Baltimore. How deadly is the gang problem in west Baltimore. I have answers for the last two questions. It’s the first one that stumps me.
Manual vs. ligature strangulation is a very interesting thought to investigate, especially considering no physical evidence was analyzed.
The ME testified that the bruising on the neck, the way the hyoid bone was broken, and the lack of any pattern on the skin, was C/W manual strangulation.Typically a ligature would leave a very clear bruising pattern.
May I address the failed logic that is associated with Jay and the car. First it follows logically that if I were involved in abducting Hae and disposing of her car, therefore I would know where I had left it. However it does not follow that if I know where Hae’s car is, therefore I must have been involved in Hae’s murder. Ask yourself this question. How many alternate reasons are there for someone to know the lactation of Hae’s missing car. Let me remind you that the car was “missing” for 46 days…in Baltimore, Maryland. This is a city where in the better neighborhoods residents often place a lawn chair in “their parking space” after a snow storm, to keep others from using it. In lesser quality neighborhoods this does not happen because of a variety of reasons. Here are two.
• Don’t come to a gun fight with either a knife of a lawn chair.
• If you want your lawn chair stolen leave it in the street.
My point is that anyone who has lived in a city like Baltimore knows the relationship between residents and the parking spots closest to their home (apartment, condo, etc.). Now imaging you live in such an area, and the night of The Big Ice Storm someone parks a strange car in “your” parking space. What’s your first question? If it is not “Who the hell parked their car in my spot?”, you are not from Baltimore. But it’s iced up outside; you can forgive some poor soul for leaving their car for one night…or two. OK two is really pushing it. My point is, long before day 46 has pasted, you and everyone else near you is asking about who owns that car. Meanwhile, every night on the TV the talking heads are going on about some missing girl and her missing car. Soon, the cynics start referring to car (the one that to them is far too un-missing as “the missing car”. At first this is just gallows humor from people at the epicenter of a murder epidemic. But word travels… but it only travels within a certain circle of friends and trusted people.
Now here’s the next question. In that situation, who calls the police? Who trusts the police. After all that you have read on this blog, would you call the police? Or would you be worried that people would make some totally unfounded charge about you being involved. Worse yet, you may be forgiven for worrying that you are living very near to someone who really wants you to keep your mouth shut, and you don’t have any idea who that person is. And as the TV is making very obvious every night, the police don’t either. If you were in that persons shoes, would you feel more comfortable remaining tight lipped or being a snitch. But this theory may be completely wrong. I certainly can’t prove it. So lets look at another scenario.
For a quick understanding about the economics of where Hae’s car was found check out http://www.zillow.com/homes/make_me_move/pmf_pt/39.305779,-76.642213,39.284257,-76.72461_rect/13_zm/. Let’s assume that internet connectivity is not 100%. Instead image the totally effective grapevine that keeps everybody who is surviving in this area completely street wise. Now ask, “How much is a Sentra worth parted out?” I have no idea, but it is safe to assume that the car represents an unclaimed asset of some substantial value in an area where I would not leave a lawn chair out over night. So ask yourself, how did that car remain completely abandoned, where it was, for 46 days, without being complete stripped? I wonder if the word on the street wasn’t “leave that car alone, the cops are watching it, looking for a lead in that missing girl case.” Again there is no need to prove this argument is correct, only that it demonstrates that there is more than one explanation for why Jay Wilde and Adnan Syed where the not the only two people who knew the location of Hae’s car. Therefore, to assume that Jay’s knowledge of the cars location is some sort of confirmation of his veracity is just a bridge too far.
That is a good point. I parked my car on the street for one night in an upscale neighborhood in Manhattan. The only thing missing in the morning was an expensive camera in the glove compartment.
But Rabia says on her blog that the police had found the car before Jay showed them where it was parked. Does that mean the car was still there when he led them to the parking spot? Not necessarily. The car could have been picked up very early on.
I’ve heard this said so many times that the police knew where the car was, but never seen it sourced other than Rabia’s blog. Where does she get this from?
You write, “The car could have been picked up very early on” You may be correct, but let’s hope not. The car was not registered into police possession until 2/28/1999…within hours of Jay’s interview. What sort of mischief could occur if evidence is not registered as soon as it come police possession. It would be interesting to hear if there are rules about that sort of thing.
I am only going by the statement on Rabia’s blog. It would be a good thing if she would post her source.
I don’t know where Rabia gets her information from, but as with a lot of things in this story – where Hae’s car was and when it was found was odd. Jay is interviewed, taped, by the police between 00.30 and 2.30am on 28th February (he is interviewed untaped for about 2 hours before the tape is turned on). Adnan is arrested at about 6am. There is a newsclip on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkUhKIuawTQ which says, a few seconds in, “..and they discovered her 1998 Nissan Sentra a short distance from where her killer attempted to bury her body in a shallow grave in Leakin Park. Key details they had withheld as they sought out a suspect.”
I would say this evidence is pretty weak as it is open to different interpretations but one interpretation is that it is strange that Jay tells the cops where the car is in the early hours of the morning, Adnan is arrested shortly afterwards and the car details are described as ‘withheld’ in the newsreport. Not many people you could reach out to in the small hours of the morning to share where someone’s car was found – even if you wanted to!
