Serial: The Burial in Leakin Park Did Not Take Place at 7:00 p.m.

The Docket –  February 13, at 1:00 p.m. est, : Just a quick note — Rabia Chaudry and I will be appearing on MSNBC Shift’s the Docket tomorrow, for a one-hour Serial special. You can watch online, it should be a good show! Unfortunately, former prosecutor Kevin Urick had to cancel and will not be joining us – but hey, that just means there will be more time for us to actually discuss the evidence in this case.

On February 16, 1999, less than a week after Hae’s body had been found in Leakin Park, a grand jury had already been convened to investigate whether Adnan should be indicted for her murder. At that point, the only evidence to suggest Adnan had been involved in her murder (or, at least, the only evidence that the prosecution has ever chosen to disclose) consisted of an anonymous phone call that was placed on February 12th, by an “Asian male 18-21 years old,” who “advised investigators [they] should concentrate on the victim’s boyfriend[,] Adna Ansyed.” With this flimsy evidence as a starting point, a grand jury began investigating Adnan, and issued a subpoena for his cellphone records.

When investigators received the location data associated with those phone records, they thought they saw something very important: the 7:09 and 7:16 p.m. calls had originated on tower L689, in Leakin Park. On the strength of these two little numbers, from the print out of a cellphone billing record, the state’s entire case was born. Adnan was in Leakin Park at 7 p.m., burying Hae’s body — or so the story goes — because the cellphone records showed he was in Leakin Park then, and Jay said he was in Leakin Park then. Case closed. From that point onward, the detectives believed that it was settled fact that Hae had been buried in the 7:00 p.m. hour, and all further evidence that they obtained was filtered, shifted, or disregarded, in whatever way was necessary to fit that theory.

And that meant filtering, shifting, and disregarding a lot of evidence. As a result of their fixation upon the 7:09 and 7:16 p.m. phone calls, the investigators and the prosecution overlooked the fact that all the rest of the evidence in the case showed that Hae had not been buried in Leakin Park shortly after 7:00 p.m., but rather had been buried at a much later time — long after the “Leakin Park phone calls,” and long after Adnan and Jay had gone their separate ways that day.

a. The Medical Examiner’s Findings

In claiming that Hae had been buried at 7 p.m., the prosecution either overlooked or ignored the fact that this timeline was contrary to the medical examiner’s findings with respect to livor mortis. As Hae’s body was found to be positioned on its right ride at the burial site in Leakin Park, and as the pattern of lividity found by the medical examiner showed that Hae had been left on her front for an extended period of time after her death, her body was not buried until at least eight hours after her death, and most likely even longer than that.

Hae’s body was positioned on its right side:

When Mr. S led investigators to the burial site in Leakin Park, they found Hae’s body was laid out on its right side, in a shallow depression behind a log, and covered over with dirt and large rocks. The positioning of the body was confirmed by the report of the medical examiner:

The body was found in the woods, buried in a shallow grave with the hair, right foot, left knee, and left hip partially exposed. The body was on her right side. (Autopsy Report.)

In accordance with the prosecution’s MO in this case (and, presumably, many other cases during this time period) there are no written records aside from the autopsy report which documents the position of Hae’s body at the burial site. Although a forensic anthropologist, Dr. William Rodriguez Ill, Ph.D., was present at the crime scene to oversee the disinterment of Hae’s body, he never produced any written reports of his findings or observations. This was part of the state’s litigation strategy, pursuant to which those involved in the investigation refrained from committing their findings to paper whenever possible — because if an investigator’s findings were not preserved in writing, then the prosecution could not be required to produce that writing to the defense.

As a result, everything we know about Dr. Rodriguez’s analysis of the crime scene comes from oral statements that he made in the months after Hae’s body was found. His first statement was made to Prosecutor Kathleen Murphy, on July 31, 1999, and following his statement, Murphy took notes concerning the portions of it that she deemed to be worth writing down. The result was a brief, five-line memorandum, which had the following to say about how Hae had been buried:

Rocks piled on her. Area had been dug out. Dirt over it. Large rocks on body, one on hand. Keep animals from dragging body off. Way body is exposed – animal activity.

Soil samples: typical of wooded area, highly organic. Collected plants, green plant material underneath. Couldn’t tell if tool used.

Notably, the fact the body was positioned on its right side was absent from the prosecutor’s brief memo. However, although Dr. Rodriguez also avoided ever testifying at trial as to how the body had been positioned at the burial site, his testimony did indirectly confirm that Hae had been buried on her side:

Dr. Rodriguez: Well, here we see in this photograph a number of the leaf debris has been brushed away. We can see we’re beginning some excavation to trowel out around the body producing its outline. You can see the leg here bent at the knee (1/28/00 Tr. 164).

If the body had been laid out frontally, in a way that could have been consistent with the livor mortis findings, then photographs would not have been able to depict the leg “bent at the knee” unless the leg had been sticking straight up in the air — a fact which I assume would have been noted, had that been the case.

Additionally, evidence that Hae’s body had been buried on its right side also comes from Jay’s initial statements to the police, and his descriptions of how Hae had been buried. Although Jay’s statements are useless when its comes to figuring out the truth of what happened on January 13, 1999, they are very useful when it comes to figuring out what the investigators knew about the crime, and when they knew it. Based on Jay’s first interview, the investigators knew that Hae had been buried on her right side, because they made sure that Jay specified those facts in his statement:

Detective: She’s face down, what side is she laying on?
Jay: Her right I think.
Detective: Right side?
Jay: Yeah. (Int.1 at 17-18.)

The detective’s obvious coaching of Jay’s statement shows that the detective, at least, knew that the body had been positioned on its right side.

Livor mortis was present only on the anterior surface of the body:

As noted in the autopsy report, livor mortis was fixed on the body’s anterior surface:

Rigor was broken to an equal degree in all extremities. Lividity was present and fixed on the anterior surface of the body, except in areas exposed to pressure. [L]livor mortis was prominently seen on the anterior-upper chest and face . A poorly defined paranasal areas of dark discoloration of the skin was seen extending into the right face which approximately measured 1-1/2″ x 2″. (Autopsy Report.)

I have looked at the autopsy photos, and the Autopsy Report is accurate in how it describes the pattern of livor mortis. The only visible lividity is on the body’s chest and neck, and it is equal in both prominence and coverage area on the right and left sides. There is no observable lividity in the limbs, and there are no observable differences between the right and left limbs. In other words: everything about the autopsy findings is consistent with livor mortis.