Deirdre Enwright of the Innocent Project Clinic has an interview here, http://insidecville.com/city/enright-1-5-14/ At around 6.30 minutes or so she says (regarding Hae’s murder), “I believe her car’s found first and then she/s found in a park in Baltimore.”
Again, we don’t why Deirdre believes Hae’s car was found first and she is not very adamant about it – she ‘believes’ it rather than states it as fact. So I would say this too is weak evidence.
And of course we have Rabia saying the same thing but no idea why.
Along with the clean photo of the car and Jay’s odd statement about not giving the right place for the car originally but then taking them to the right place.
Conclusive evidence the cops knew where the car was before 28th Feb? No. Evidence that casts some doubt as to whether the cops knew where the car was before Jay told them he knew where it was – I would say yes but only some doubt.
And there’s more. When the police searched Hae’s car, they state that the windshield wiper control is broken. Jay, in his interview, says that the windshield wiper control is broken. But it was really the turn-signal control. The one on the left. Someone on Reddit posted a picture from an owner’s manual.
How did the police and Jay both get it wrong? How does Adnan get this wrong? If Adnan was driving the car, he’d have known it was the turn signal as soon as he tried to turn on the head lights. Why would he tell Jay it was the windshield wiper? Wouldn’t Jay have noticed that the turn signal was out when he was following Adnan? The turn signal control also controls the head lights. Were they working? Wouldn’t Jay notice that Hae’s car didn’t have working headlights?
Was the car driven after dark that night at all? Or could the police have “planted” the idea of Jay in Adnan’s car, following Adnan in Hae’s car, since they needed more than just a trunk-pop to convict? I wouldn’t believe that, until Susan started pointing out how many more details the police must have planted. This could be bigger than the cell phone data.
Hi Brian, could you tell me where the police have this info wrong?
I see that Jay says in his first interview on 28th Feb that “Um he told me that she kicked like ah knocked off like the windshield wiper thing in the car”
The only other reference I can find is in the appeals doc of February 2002, “Wilds testified that Appellant told him that he thought Hae was trying to say something Like apologize to him and that she kicked off the turn signal in the car. Appellant allegedly said he was afraid Hae would scratch him in the face. (2/4/00- ”
So what we would need to know the police fed Jay the car info for sure is somewhere where the cops have the incorrect information before Jay says it – and they’ve been consistent that they didn’t have the car before Jay told them, or possibly if there is an incorrect official document stating the windshield wiper was damaged, even if that is dated after Jay’s interview – it would look fishy!
Obviously it is consistent with them changing Jay’s story to fit the evidence though.
It is also a strange thing for Adnan to tell Jay in any case – he was regularly in Hae’s car and drove himself so you would think he would know where her turn signal is and not confuse it with the wiper. It’s the kind of detail someone unfamiliar with Hae’s car might be mistaken about, especially if most turn signals are on the other side of the steering wheel.
Trial 2, Day 2.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Forrester is being questioned by Mr. Urick. They’ve taken a videotape of the car to show the damage, because it wasn’t clear in the photographs. Both Forrester and Urick refer to it as the turn signal.
Yes, Adnan has driven the car in the past, and the claim is that he drove the car that night, with Jay driving behind him. You’d think he’d know whether it was the turn signal or the windshield wipers. If you believe Jay’s recent interview, it was raining as they were driving to the park. Why would he misidentify this?
Thanks Brian. I also wanted to add to my post, some interpret the missing details referenced in the youtube clip as the shallow grave in Leakin Park. However the Baltimore Sun says this on Feb 12th 1999.
“The body of a young woman found Tuesday buried in a shallow grave in Baltimore’s Leakin Park was identified yesterday as an 18-year-old Woodlawn Senior High School student who disappeared nearly four weeks ago.”
So the date of discovery of the body, where it was found and how it was buried was public knowledge well before Jay and Adnan were called in by the cops.
Someone on Reddit recently noted that there is a photo of Hae’s car when found (on the Serial podcast website)
And that the car looks remarkably clean for a vehicle sitting outside for 6 weeks in rain, snow and ice. The car looks clean but the tires are muddy. I have to agree, it’s oddly clean.
Unless that is a photo of Hae’s car from before she went missing. There is no caption.
I work out of an office in home, so no daily commute. Sometimes, especially in winter, I can go a week without rolling a wheel. I can attest to the fact that a car that does not get driven in all that salt and muck of winter stays surprisingly clean.
I wonder if the mud on the tires came from Leakin Park or some other neck of the woods. Suppose it was consistent with mud found in the area of Harford Road and Northern Parkway?
The mud on the wheels match the ground the car is parked on.
Just read the comment from someone who said that a car could stay remarkably clean if it’s not driven. I call BS. Unless it was a car with a new paint job (flawless clearcoat) that had been recently waxed, and was parked somewhere without smog, and was parked on a surface where no dirt would splash up from the rain, then it most assuredly wouldn’t stay clean.