Moreover, at trial, Dr. Korell testified that the body was on its front at the time livor mortis became fixed:

CG: [T]he livor you [observed] was frontal?
Dr. Korell: Yes.
. . .
CG: So that, that would tell you that the body was face down when the livor was fixed.
Dr. Korell: Right.
. . .
CG: And that wouldn’t happen if the body post-death were on its side.
Dr. Korell: Correct.
CG: From your observations. . . [Y]ou can only tell us that livor fixed on the front of the body.
Dr. Korell: Correct.
CG: Which would indicate that at the time livor fixed, sometime post-death, that she was laid frontally.
Dr. Korell: Yes.
CG: And that’s all you can tell us.
Dr. Korell: Correct. (2/02/00 Tr. 69-70.)

Why Hae could not have been buried at 7 p.m.:

According to the prosecution, Hae was dead by 2:30 p.m., and buried at around 7:16 p.m. — a little under five hours after her death. However, as is generally accepted by every single person other than Urick who is familiar with this case, Hae was not dead by 2:30. Multiple witnesses saw her at school at 2:30 p.m., and at least two witnesses have stated that they saw her alive at school as late as 2:45 (Summer) or 3 p.m. (Debbie) that day. The earlier plausible time of death is about 3:15 p.m., which means that, if the state’s theory about the Leakin Park cellphone pings is correct, she was buried approximately 4 to 4.5 hours after death.

Why is this significant? Because it means that the only way she could have been buried in the 7:00 p.m. hour is if someone later came back, disinterred the body, rolled it onto its side, and buried it again.

The lividity on Hae’s body was found solely (and prominently) on her anterior, which means that for at least eight hours after her death, and possibly much longer, her body was laid out on its front. Only after the livor mortis had become fixed — at least 8 and possibly as much as  24 hours later — could she have been buried on her side as the investigators found her.

For a more in-depth analysis of the significance of the lividity findings, you need to read Evidence Prof’s comprehensive analysis of this issue. To summarize they key points, however,

After a period of time, usually not less than eight hours, sometimes a much longer period of time, the pooling of the blood, the lividity will fix in the tissues where it is settled up until about eight hours or so.

If one moves a body, if a body is found face down, and four or five hours after death this individual is found and the body is turned over, placed on the back, then the pooling of blood will change direction and start pooling toward the back. But after a period of eight to twelve hours, the blood is fixed in that location. So that moving the body will not alter the distribution of the lividity.

As this applies specifically to the current case, a forensic medical investigator had the following to say:

According to the forensic medical investigator, if Lee was in the trunk on her side for five hours or more, she would have a good deal of lividity indicating that she was on her side. Because the autopsy report showed that the primary lividity was frontal, she would have needed to be face down. If she was on her side for about five hours after death, she would have less lividity in the front, and they would have been able to say that she was moved from side to frontal exposure. Again, if the change in position was closer to four hours after death, the lividity could be more mixed. Finally, even if it took twelve hours for Lee’s lividity to become fixed, her lividity was all frontal, and this could not have happened in the trunk of a car unless she was somehow in a position that was consistent with solely frontal lividity.

Consequently, the only possible way Hae could have been buried at 7 p.m. is if the following series of events occurred:

  1. By no later than about 4:30 or 5pm (depending on the timeline), Hae’s body was removed from the Sentra and laid out frontally;
  2. Two hours later, the body was put back in the Sentra;
  3. Sometime shortly after 7:16 p.m., Hae was buried in Leakin Park on her front; and
  4. Someone returned at a later time after lividity had been fixed (which would have occurred anywhere between 11 p.m. on January 13th and 3 p.m. on January 14th, but owing to the cold conditions was more likely later rather than sooner), dug the body up, repositioned it, and then re-buried it again.

As there is no way to reconcile these events with either Jay’s timeline or the prosecution’s timeline (in which Hae’s body was left in the Sentra for 4 to 5 hours after death), the only plausible conclusion is that (a) Hae was not left in the Sentra for an extended period of time after her death; and (b) Hae was not buried at 7:00 p.m. on January 13th.

We do, in fact, have additional evidence that support the burial in Leakin Park taking place only after livor mortis had become fixed. In Jay’s interview with the Intercept, he had the following to say:

NVC: Ok. So then [after the pick-up at Best Buy] you and Adnan parted ways?

Jay: Yes. He left in his car and I was trying to collect myself at my [grandmother’s] house. I was pretty distraught, fucked up, feeling guilty for not saying nothing. I don’t know whether he calls me when he’s on his way back to my house, or if he calls me right outside the house. He calls me and says ‘I’m outside,’ so I come outside to talk to him and followed him to a different car, not his. He said, ‘You’ve gotta help me, or I’m gonna tell the cops about you and the weed and all that shit.’ And then he popped the trunk and I saw Hae’s body. She looked kinda purple, blue, her legs were tucked behind her, she had stockings on, none of her clothes were removed, nothing like that. She didn’t look beat up.

If the body looked “kinda purple,” then what Jay is describing took place several hours after Hae’s death, after lividity had already developed to a significant degree. This is consistent with a burial taking place in the early hours of January 14th, and not at 7 p.m. on January 13th.

b. Evidence from the Burial Site

The medical examiner’s findings are not the only evidence from the burial site that demonstrate the absurdity of the prosecution’s 7:00 p.m. burial theory. As discussed above, Prosecutor Murphy’s notes of Dr. Rodriguez’s description of the burial site provided the following:

Rocks piled on her. Area had been dug out. Dirt over it. Large rocks on body, one on hand.

The “large rocks” used in burying Hae’s body cannot be reconciled with Jay’s descriptions of Hae’s 7 p.m. burial, however, because there are no rocks larger than pebbles in the area immediately around where Hae was buried. The only rocks of substantial size are found in the Dead Run creek bed, which is about 50 feet past the grave site (1/31/00 Tr. 109). Someone who wanted to gather rocks would not just be able to walk back and grab them, however. Dead Run’s banks are steep and uneven, and the creek bed itself is about four feet lower than the bank edge. Getting down to the bank to collect rocks would require an awkward scramble, and then climbing back out again while holding onto large rocks would be even trickier. In the dark, with no moon and no flashlights, it would be a treacherous and messy process; it could not be done either quickly or without getting scratched up and muddy.

Moreover, Jay also says there was snow on the ground when he and Adnan were burying the body. However, the temperatures had reached a high of 57 degrees on the day of the murder — any snow on the ground would have been melting, and melting snow would have resulted in even more mud, and even more treacherous footing, than there otherwise would have been.

After spending half an hour digging a hole in hard ground, and then spending however much longer scrambling up and down the Dead Run banks to gather rocks in the creek and carry them back to the burial site, the mud and dirt on their clothes would have been noticeable. In order to avoid attracting considerable attention after the burial, they would have needed very much to change their clothes before being seen in public again.

c. Traffic Conditions Make a 7 p.m. Burial Time Highly Implausible

The road that runs through Leakin Park, and off of which Hae was buried, is not a highway, but it is no desolate back road, either. North Franklintown Road is a by-pass street with significant traffic, and during the evening rush hour there would have been a steady flow of commuters driving by. A car pulled over on the side of the road for longer than a few brief moments would have been noticed, and brought unwanted attention. More importantly, however, there is no possible way someone pulled over on the side of N. Franklintown Road could have removed a body from a trunk without running a huge risk of being seen by a car passing by. (Moreover, as the burial site is positioned just after a bend in the road, anyone at the pull-over spot would be unable to tell if a car was just about to approach from that direction! Even if there was a break in the traffic, there would be no way to know how long it might last.)

Despite this, the prosecution wanted the jury to believe that Adnan would have pulled his car over to the side of N. Franklintown Road, during  the tail-end of the evening rush hour, and then pulled Hae’s body out of the trunk by himself before somehow dragging or carrying it back into the woods — all without being seen by the many cars that would have been driving past at 7pm. This did not happen; it is crazy to think that someone trying to bury a body would have been that reckless, or, if they were that reckless, could have carried out the murder and buried the body without being seen by anyone.

d. The Witness Statements from Jay and Jenn

When the police interviewed Jenn and Jay, on February 27th and 28th respectively, their stories were remarkably consistent with respect to Jay’s alibi during the probable time of Hae’s death, but were irreconcilable with regard to the series of events that took place later that evening, and, in particular, where Jay went after burying Hae’s body and ditching Hae’s car. Jenn told the police that she picked up Jay from Westview Mall at 8 p.m.; Jay, in contrast, told the cops that he went home immediately after the burial and Jenn picked him up from his house.

These are completely different stories, and both cannot be true. Or rather, both cannot be true if you accept the prosecution’s theory of the 7 p.m. burial. Once you strip away the artificial timeline imposed by the investigators, though, both of their versions of events can easily be reconciled: Adnan dropped Jay off at Westview at 8 p.m., and Jay went immediately home after burying Hae. This is because Jenn and Jay’s statements were descriptions of two completely separate events, which had occurred at two very different points in time. Jenn’s story takes place at 8 p.m., when she picks Jay up from Westview Mall, after Jay and Adnan had spent the evening hanging out together. Jay’s story takes place many hours later, after he finishes up with burying the body in Leakin Park in the early morning hours of the 14th, and immediately heading home to change his clothes, due to the dirt he was covered in.

Let’s start with Jenn’s statements. On February 27th, Jenn told police about the day when Adnan’s cellphone had made several calls to her home phone. According to Jenn, she had hung out with Jay in the middle of the afternoon, and that after leaving her place “well after 3:45 p.m.,” he later paged her around 8 p.m., asking her to pick him up from Westview Mall. When she got to the mall, Adnan and Jay pulled up, and Jay hopped out of Adnan’s car and got into hers, at which point Jay launched into the story about how “Adnar killed Hae” [sic].

What Jenn doesn’t say is that Hae had been buried at 7:00 p.m., or that her body had been buried in Leakin Park, or that she had even been buried at all. The detectives — misled by their erroneous fixation on the 7:09 and 7:16 p.m. calls — interpreted Jenn’s statements as a description of how the burial had, indeed, taken place shortly after 7:00 p.m., in accordance with their interpretation of the phone records, but that’s an inference that they drew, not a statement that came from Jenn.

Because according to her, Jay’s story about what he and Adnan had done in the 7:00 p.m. hour had involved travelling to the city to be dropped off at “some broad’s house”:

Detective: When he made reference to going down into the city he said he dropped him off at some house and he had to pick him back up, did he say whose house that he took him to?

Jenn: No, ah he did say to a different broad’s house, he said a different chick’s house, chick’s house.

So according to Jenn, Jay told her that he and Adnan had been visiting “a different chick’s house” in the 7:00 p.m. hour. Jenn’s statement therefore does not corroborate the 7:00 p.m. burial theory, because she is very clear that she has no idea what Adnan and Jay were up to prior to her picking him up at Westview. At trial, Jenn stood by her February 27th statement to the police, and told exactly the same story about what had happened regarding the pick-up in Westview Mall:

Detective: About what time, if you know, did you receive that message from Jay?
Jenn: About eight o’clock . . . he paged me to tell me to come pick him up at Westview Mall parking lot.
. . .
Detective: So at some point then you picked up Mr. Wilds?
Jenn: Yes.
Detective: And where was that?
Jenn: In front of Value City at Westview Mall.
Detective: Was anybody with Jay?
Jenn: Yes.
Detective: Who was that?
Jenn: Adnan.
Detective: . . . Did you have any conversation with Adnan at that point?
Jenn: He spoke and said hello.
Detective: Where did you first see Adnan and Jay?
Jenn: In front of Westview Mall in the Value City parking lot.
Detective: In the parking lot. Were they walking?
Jenn: No, they were in the car. They pulled up after I was parked there.
Detective: Who was driving?
Jenn: Adnan.
. . .
Detective: What happened next?
Jenn: Jay got in the car and we left the parking lot.
Detective: How was Jay behaving at that point in time?
. . .
Jenn: He didn’t act normal, no, not like normal, not yet. (2/15/00 Tr. 190-93.)

Notably, Jenn’s description of Adnan does not fit someone who has just killed his girlfriend in a jealous rage, buried her body, and then flipped through her wallet searching for cash before tossing it in a dumpster. In contrast with Jay’s odd behavior that evening, Jenn said that Adnan had “acted just normal,” during their short encounter at the mall, and that nothing about him or his appearance had stood out to her (2/16/00 Tr. 137). What Jenn is describing is someone casually dropping a friend off before going on his own way for the evening — because that’s exactly what the pick-up at Westview Mall was.

The detectives ignored numerous other indications from Jenn’s statement that should have alerted them to the fact that the burial in Leakin Park had not occurred minutes before Jenn picked Jay up at Westview Mall. For instance, Jenn told the police that she noticed nothing unusual about either Jay or Adnan at the time of this encounter:

Detective: Did you notice anything about his clothing, that ah, there were disheveled, soiled, or anything like that?