I have an older model car (i.e., worn paint finish) that hasn’t been waxed in a while, and it’s been sitting still on the street in winter rainstorms, in a smaller (less polluted) city than Baltimore, for several weeks. The car is dirty, there’s a film over all the windows, and there is a clear pattern of bits of dirt and dirty water that have splashed up from the rain. There’s also a few bits of leaves and stuff that have blown onto the windshield, hood, and roof. There’s bits of junk in the windshield wiper recess. If it were parked on grass, the grass under it would be completely dead within a couple of weeks.
That photo cannot be Hae’s car as the police found it, unless the car had been recently cleaned and recently parked there.
And maybe that’s why the car, supposedly parked in plain sight, wasn’t found till Jay came along. Maybe it wasn’t parked there at all. Maybe it was in a garage, and when Jay agreed to take them to it, he needed to make a call, so the car could be put into a spot where he could show the police?
Or maybe we still haven’t seen a photo of the car as the police found it. I think it has to be one or the other.
Most of the time I find myself agreeing with you. However, when you label a perfectly friendly personal observation about how clean my Pontiac, which is not garaged, but is highly waxed and clear coated but hardly new (2007), remains compared to my wife’s, new Elantra which is driven daily, as BS, you are being unnecessarily mean. I think we share the same view that Jay’s knowledge of the location of Hae’s car is a red herring. Let’s keep our conversion friendly.
Rabia recently gave an interview (arms policy wonk or something like that) in which she said that when Jay went with the police to find the car he took them to the wrong location first of all but then second time around he got the location correct. So Jay, in fact, may not even have known of the location of the car.
I think you’re missing the point. The police/detectives are the ones who gave Jay’s stories credibility since Jay was the one who led them (off tape) to the car. It was their logic as such
Thinking about it more, I’m increasingly troubled that SS’s argument here is so strongly based on trial transcripts provided by Rabia that apparently only she and a couple other people have access to. It’s very suspicious and severely discredits the argument here. Until the full 2nd trial transcripts are more publicly disseminated, the discussion will be stacked in one side’s favor.
The transcript of the second trail (Not just the appeal but the trail where Adnan was convicted) are online. They are contained in 2 PDF files. I’ll look for a link if you think it might help improve your manners. Please refrain from casting aspersions on people’s motives. Normally I would spend the time digging for the link for you, but your claim that people are suspiciously using information that they went to the time and trouble to locate offended me.
Wait, what’s wrong with my manners? I’m sincerely, honestly & humbly asking for specific, publicly available support in transcripts for what SS has written, which alleges police/prosecutor misconduct. I complemented her analysis above, I think it’s very smart and she made a good find, but it’s incomplete without reference to full trial testimony (full transcripts with all pages of direct and cross). Makes no sense to me why this is a rude request.
Sorry, the above comment was addressed to stelladora
That’s me! And I responded to you! Why do you hate me!?!?
Go back to reddit.
What does this mean? I’m trying to understand why we can’t discuss public transcripts of a public trial.
Almost EVERYONE here is discussing and referencing the actual interviews and trial transcripts. If you’re late to the party (or haven’t read past posts) and are trying to assume we are all just pulling facts and quotes out of thin air, you’ll get little help finding the easily accessible documents (hint, previous posts on this website and Rabia’s for starters). Laziness isn’t an excuse to say you don’t understand what’s being presented and question the integrity of folks that have taken the time to read up on the case
The relevant part of the trial transcript is still missing: the cell phone/tower evidence. And that’s what we are talking about here.
Please post the second trial. Pretty please.
A lot of people seem hung up on Jay’s lack of motive, so here’s a few things to consider. It’s been made clear that Jay is basically an older, oddball loser hanging out with a group of much smarter, tight knit high school kids – he’s on the outside looking in, a drug dealer who (eventually) works at a porn store, and his whole social group, courtesy of Stephanie, are smart kids with bright futures. In his last interview he speaks to his frustration with the school for setting up the magnet program, which further separated him from his primary social group. Put into context, there are a few things that put Jay’s entire social and romantic life in jeapordy:
1. Adnan is a smart, well-liked “playboy” type who is good friends with Jay’s girlfriend. That’s got to make him nervous.
2. Stephanie’s parents didn’t like her being with Jay, because they know he has no future.
3. On the morning of the murder, Adnan claims he has already purchased Stephanie’s birthday present, and has to remind Jay to get Stephanie a birthday present. This has to annoy Jay, if not really get under his skin. It has the potential to make Jay look very bad to Stephanie, the one person that keeps him connected to the real world, by his own admission. And for it to be Adnan, who he might already resent for being close to Stephanie, is even worse.
4. Adnan told CG that Jay was cheating on Stephanie, that Hae knew about it and was upset by it, and that she planned to confront Jay about it. Adnan recalls a story that Jay had a girl at his house during a school day, and when Stephanie told Adnan she was going to ditch class and go to Jay’s house, Adnan stopped her from going so that she wouldn’t catch Jay with another girl.