Jenn: No, they didn’t look dirty. They didn’t look any different than they normally looked, than they looked before, like when he got to my house at one or one-thirty, they didn’t look any different than then. (Jenn Int. at 15.)

That Adnan and Jay did not look disheveled or soiled is a serious mark against the prosecution’s 7 p.m. burial theory. If Adnan and Jay had — contrary to logic, reason, and medical science — actually buried Hae at 7 p.m. and covered her body with rocks, they would have been noticeably filthy.

Jay’s own statements confirm this. During all three of his recorded police interviews, Jay’s story was remarkably consistent as to one important detail: after burying the body and ditching the car, the first thing he did was to go to his mother’s house.

In Jay’s first statement, his description of how Hae was buried ends with him driving himself home, in Adnan’s car:

Detective: Okay, so he parks the car there, he gets all these articles belonging to Hae Lee, out of the vehicle?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: Then what happened?
Jay: Um I said “fuck this” and drive myself home and on the way home he’s like “stop here, stop behind.”
Detective: He gets in the car with you?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: Okay
Jay: And I drive myself home and on the way home he’s like “stop here.” We stopped at ah Westview and one of the dumpster’s behind Westview he threw all the stuff in. Um.
Detective: Where did you discard the clothing?
Jay: Um I put mine in the trash at my house, put it out in the trash?
Detective: Why did you do that?
Jay: I didn’t want to be roped up in anything, anyway, anyhow.
Detective: Since this happened back on January the 13th.
Jay: Yes. (Int.1 at 22.)

(Note that this is, in some respects, very similar to his trial testimony. At the second trial, Jay stated that he threw his clothes away because of concerns about the dirt, and when asked “what significance would dirt have had,” Jay stated that, “It would have tied me in. It could have placed me wherever. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.” This seems to be exactly the same sentiment he was expressing in his first interview.)

In his second statement, Jay began to incorporate details from Jenn’s interview — which would have either been supplied by the investigators or by Jenn herself — but he continued to maintain that Adnan dropped him off at home, and Jenn then picked him up from his house:

Jay: We drive for a couple of dumpster down, he pulls them out of the back seat places them in the dumpster.
Detective: Then what do you do?
Jay: From there um, we leave, we go up Route 40. On the way up Route 40, I think I may have paged my friend Jen, back to, paged her from his phone to my house. Um, I get out of his car, I go in my house, Jenny calls me back, I tell her I need, I need to talk to her, um, its real important. And for her to come and get me. She comes right over, um, I take my clothes from that day, I put them in a plastic bag. Um, I go out to to the car with Jen.
. . .
Detective: Jenn had come over to your house to pick you up?
Jay: Yes, ah- huh.
. . .
Detective: And you got in the car with her.
Jay: Yes.
Detective: And you were gonna dump your clothes?
Jay: Yes.
Detective: And what dumpster did you go too?
Jay: F & M, the one behind the ah, F & M inaudible on Route 40.
Detective: And what did you throw in there?
Jay: All my clothes , it was ah, they were in a giant plastic bag. (Int.2 at 39, 41.)

In Jay’s third interview, he repeated the same story, as shown by the police notes taken during his statement:

Dumpster, blue.
Adnan thru [the shovels] in,
Adnan drives out to [Route] 40, then home. (Int.3 at 24.)

At trial, Jay changed his story and claimed he — and not Adnan — threw the shovels in the dumpster, but other than that, he gives the same story as he did in his statements:

Urick: What if anything did you do next?
Jay: I told him to pull over out back of Value City [at Westview Mall]. I took both of my shovels. They were mine but I just chucked them, threw them. What if anything did you do next? I believe I told him to take me around to the front of the mall. I think I might have paged Jenn from there again but I can’t quite remember. I believe he took me home. I may have paged Jenn from the front of the mall but I believe he took me home. I got to my house and I was in my house for maybe five minutes. I instantaneously changed all my clothes and put them all in a bag. (2/4/00 Tr. 157.)

Jay also confirmed that the reason he “instantaneously” changed all of his clothes after the burial was because of the dirt on him:

CG: Well Mr. Wilds, you’ve told before that you threw away your clothes because you were concerned what they might show, right?
Jay: Yes. ma’am.
CG: The dirt, right?
Jay: Yes, ma’am. (2/11/00 Tr. 89.)

Consistency is a scarce commodity when it comes to Jay’s statements; the few times he is consistent are therefore worth paying attention too. Again and again, Jay has said exactly the same thing — that after the burial, he immediately went home, changed out of his clothes, and put them all in a bag. I don’t say this often, but when it comes to his statements about what happened after finishing up with the burial and ditching Hae’s car, well, I believe Jay. He tells a logical and consistent story that is not contradicted by any physical evidence or reliable witnesses, and the list of Jay Statements for which that can be said is very short indeed. In fact, that may be the only statement on it.

Moreover, Jay’s claim about immediately going home after the burial is wholly consistent with Jenn’s statements — if it is understood that the burial happened late on the night of the 13th or early in the morning on the 14th. Because Jenn also says that she picked Jay up at his house, and then drove him to a dumpster. It is just that she claims this happened on January 14th, not January 13th:

Jenn: Um and at sometime during the 14th, on that day I went to see Jay again, at his house. I picked him up and ah he had his boots with him as well as his inaudible jacket that he had on the night before and he asked me if I would take him to F & M parking lot. I took him to F & M parking lot and we drove around the back until we saw a dumpster, which is actually I think maybe behind the baby store rather than F & M. I don’t, inaudible the parking lot and we parked pretty far to the end of the shopping center and Jay threw his clothes boots in the dumpster. Got back in the car. (Jenn Int. at 23.)

Jenn repeats this story at trial:

CG: What happened when you saw Jay the next day?
Jenn: He asked me about taking him to F & M.
CG: Did he say why?
Jenn: He wanted to go to F & M and he wanted to go I guess back to get rid of the clothes and boots that he had on. (2/15/00 Tr. 98.)

Also significant is what is omitted from Jenn’s stories — which is anything involving Jay changing his clothes after she picked him up from Westview. According to Jenn, after she gets Jay from the mall, Jay goes to visit Stephanie’s, goes to a sorority party at UMBC, and goes to Cathy’s house. If the burial took place at 7:00 p.m., then Jay did all of this while wearing the muddy clothes he wore while burying Hae in Leakin Park!

But if the burial took place in the early morning hours of January 14th, then Jenn’s and Jay’s statements fall into place one another: (1) Jay immediately went home after the burial; (2) Jay immediately took off his clothes, because of the dirt; (3) Jenn picked Jay up at Jay’s house after the burial; and (4) Jay asked Jenn to take him to the F&M dumpster so he could throw away his clothes.

And if all of this evidence disposal was taking place on the 14th, this means that the 8 p.m. pick-up at Westview Mall was nothing more than a mundane end to a mundane evening of hanging out and smoking weed. It was not the culmination of a frantic body burial and car disposal, which is why Jay did not change his clothes after. Similarly, the reason Jenn said that Adnan “seemed just like he normally seems” during this encounter was because Adnan was, in fact, just like he normally was.

e. Wiping Down the “Shovel or Shovels”

As discussed above, there are numerous reasons why Jenn’s February 27th police statement does not support the 7 p.m. burial theory. In contrast, the only portion of Jenn’s statement that provides even the barest support the detective’s claims about a 7 p.m. burial comes form her garbled and confused references to shovel(s) at Westview Mall:

Jenn: Jay said “I don’t know where he took the body um but he used my shovel” or shovels. I don’t know whether it was one or two . He’s like, “Well, I know where the shovel or shovels are,” and I said, “Okay, so what do you want me to do?” He says, “Will you take me to the shovels or shovel,” and I said “Sure. Where are the shovels or shovel,” and he said “they are at the mall parking lot.”

This could be read to imply that the burial had already occurred by the time of the 8 p.m. pick-up — and that’s exactly how the investigators choose to interpret it. The nonsensical nature of this portion of Jenn’s tale shows that something is amiss with what she was saying, however. Why would Jay have needed to pretend to leave Westview Mall, before he could go back and wipe down the shovels? When did Jay and Adnan have an opportunity to throw the shovels away in the Westview dumpsters, if Jenn arrived at the mall before they did? Why does Jenn keep forgetting when the shovel wipe-down happened, and changing the order of events in which it occurred?

The answer is that the pick-up at 8 p.m. and the wiping down of the shovels occurred at two separate times. Jay’s own testimony shows that Jenn took him to the dumpster where the shovels were at the same time that she took him to throw away his clothes at the F&M dumpster:

Jay: My mother kept trying to talk to me. I was real agitated. I just left real quick. I got into Jenn’s car and I told Jenn to drive back around to the shovels. I was getting real panicky like, paranoid. She drives back around to the shovels. I wipe both the shovels down with the sleeve of my coat. I take the coat that I wipe them down with and I put it in the bag. (2/4/00 Tr. 158.)

Jay is clear that Jenn picked him up at his house before taking him to the mall dumpsters to wipe down the shovels. So why, then, does Jenn’s police statement include the confused references to leaving the mall, before immediately turning around to wipe down the shovels? For the same reason that many of Jay’s statements are confused and garbled: the pre-interview. Much has been made of Jay’s pre-interviews — the portions of his police interviews that took place before the tape recorder was turned on — but what has been overlooked is that Jenn also had an unrecorded pre-interview session with the detectives, lasting approximately two hours and 45 minutes:

On 27 February 1999, at approximately 1300 hours, Detectives William F. Ritz and Gregory S. MacGillivary had the occasion to respond to the home of James Fowley, attorney, of the Law Offices of Fowley and Selkey.

Mr. Fowley indicated that he was representing one Jennifer Pusateri who had information concerning the death of Hae Min Lee.

An interview was conducted as to Ms. Pusateri’s knowledge of the homicide currently being investigated.

Subsequently, Ms. Pusateri along with her attorney responded to the Offices of Homicide where a taped interview was conducted.

Note that, at the beginning of Jenn’s recorded interview, the time given by Detective MacGillivary shows that nearly three hours has elapsed since the start of the pre-interview:

Detective: Today’s date is the 27th of February. It’s approximately quarter of four in the afternoon. We’re currently at 601 E. Fayette Street, ah the offices of Homicide, specifically ah the Colonel’s conference room. (Jenn Int. at 1.)

Whatever took place in the 2 hours and 45 minutes between the start of the pre-interview and the start of the recorded interview is, by design, largely unknown. We do know, however, that Jenn was shown at least some, and maybe all, of the call records from Adnan’s phone — and based on her confused statements about the shovels, it seems she was also exposed to the detectives’ erroneous 7 p.m. burial theory.

f. Jay’s Clothing

Jay’s story about changing his clothes immediately after the burial is one of the few stories he ever manages to tell twice (and one of the even fewer stories he manages to tell in at least the majority of his statements). It is also a detail the detectives would have had no motive to encourage Jay to include in his statement, and is not a statement that benefits Jay in any particular way. It should be taken seriously — or at least, if Jay’s story is to have even the tiniest shred of credibility, it should be taken seriously.

Because if Jay cannot be believed when he repeats the same chronology of events in every single statement he has ever given, when he has no reason whatsoever to lie about those events, then nothing of Jay’s story should be believed at all. Jay consistently stated that the clothes he was wearing during the burial — and that, afterwards, he threw into the dumpsters behind F&M — consisted of “tan jeans,” boots, and a “wool plaid coat”:

Detective: Which articles of clothing that you had on that you put in the bag?
Jay: Um, plaid coat, ah, tan jeans, and a pair of boots. (Int.2 at 41.)


Detective: Do you recall what type of clothing you had on?
Jay: Ah um I think I had on a pair of tan jeans, some work boots and a plaid coat, like a wool plaid coat. (Int.1 at 21.)

However, while Jay is uncharacteristically consistent about what he was wearing when he buried Hae in Leakin Park, it does not match the statements from other witnesses. Jenn, for example, stated that Jay had been wearing all black when she picked him up from Westview Mall:

Detective: Do you recall what Jay was wearing?
Jenn: I guess it’s like a black pair of pants . . . they’re khaki-type pants, [ ] but they’re black, and a black button-down shirt, short sleeves, all black I guess. (Jenn Int. at 11.)

Similarly, Cathy told the police that when Jay returned to her apartment later that night with Jenn, at around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m., he was wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing earlier that day, when he came to her place with Adnan:

Detective: When Jay came back [with Jenn] was he wearing . . . the same outfit he had worn when he first appeared in your apartment?

Cathy: I would have noticed if he had changed his clothes, so I am that no,  it was the same outfit. (Cathy Int. at 16.)