It is entirely possible and plausible that Adnan told Jay he couldn’t cover for him any more, and that Jay felt the pressure of losing his girlfriend. For all we know, Hae might have told stephanie about Jay’s cheating (who then confronts Jay and gives him motive to kill Hae right there) OR Hae might have confronted Jay directly. Another possibility is that Adnan might have merely told Jay that Hae knew about his cheating, and he killed her to keep her quiet.
QUESTION ABOUT THE CHARM FOUND IN HAE’S CAR.
The police records of the contents of Hae’s glove compartment noted (amongst other things) an empty jewelry gift box and a charm with a price tag on it that was right around $100. (I know Rabia’s site posted this doc – it may have been posted here as well.)
I can’t find any other discussion about this charm. We known from Jay’s first police interview that he bought Stephanie a “charm” bracelet the day Hae disappeared… but do we know if he actually gave it to Stephanie? Otherwise, who the heck gave Hae that charm? Did she have a charm bracelet? Did Adnan give it to her as a “please take me back” gift? Was it from Don?
Admittedly, I was a teenage year ages ago, but I can’t imagine a teenager just leaving something of that much value in a glove compartment unless she had JUST received it/hadn’t had time to take it home, put it on her charm bracelet, etc.
Does anyone have thoughts or input on this?
To add to my point, the prosecution made such a big deal about this case being about a scorned lover/domestic violence. It seems odd they wouldn’t have pursued the story of this heart shaped charm.
THIS! i can picture Keith Morrison on Dateline reporting on this case and saying “Ah, but what about heart charm?…” in his creepy, inquisitive voice. WHAT ABOUT THE HEART CHARM???!!!
Since Hae and Stephanie were best friends, maybe Hae bought the charm for Stephanie for her bracelet. Maybe this is how Jay and Hae crossed paths that day. Hae wanted to make sure the charm she bought would fit with the charm bracelet Jay purchased so they met up at the gas station. She confronted him about cheating on Stephanie and he strangled her.
I think to describe Hae and Stephanie as best friends would be overstating it – Debbie and Aisha were Hae’s best friends. That they were friends though, is true.
Hae was a good enough friend to Stephanie that she was willing to confront Jay or tell Stephanie the rumors about the cheating, so I don’t doubt the two girls were close. It’s very likely Hae did get Steph a present, but a heart shaped charm that cost over $100 seems odd for a teenage girl who works part time at Lenscrafters to give to another girl. The lack of investigation (or was there??) into these piece of jewelry with the pricetag still on it that was found in Hae’s car is baffling. I think even now with forensics, investigators could find out who manufactured the charm, what stores it was sold in, etc. I mean, if they can do this research to figure out where a certain duct tape was sold (ala Casey Anthony) it shouldn’tbe that difficult to figure out. Of course, if we know if Stephanie actually received a charm bracelet from Jay that night, it only makes it all the more interesting where it came from.
Yes, especially when you consider that the detectives asked Jenn if Jay took a present to Stephanie and she doesn’t recall it. The charm must have been “bad evidence” for the detectives.
BK, Stephanie says that Jay brought her a present on the 14th, and that it was a bracelet and a ring.
Was the origin of the charm in her glovebox discussed at trial or elsewhere? Was it even tested for prints? This seems like such a potentially vital piece of evidence and yet it gets almost no attention. Both Adnan and Jay purchased a gift for Stephanie that day, so this charm could have been left in her car by either of them, whether that’s in the process of murdering her or otherwise.
Adnan didn’t know Jenn that well. I am sure he meant Stephanie.
You are correct. My mistake.
But why didn’t Jay give Stephanie her gift on Jan 13th when he saw her that same night of her birthday (when Jen waited for him in the car)? Maybe he had to go get Steph something else the next day because the gift he orginally bought on the 13th was gone/in Hae’s car??
As others already pointed out they weren’t best friends, but this does bring up an interesting point. I have always found it a little odd that Stephanie refused to ever talk about Hae’s murder, even with her best friends, to the point that it destroyed her relationship with several of them (per interviews in Serial).
It’s even more bizarre to me that she continued to date Jay for several years even though he helped to bury the body of one of her friends and obstructed the investigation. He was a drug dealing loser whom her parents hate, who works in a porn store and who helped bury her murdered friend. Why would she continue to date this guy?
Do we know she continued to date Jay, or are we just taking Jay’s word for it from his Intercept interview? If Jay didn’t give her the gift on the night of Jan 13th, which was her actual birthday, I wonder what went on during his short visit with her that night – I think it was only about 15 minutes long (if we trust Jay/Jen’s timeline). It’s really possible that Stephanie knew something was up, saw Jay acting strange – e.g. the lack of gift, Jen waiting for him out in the car for him. And then she gets a gift the next day? The girl’s intuition may have known something was really off. Maybe she couldn’t come to terms that Jay wasn’t involved in Hae’s killing because it would be too much to absorb, but she may have known deep down that something was up from his actions.
Good point. In fact, it would be interesting to hear from others in that social circle as to whether they continued to date or not.
I believe Adnan said he had already gotten a gift for Stephanie’s birthday (a stuffed animal?), which was the reason he wanted to make sure Jay had gotten something for her as well. Adnan was concerned that Stephanie would be upset if she didn’t receive something from Jay.
Adnan told his legal team that Stephanie didn’t like Hae at all.
Could you point me in the direction of that? I’ve seen Jenn’s statement where she agrees with a ‘someone she doesn’t name’ that Hae is stuck up and she doesn’t like her much. I’ve seen Jay’s statement where he says Jenn wasn’t bothered by Hae’s death and agrees with the cops that Jenn didn’t like Hae much – but I’ve never seen anything that implies or states that Stephanie didn’t like Hae much.
page 26, handwritten notes, 3rd line
The more actual testimony and notes I see, the more I’m puzzled at stuff that Serial left out of the story.
Not that I’m at all critical of how they did the story; they were creating a “story” and had the artistic liberty to do it however they wanted, I just think they left out some very interesting information (LIKE, Stephanie didn’t like Hae) in lieu of some less informative stuff.
This makes me wonder if the note taker wrote the wrong name, and Adnan was talking about Jen not liking Hae, not Stephanie. On the same page of notes, he is discussing Jay, so it could be that he mentioned Jen too (since by this time, they know that Jen talked to police, so they probably want to know how Adnan knows her – which is through Jay).
I don’t think Adnan would say that Stephanie “didn’t like Hae at all,” and, more so, it seems odd that Hae would want to defend Steph’s honor and be so mad at Jay about the cheating if Stephanie didn’t like her.
Good point, Sammy-Jammy, maybe she did mean Jen.
Your critical thinking skills are off the chart amazing!!
I’ve never felt sick to my stomach and heart felt sadness at the same time…This can not possibly be our criminal justice system. Since when is it about force fitting evidence and/or witnesses.
Susan hits the prosecution’s case with a haymaker. It goes down. I don’t think it’s getting back up.
Hey Susan, fantastic and very insightful post! I’ve been fascinated with this podcast and subsequent blogs/theories/revelations ever since I first heard about it. The one topic I haven’t seen anybody discuss is this – maybe someone smarter than me can help me out – here goes (feel free to correct me anywhere, I may have got confused along the way):
• For arguments sake let’s just say Jay is lying about the whole ordeal and he’s the one who killed Hae. That none of his story involving Adnan is true at all until at least after track around 6 PM.
• Let’s just say Jay killed Hae after school on his own and then took care of the body and car himself etc.
• It is FACT that Adnan and Jay were together after track around 6PM. We know this because “Kathy” confirms that they were all at their place around then. This is the place where Adnan was reportedly acting weird and quiet.
• For all we know this still would’ve been a relatively normal day for Adnan, hence why he doesn’t remember details. He wouldn’t have known about Jay killing Hae or any fowl play involving her until weeks later. The only thing out of the ordinary is the call at “Kathy’s” from I think (correct me if I’m wrong) Aisha saying that the cops will be calling him. This is the call that reportedly makes him panicked.
• All Adnan would know from that day is that Jay has had his car and cell phone from 12 PM ish to 6 PM ish when Jay picks him up at track. In this scenario, Adnan would be unsuspecting of anything having gone wrong with Hae that day.
• We also know that Adnan’s cell would’ve been somewhere near Leakin Park (spelling?) later that night. SO we have to assume Adnan and Jay were together at that time as well. But maybe they were just smoking out at that time. We can’t really know because Adnan doesn’t remember the details of that day and night.
• Again, in this scenario, this would mean Jay knew to get Adnan’s cell and therefore Adnan in that general vicinity so that the cell records would corroborate his story later. This seems very unlikely since this was the first or one of the first cases where cell records were used. So assuming Jay is lying and making stuff up, how did he know to tell that part of the story and that it would match the cell records? Doesn’t make sense …
If that’s all true – and obviously no really knows if it is and I’m just entertaining this idea – how have Jay’s lies about what went on that day even slightly match the cell records? Even just enough for the detectives to believe his story on his initial interview? I realize that the cell records DON’T match his story exactly and that the detectives had to do some coaching to get it to match better but you get the point.
Did Jay know the cell records were going to be used when he was out killing/burying Hae? How did he know what to say so that it would somewhat match the cell records?
One could argue that the ONLY explanation is that Jay just recounted what HE did that day and added in Adnan later. This would make his story somewhat match the cell records and also place Adnan there for all the killing/burying. This also seems to be something Jay did a lot per his friends and other people – that he would tell a true story but change people’s names, locations and other details to make him look better/brag etc. But this theory no longer makes sense after he and Adnan got together after track – we would assume Adnan would be in charge of his car and cell after that point. Unless he wasn’t…
I really don’t know. Can anyone shed some light on these questions regarding this “JAY IS GUILTY” scenario.
I don’t know what level of involvement Jay had in this terrible event. However, I don’t think that Jay necessarily set up Adnan.
Jay says he got rid of his clothes, shovel(s) etc so he obviously was aware that he should dispose of incriminating evidence but how could he have got rid of Adnan’s ‘phone without making Adnan remember that day? What could he have said to Adnan to either persuade him to dump the ‘phone or explain why he no longer had Adnan’s ‘phone. “Oh I lost your brand new ‘phone.” What! So, whatever his level of involvement, Jay had to keep quiet about the ‘phone and hope that the ‘phone wouldn’t provide any evidence. Unfortunately, for Jay, the police got the cell records and they thought that the ‘phone records gave an indication of the movement of the ‘phone so they pressured/persuaded/coached Jay to tell the ‘truth’.