All of these apparent inconsistencies evaporate, though, if it is understood that the burial took place after — not before — Jay’s visits with Jenn and Cathy on the night of January 13th.

g. Cellphone Records

As a result of the prosecution’s decision to use a limited form of the cellphone data, rather than to use the more comprehensive records that were available to them, whatever evidentiary value the location data might have had was significantly diminished. As I have previously discussed, the call records used by the prosecution were not the Call Detail Records (CDRs) typically used in criminal cases or produced pursuant to subpoenas, but a more limited form of billing record, of uncertain origin. This may be why AT&T prefaced those records with a fax sheet specifying that “[a]ny incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information for location” — it could be the result of known problem with that particular dataset, or the way in which that type of billing record was recorded and reproduced. We just don’t know, because no one ever looked into it.

The records that AT&T could have produced — and what the prosecution should have had AT&T produce — were the more detailed CDRs providing data such as the numbers for incoming calls, and the cell tower that phone calls started and ended on. These records might also not have been subject to whatever data limitations were present in the records used by the prosecution, and which caused AT&T to include a disclaimer as to incoming call reliability.

But even aside from the question of incoming call reliability, the prosecution should have acquired the detailed CDRs data showing location data for both points: what tower the phone was using when the call started, and what tower the phone was using when the call ended. AT&T no longer has that information, and it is unavailable now, but it is clear that the data existed in 1999 — and was presented in some form to the investigators.

The problem is, the tower data on the detailed CDR records has been redacted in the copy that was handed over to the defense before trial:

CDR - Redacted

Had it been produced in its entirety (rather than produced with half the page cut off), this document would have resembled the Subscriber Activity Report seen here, which was produced by AT&T in a different case. On these records, the ICell column identifies starting tower, and LCell column identifies ending tower; information for only the start or the end of each call (it is unclear which) is all that was provided on the records used by the prosecution.

I have no idea who redacted the tower data, but if AT&T did so, I’m not sure how to explain it — because this document was produced in response to a subpoena requesting AT&T to produce the addresses for “(13) cell site locations.” In other words, at the time this document was requested, the investigators already knew that there were 13 tower sectors that Adnan’s phone had pinged on January 13, 1999, which is something they could not have known without already having the tower names (if not the addresses) in their possession.

AT&T might still have redacted the tower names for unknown reasons, but even so, the investigators should have gone back to request that this detailed form of the location data be produced. Without knowing the starting or ending locations of calls, there is no way to determine whether the phone was stationary or in a moving car at the time of the call. This means that, whether it was through design or ignorance, the cellphone records used by the prosecution were of even more limited relevance than they should have been. Because for all we know, had the data in the ICell and LCell columns not been redacted, it would have shown that Adnan’s phone was connecting through a tower miles away from Leakin Park by the end of the 7:16 p.m. call. Or maybe not. The point is, that data would have been useful, and could even have been exonerating, and we will never know. But the detectives’ entire theory of the 7:00 p.m. burial was based upon the 7:09 and 7:16 p.m. calls, and that theory might have been conclusively refuted by the cell records, had an unredacted copy of the records been available.

h. Jay’s Testimony Concerning the 7:09 and 7:16 p.m. Calls

Jay told the police that after getting Hae’s car from the Park’n’Ride, Adnan told him to go wait for him at McDonald’s, while Adnan took care of some unspecified task. Jay, always obedient to Adnan, obliged his request, and headed back to the McDonald’s near the Best Buy, where he waited for 20 minutes before Adnan finally showed up again in Hae’s car. Jay then followed Adnan as they drove around for 45 minutes, aimlessly exploring west Baltimore. Jay even told the police that he and Adnan made a second Patapsco trip during this time period.

Everything Jay described was a complete lie, however, if Hae was buried at 7 p.m. Why? Because of the 6:59 and 7:00 p.m. calls to Yaser and Jenn respectively. Since the phone calls were only a minute apart, and since only Adnan would call Yaser and only Jay would call Jenn, Jay and Adnan must have been together at the time. This means that, according to Jay’s story, those two calls must have been made either while Adnan and Jay were driving up to the Park’n’Ride (or possibly while stopped at the McDonald’s) — after which Jay and Adnan spent 45 minutes driving around town, in separate cars. As Jay also claims that he had Adnan were busy digging Hae’s grave when the 7:09 and 7:16 calls were received, however; there is no way they could have driven around for 45 minutes after leaving the McDonald’s, and then nine minutes later been  busy digging a hole in Leakin Park.

But if the burial took place late that night, Jay could easily be describing something that actually happened, when those involved in the murder drove all over west Baltimore at 2 or 3 a.m., trying to find somewhere to bury Hae’s body.

The phone records prove Jay’s story about the 7:00, 7:09, and 7:16 calls to be false in another respect, as well. At trial, Jay testified that the 7:00 p.m. call had been made after he and Adnan dug a hole, and while he was about a half-mile away from Adnan, parked up on Briarclift road:

KU, referring to the call log: Do you recognize th[is] number?
Jay: Yes . . . That’s [Jenn’s] old pager number.
KU: And please look across and tell us the time of the call?
Jay: Seven o’clock, seven and twenty-one seconds.
KU: And the length of the call?
Jay: Twenty-three seconds.
KU: With the court’s permission, I’m going to write “Pusateri pager” on line twelve. . . . Do you remember that page?
Jay: Yes.
KU: What were you doing?
Jay: I was sitting, waiting for Adnan to come back up the hill when I placed that page. (2/04/99 Tr. 149-150.)

In testifying that he was on Briarclift at the time of the 7:00 p.m. call, Jay either committed perjury, or provided proof that the prosecution’s cellphone evidence was meaningless data that cannot be used to prove anything about the cellphone’s location — because the 7:00 p.m. call originated on L651A, the Woodlawn tower, and according to the expert witness’s test results, it would have been impossible for a call from Briarclift to originate on L651A.

Then again, we don’t even need the cellphone data to show that Jay is lying about this call. If Jay had the phone with him on Briarclift while Adnan was a half mile away at the gravesite, moving Hae’s body into the grave, how did Adnan make the 6:59 p.m. phone call to Yaser?

i. Other Evidence

Jay’s, Jenn’s, and Cathy’s statements and testimonies are littered with details that suggest or are consistent with a burial that occurred much later than 8 p.m. on January 13th. None of these details, on their own, disprove the detectives’ 7 p.m. burial theory. For instance, Jay described, in multiple statements, how he paused to take smoke breaks while burying Hae:

Detective: And during the digging process do you assist him at all?

Jay: No, not at all. I sat there and smoked a cigarette on a log. It’s kind of like I don’t believe what happened. (Int.1 at 18.)