As for Adnan and Jay being together in Leaking Park… We know Adnan was massively stoned. There’s been plenty of speculation about how Jay could have borrowed the ‘phone without Adnan being aware/remembering it so I won’t repeat it.
But now there is a question mark over the accuracy of all of the cell ‘phone location evidence.
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SS, got a question for you. Did you ever heard about the Wiper Question? Basically, Jay testified that Adnan told him the wiper stalk was broken during the struggle. But during trial it was revealed that it was the turn signal stalk that’s broken (wrong side of steering wheel). However, the detective who testified testified it as the wiper stalk.
Is that more indirect evidence that Jay was coached, as this is the ONLY time the wiper came up at all, and Jay gave the WRONG detail? AFAIK, Jay never borrowed HML’s car, and one’d think that Adnan would know his wipers from his signal lights, if he’d been in HML’s car before.
This is REALLY excellent. But it’s also really confusing. Your last post details how poorly the testimony and the cell records match up… For example there is not a single ping to Jen’s house despite the fact that Jay claims to be there.
Given that this post is pretty good evidence that the detectives had little issue coaching Jay until his story matched the cell records – why did they not do a better job? Was it just laziness? The fact that they changed the narrative here to fit cell records but not there is pretty weird, no?
I mean consider the importance of this change. Where did Jay go after he dropped off Adnan for track… Why does it matter? Maybe Jay went home and smoked a blunt, maybe he went to his friends house and smoked a blunt… It’s something that could feasibly be forgot… If the tower records don’t support it it’s not exactly damning.
Now consider the testimony that he was at Jenn’s house. He was at Jenn’s house DURING the murder. Only the cell evidence says he wasn’t. Why wouldn’t they try to coach the story so his narrative fits the cell data during the murder… Isn’t that a bit more crucial?
Not only was he not at Jenn’s but a cursory look at the timeline gives me the impression that the phone (and hence, Jay) was at each of the crucial locations throughout the day – At the Best Buy around the time Hae was murdered, then over to Leakin Park (burial) then over to his house (disposal of evidence).
I brought this point up in a different thread and no one responded so who knows, maybe I’m just misreading the tower pings and timeline.
Susan and Brendan. I thought I’d check this out and I think there may be an error in the cell tower table on the previous page. The cell tower number covering the area where Hae’s body was found and the cell tower number for the area where Jay lived are identical. Can that be correct?
Actually, one says 689B and the other says 698B. That’s what happens when you are pouring over so much crazy data!
Thanks. Sorry for that error. Believe it or not I double checked that several times before asking my question. Good job no-ones paying attention to me!
It’s been theorized that Jay wouldn’t change that part of his story because it was his alibi for the time that the murder may have happened (sometime around 3:30). Despite the cell phone evidence to the contrary (including a phone call placed from Adnan’s phone TO Jen’s house during that time period he claimed to be at Jen’s), this part of his story never changed.
And the cell records seem to place the phone (and hence, Jay) in the Best Buy area at the proposed time of the murder.
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I came across an interesting bit of information this week. The second witness called by the prosecution at Adnan’s trial (not his appeal) was Hae’s French teacher. She testified that she had worked closely with the Baltimore City police. She said her role was to gather information from teachers and students who were not comfortable talking with the police. She also claimed that Adnan has stolen a list of questions that she had prepared. You can read her testimony I posted it to my Dropbox. Anyway the thing that I find most interesting is the article which I found at I found in the Baltimore Sun papers that described the French teacher ordeal in the aftermath of the Lockerbie Bombing. Come to find out her boy friend of one year had been on that plane, on his way to join up with her in Paris when the bomb killed him. Now I am not claiming that this in anyway shaped that witnesses’ testimony, but I am terribly surprised that I found that article within minutes of learning the teachers name and yet, this information was not presented to impeach her testimony. I would love to know if this information might be useful in a claim of IAC. You can see a link to my dropbox in and the transcript to which I am referring in my post from January 19, 2015 at 8:59 pm
In my opinion, the transcripts made it pretty clear that she had created that role for herself and didn’t have any subsequent conversations with the police.
I thought maybe you missed some of the information about the second witness that was contained in the transcripts, so I am quoting them below. Based on this information, I cannot understand how you formed an opinion that .”… she had created that role for herself and didn’t have any subsequent conversations with the police.”
Page 117, Mr. Urick, “She was aiding the Baltimore County detectives in getting information around th school.
Page 118, Mr. Urick, “She was helping the County detectives gather that information from various individuals throughout the school
Page 118, Mr. Urick, “… she was aiding the detectives in investigating the disappearance.”
Page 122, Mr. Urick, “She got a list of questions from Detective O’Shea of the Baltimore County Police Department that she passed on to Debbie to answer .”
Pager 146, Mr. Urick, “Q. After Hae’s disappearance, did there come a time when you became actively involved in aiding the Baltimore County detectives in their investigation of her disappearance?
Witness “A. Yes”
Page 147: Witness, ” I was in contact with the detective, and he would ask me to ask certain teachers because they weren’t cooperating necessarily to the full extent, if Adnan was in class on a certain day , if he was at track practice. If – – I had to get in touch with some of her girlfriends so that they could — I could ask them questions that he was interested in, and then have them call him back.”
Doesn’t it seem obvious, that the witness took a more active role in the investigation of Hae’s disappearance and murder than your comment would lead people to believe?
Forgive me, I cannot locate the applicable transcript that I read previously (I am obviously following this much more casually than you are). I seem to remember on cross that Ms. Gutierrez got the defendant to admit that her role was self-appointed and not sanctioned by the police. I may be mis-remembering, but perhaps you would be so kind as to provide a link to the transcripts in question. Or maybe you could show me some evidence where the detective actually corroborates the witness testimony? I don’t recall seeing that at any point, and I don’t particularly trust assertions made by the witness or prosecutor (she was state’s witness, after all), which is all you’ve posted here.
Found the transcript. I do not have the inclination to transcribe the testimony, as you have done, but I stand by the opinion I formed. She admitted that the term liaison was created by her and that she only had one formal conversation with the detective (her initial interview). To me, that is more indicative of a busy-body teacher assuming more importance and authority that she actually has than it is of someone taking an “active role in the investigation of Hae’s disappearance and murder.”
If you are able to produce any evidence from the detective indicating otherwise, I would happily change my position, but your cherry picking of Urick’s and Ms. Schab’s statements is wholly unconvincing.
My impression is the French teacher was a lot like the school nurse: a little to eager to get involved in this exciting event, a little to eager to inflate their importance, and perhaps a bit prone to assuming it might be the ex-BF. It could be very interesting to know exactly what this teacher had to say to the other teachers and Hae’s girlfriends when she urged them to contact the detective and answer his questions. I’m inclined to believe that both of them had a bias from early on in the case and, while they both probably meant well, their involvement was probably detrimental to the search for the truth.
I don’t think this is that big of a deal. If you’re trying to recollect a day and you’re using cell phone records and credit card receipts to help, you make a good faith effort to line things up.
What I was wondering…or may have missed somewhere…was Jay ever asked to/or able to take the detectives to the spot of the burial? Seems that would confirm if he was actually there or it was someone else who actually buried her…???
I believe his description about how she was positioned at the burial site matched what it looked like when she was found.
Susan’s analysis here is cogent and elegant. I would only amplify her conclusion with three words: Lisa Marie Roberts.
Roberts was charged with murder after her girlfriend’s body was found in a park in 2002, strangled to death. The lynchpin of the prosecution’s case was Roberts’ own cell phone call records, in particular a single tower ping the prosecution claimed placed Roberts at the park at the time the body had been dumped there. Sound familiar? Roberts maintained her innocence, but her own public defender–informed by the prosecutor that the cell phone data placed the defendant at the crime scene, destroyed her alibi, and was as damning as DNA evidence–told Roberts there was no chance she would be acquitted. Roberts reluctantly took her lawyer’s advice and pled guilty to manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years, avoiding the possibility of a much harsher sentence for murder. Twelve years later, expert witnesses demolished the state’s (mis)use of the cell phone call records, pointing out that single tower pings cannot reliably be used to establish the phone’s location with any precision greater than a 20- or 25-mile radius, and Roberts lawyers failed to consult an expert to show that many different variables determine which tower a call is routed through, including the tower antenna height, its engineered footprint, weather conditions, call load, interference, network traffic, and the cell phone provider’s proprietary software. The case against Roberts was in many ways stronger than the case against Syed: there was a long history of drug use, criminal associates, threats and violence involving Roberts and her deceased girlfriend, Jerri Williams. Nonetheless, she walked out of prison a free woman in 2014.
According to Michael Cherry and Manfred Schenk, expert witnesses who worked on the Roberts case, “for years prosecutors have successfully convinced jurors that the data from a single cell phone tower can reliably specify a person’s location at the time of the call. But in reality it takes … simultaneous ping information from at least three different [towers] to locate or track a caller. … No one [sic] who understands the relevant science would ever claim that data from a single cell phone tower is adequate.” M. Cherry et al. “Cell Tower Junk Science” Judicature Magazine, Jan. 2012, avail. at http://educatedevidence.com/Viewpoint_J-F.pdf. Yet that is precisely what the prosecution told the jury in Mr. Syed’s case.
Order granting Lisa Roberts’ habeas petition: http://media.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/other/lisamarieroberts.pdf
Is there a statue of limitations on accessory after the fact? The reason for the question is if it possible to bring charges against Jenn to see if she rolls on Jay.
Have been away but am trying to catch up. I was wondering if anyone could provide me/others with an ‘update of the what we now believe/know based on the new evidence’ and what we might reasonably conjecture. I’ve caught up on all the wider contexts and theories and confess I am now confused.