The problem is, according to Cathy, Jay left his smokes at her place:

Detective: When did [Jenn and Jay] come back [to your apartment]?
Cathy: It was no later than 11:00, um I’m thinking like around 10 or 10:30, but I can’t be really sure. It was a while after um, Jay and Adnan had left, but Jay had left his cigarettes and his hat there, so I was assuming that Jay was going to come back for them at some point. (Cathy Int. at 14.)

Sure, maybe Jay happened to have two packages of cigarettes on him that day — or maybe the cigarettes he was smoking were the ones he recovered from Cathy’s house, after returning there with Jenn.

I could go on with these kinds of examples all day, but here are a few more:

  • Jay is consistent that the digging tools came from his house (although whether the digging tools are two shovels, or one shovel and one pick, changes depending on the story), but Jay alternates between saying that he picked up the shovels and puts them in the car, and saying that Adnan picked up the shovels and put them in the car. This could suggest different people involved in the shovel pick-up scenario, as Jay as difficulty keeping who did what straight.
  • Jay repeatedly mixes up the order in which he and Adnan pick up the shovels and pick up Hae’s car from the Park’n’Ride, suggesting that his memory of the order of these events may have been fabricated.
  • In Jay’s first interview he never specifies what time the burial in Leakin Park occurs. Although he gives a rough chronology of events, he avoids stating when events in the park took place.
  • Jenn remembers that it was raining when Jay asked her to drive him to the dumpsters to throw away his clothes, which is consistent with the clothes being thrown away on the 14th.

j. The Intercept Interview

Lastly, Jay’s most recent statement, in his December 2014 interview with the Intercept, provides even further support that the burial took place sometime much later than 7 p.m. on January 13th. Prior to Serial, Jay had given six statements about his involvement in Hae’s murder and the subsequent cover up. Four of these statements were in police interviews (February 28th, March 15th, March 18th, and April 13th), and two were in his testimonies at Adnan’s trials. During all of these statements, Jay was faced with significant pressure and direction from the detectives and the prosecution, and his story adapted like a mimic octopus to fit whatever narrative was desired by the authority figure he was dealing with.

Consequently, despite the multitude of Jay statements that already existed, Jay’s interview with the Intercept was the very first time that Jay had ever told his story while free of any external pressures or influences. As a result, Jay’s statements to the Intercept deviated significantly from his earlier testimony — and in many respects appear to have been the most truthful account that he has given yet.

Jay told Natasha Vargas-Cooper that, after leaving Cathy’s place that evening, he “d[idn’t] remember if he dropped me off at my house or if I got a ride from somebody else,” but that he and Adnan then went their separate ways. This part is wholly consistent with Jenn’s story about Westview Mall; after leaving Cathy’s, Adnan dropped Jay off at Westview, where he got a ride with Jenn. Jay also said, in the Intercept interview, that after that he and Adnan went their separate ways, Adnan did not show up again until hours later, when he showed up to ask Jay for help with burying the body:

NVC: Did you go to Leakin Park immediately after agreeing to help?

Jay: No. Adnan left and then returned to my house several hours later, closer to midnight in his own car. He came back with no tools or anything. He asked me if I had shovels, so I went inside my house and got some gardening tools. . . . So, as I’m riding with him to [Leakin] park and it starts raining and I’m thinking to myself as he pulls over—and I’m thinking this is the spot he’s chosen [to bury the body].”

Jay’s new statements fits the available physical evidence in a way none of his previous statements ever did, and is far more coherent besides. First, we know that it was not raining on the afternoon of the 13th, but that it did begin to rain a little after 4am on the morning of the 14th — consistent with the story Jay told the Intercept. Second, a burial at around 4 a.m. is also perfectly consistent with the medical examiner’s findings concerning lividity. And, third, if you’re going to bury a body off of a busy road, 4 a.m. is a pretty good time to do it, especially when an ice storm is on the way in.


128 thoughts on “Serial: The Burial in Leakin Park Did Not Take Place at 7:00 p.m.

  1. Same MO as the opaque Serial show. Public criticism of purported statements allegedly contained in documents in the custody of the critic is wotthlrss until the entire document is accessible to the public.

    • The only thing that is opaque is your garbled paragraph above. Could you try writing a coherent sentence?
      If you think the documents are not legit, request your own documents through FOIA. But make sure you learn how to compose an intelligent sentence first.

    • Same MO as various insinuations before aimed at SS or RC; vague hints of censorship / suppression of unfavorable evidence when they are exposing evidence of state’s censorship and/or tunnel vision / cherrypicking.

    • Part of the challenge is that so much information was not collected by the detectives, not shared by the prosecution, or not obtained by the defense. And what was presented at trial was obviously coached or redacted.

  2. Surely, Jenn would remember exactly when and where she was told that Hae was killed. It’s not something you’d forget. She said it was after Jay got out of Adnan’s car at Westview mall at around 8 o’clock. You are saying that’s wrong. So what you are saying is that Jenn is the accomplice. Right?

    • Jenn IS an accomplice. She was arrested a few years ago on 12 counts of narcotics with intent to distribute. It just so happens she was arrested with one of Jay’s relatives. His family’s narcotics activities and dozens of arrests are a matter of public record, and clearly Jenn was in the mix.

      It’s also pretty clear from a variety of things that Jay was cheating on Stephanie WITH Jenn.

      • Beeny,
        Jenn is certainly an accomplice as far as protecting Jay by lying, destroying evidence, framing Adnan, and possibly helping with burying and/or moving the body.
        Are you saying you think she was present during the murder too?

          • It is not at all presumptuous. Jenn admitted to the police and at trial that she knew Hae had been murdered but didn’t contact police, she helped Jay, and she destroyed evidence. It’s also obvious that she has told many lies. All of these things involve the cover-up of a murder and are therefore crimes that she is an accomplice to.
            I didn’t say she was involved with the actual murder.

        • Anna
          I agree that Jenn had more to do with that night and Hae than we know.. If you replace Adan with Jenn in this statement Jay made. Boom!
          “Jay: No. Adnan left and then returned to my house several hours later, closer to midnight in his own car. He came back with no tools or anything. He asked me if I had shovels, so I went inside my house and got some gardening tools. . . . So, as I’m riding with him to [Leakin] park and it starts raining and I’m thinking to myself as he pulls over—and I’m thinking this is the spot he’s chosen [to bury the body].””

          this makes sense to me. Their stories were collaborated before they gave their police interviews. Adnan was the fall guy.