In particular, (i) am I right in thinking that Susan and others believe there were definitely two people involved in the (later?) burial – given the car diagrams/maps. Assuming we don’t think that the other one is Adnam (?), who do we now believe this to be?
And in particular (ii) what, if any, is the significance of Grandma’s house? Is this theory about who Jay was afraid of total baloney in terms of evidence? Or are we now at the point where we think the violent/criminal third party stuff is coming into focus – and, if so, how so from an evidence/reasoned point of view?
I still can’t quite get my head around the amazing amount of distortion the police seem to be undertaking. But am coming round to the view they were indeed just intent on steamrollering it all through. I still can’t quite understand why they didn’t charge Jay over Adnam though.
Unfortunately, I suspect we may not be getting much interesting new information for a while. Considering the limited scope of the contemporary investigation and how much time has passed since, there’s a good chance that there just isn’t enough information to determine a specific suspect. And if any of the people making a dedicated investigation DO find anything, they probably won’t be freely broadcasting to the public. If we find out anything really substantial, it’ll happen when the criminal justice system is ready for that information to be publicly available.
As I see it: Adnan is probably innocent, Jay is probably guilty of SOMETHING, and beyond that, who knows? Sometimes you just gotta accept the mystery.
Hey Susan! Quick typography note. You say “aid corroborate”, seemingly reading the handwriting as “aide corroborate” but it looks to me like it’s actually an ampersand — one of the ones written as a curvy “E” with lines above and below. So I believe the note really says “aid & corroborate.” Cheers!
Wait…I thought that the incoming calls to the cell phone weren’t reliable indicators of where the cell phone was. So, while I get that it explains why Jay’s story changed, ultimately the incoming calls to the cell phone shouldn’t be utilized for determining the location of the cell phone at all, any longer.
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just the fact that they interviewed him twice
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A highly emotional case. I see these postings and it seems so easy arm chair people who don’t investigation and criminology. It doesn’t seem like any of the advocates understand the trauma caused by the event of a missing girl found dead in a pit. The only one that it seems unaffected are Adnan’s advocates, too worried about Adnan. What was brought to the Hae Lee family, Jay, Jen and all the close witnesses was horrific trauma whether they knew it or not. Ask yourself have I ever been really traumatized? If you had a “real” trauma occur to yourself or someone very close you understand the state of mind of these witnesses. At first it’s a jumbled nightmare of images, sounds, timing of minutes, flash of seconds. I don’t doubt that Jay Wild had issues recanting events, the day was surreal, unbelievable, frightening nightmare happening in real time.
Rabia Chaudry, the woman in the video, contacted Asia the night the murderer was arrest pressing Asia for an alibi.
Rabia instructed Asia to write to Adnan in jail and make offer to Alibi, it contained enough information so that Adnan would know the alibi.
Get a copy of Asia’s first 2 letters to Adnan. Read the offer “I will do this IF you do that”
Asia never brought her information to police or the defense attorney Gutierrez. Gutierrez did know about some of the content of the letters and smelt a rat or offer to produce a false alibi and stayed away from being involved in Rabia’s invention. Gutierrez as an officer of the court could not actively seek a fraudulent alibi.
In 2000 after Adnan’s conviction, Rabia once again took up the false alibi by arriving at Asia’s house to push to sign an affidavit of her “memory”.
She did again in 2010 and 2014 mis-describing the true nature of events and the alibi.
What Rabia says is not as important as what she doesn’t say, 2 witnesses place Adnan at the center of the crime, the money poring in from the Serial podcast is flooding into a defense trust fund to which she provides direct sub-contract of the fund, or is an employee and board member. She describes herself as the public face of Adnan which is amusing in a way. She has many issues in telling the truth of events and evidence.
Her expertise is in Bio-psychology, the study of words and events on the human mind. She’s well aware how to manipulate words and emotions to change a guilty person into an innocent little boy..Most accused criminals plea innocent in order to push the District Attorney into a decision of resources against protecting the public, major trials are very costly. But in the murder of Hae Min Lee there was not going to be a plea deal, it was too horrific to the family and community..
Adnan was found guilty on the preponderance of the evidence which included a mountain of collected facts, physical evidence and witnesses. Rabia won’t accept this truth and would rather lie to the public. The plan is to get him off on a technicality, fax cover sheet.
We need to stop this activity from being a standard in our society otherwise be flooded with thousands of other misleading podcasts and public relations operations out simply to cloud fund for profit.
Don’t buy her book, it’s filled with only conjecture and no real facts or evidence.
Can you imagine a criminal and it’s advocates devising such a scam for profit from the brutal death of Hae Min Lee.
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Jay I don’t full of shit. He made sure everything happened like he said (i.e phone calls, going to polls house) but then said it was on the same day when it wasn’t. He set it all up. He’s a show off and couldn’t keep it inside. He told too many ppl. I think Jay did it cause he was batting on Adnan because of how close Adnan was to Stephanie. That’s my opinion
my opnion is that jay is the one that killed hae because
because there are no evidence that adnan was the killer and jay lied once to the cops and second to sarah then he lied in court
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Assess the seemingly contradictory evidence used against Adnan Syed during the trial. How reliable is this evidence?
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