          I think Jenn and Jay were caught in a compromising situation by Hae. With Stephanie being her friend, she would certainly tell her what she saw. And in a ‘rage’ Jenn hit Hae in the head, strangled her and made a plan to conceal the body. Jay was the accomplice. His narrative didnt come from thin air.. it happend just not with Adnan as the murderer.

          • I was convinced for a long time that the murder went down in a similar way, although I think it’s a stretch to believe that Jenn could have strangled Hae on her own because apparently it takes a lot of physical strength over several minutes. But if I’ve learned anything from the Undisclosed team it’s that Jay didn’t really know anything BEFORE the cops did, with the possible exception of the location of Hae’s car (and we can’t be sure the cops didn’t lead him to it instead of the other way around). Also, the Baltimore cops have a history of setting up/coaching witnesses to blatantly lie about what they knew or saw to convict innocent suspects. So there’s that.

    • No, Susan is not saying that Jenn was wrong about when/where she was when she was told that Hae was killed. There are two different bits of Jenn knowledge we’re dealing with: 1. The fact that Hae was killed, and 2. The fact that Hae was buried.

      Jenn’s statements are consistent on hearing the first bit at 8 o’clock, but her statements don’t indicate knowing anything about a burial at that time. Which would make sense if a burial hadn’t happened yet.

    • Jenn’s statements are clearly full of lies. Whether that is motivated by her own involvement in the crime, or merely a desire to protect other people, is not clear.

  3. There’s another big piece of this puzzle. Hae’s car doesn’t appear to have ANY evidence of a murder taking place inside of it, a victim in its trunk for an extended period, or any evidence of mud, which would have been everywhere if the person burying Hae then got into her car and drive it around. Even if the person had cleaned the car down, there would have been SOME evidence of this. In terms of evidence, mud isn’t something you can just wipe away with your sleeve.

    • The broken turn signal/head light control (or the windscreen wiper as Jay and the prosecution like to mischaracterise it) could be suggestive of a struggle either within the car or as Hae is being pulled out of the car.

      Not much though re murder taking place in car.

    • I remember reading somewhere that the inside of the car had been wiped clean, that is to say there were no fingerprints where they might have been expected (on the steering wheel, door handles, etc.). Quite likely her car was not used for the burial, but it also seems no-one else’s home or car was searched.

      • I can only imagine that if there had been anything significant found in her car the prosecution would have used it and not relied on Adnans palm print on a map book in his ex girlfriends car as evidence.
        Also worth noting that none of Jays homes were searched. I cannot fathom why there wouldn’t be any search of the home(s) of an admitted accessory to murder. Especially after he tells the police that he had been at home in between having assisted in the burial and when he got rid of his clothing and shoes. He also states that the shovel (or shovels?) used in the burial were from his house!
        Additionally, Jenns car wasn’t searched-which is crazy because according to both of them, he was in her car just after the supposed burial.
        AND now there’s indications that the police didn’t speak to certain people that were solely connected to Jay and called during the states timeline (Patrick, Jeff)?!

    • Agreed. It would also be strange for someone to kill her in the car, put her in the trunk, take her out and lay her flat somewhere for eight hours before putting her back in a trunk and taking her to be buried. Seems more plausible that she was laid out in the place she was killed or very nearby and was then moved to Leakin Park.

      It would be nice if Mr S could come forth with more info. Seems like he knows more than he let on and he could hold an important key

      • If Adnan was driving Hae’s car all this time (with body in trunk), as per Jay, would there not be a ton of DNA evidence in the driver seat of Hae’s car to prove Adnan’s guilt?

        Had this been true, based on what I’ve seen in this case, the state would have gone over this time and again in their quest to convict Adnan.

    • Hae’s car has always been a puzzle for me. If I’m understand correctly, it took 6 weeks to find this car – jay led the officers to Hae’s car. Do the officers in Baltimore not patrol the area. Why would it take them that long to find a car that seems to be parked near a residential area?

      I saw a picture of the car on a blog somewhere with notes that it was difficult to believe this car would have been outside for 6 weeks at the time (looked quite clean) and there was a fair bit of greenery beneath the car (unusual).
      Any comments?

        • I am trying to figure out why someone would move it. I could see someone moving it if they had kept the car in a location that could identify the killer (but who would do that?) but if they ditched it right after the killing, why not just leave it where it was and tell the police its location?

          • Could be anything, in this type of situation all parties involved are probably panicking and making mistakes. You have to remember these are young kids and dumb (most likely) criminals.

  4. Thanks Susan, terrific as always. I did not know that someone had gone through Hae’s wallet and then thrown it in a dumpster. Where does that little tidbit come from?

  5. Thank you for this analysis. I’m going to need to read this a couple times to get my head around it all. One detail that I keep waiting for someone to bring up is Hae’s ATM card. I read somewhere that it was used I think between 2:30 – 3:30 pm or so (I don’t remember exactly) at a gas station. How does that fit in with the timeline of her murder?

    • Good point. I read that somewhere too.
      Another thing that bugs me, is why we never hear of Adnan ‘ditching’ his clothes and shoes etc. .. and how come no one (cops) ever sees Hae’s car ditched in or near a very populated neighbourhood for so loooong?

    • Ahh there’s the rub Jackie R. Let’s say Adnan does have an alibi for 4am (although is family credible witnesses?), ah well the State can then bump the burial to another time when he doesn’t have an alibi.

      I think Adnan ended up playing the Heads the State Wins and Tails Adnan Loses game.

      The cops got confused between what was suspicious and what was actual evidence. Once they were suspicious, the evidence there was (cell phone pings/Jay’s testimony/witnesses/the post mortem) was shoe-horned, massaged or ignored as appropriate to confirm the cops suspicions.

  6. Susan, thank you, you are incredible at what you do, and the way you lay it out so clearly.
    At this point I am confused as to how many people knew about the murder/burial, because it seems like too many for the story not to be Leakin’ out before they found the body.

  7. So much here.

    CG established during her cross of the ME that there was no proof or evidence of time of death; no proof or evidence of time of burial; no proof or evidence of the exact day/date of death. The jury appears to have disregarded these facts and bought into the prosecution’s timeline. CG also destroyed Jay on the stand; yet the jury chose to believe his tale(s)…

    • I think the fact that the jury seemed to have bought into the states timeline was because CG didn’t really give them anything else. She asked some of the right questions, but did so in a way that was meandering and confusing. Even just reading the transcripts it’s difficult to follow what exactly she is asking, why she is asking and what the answers actually mean. I can only imagine that in person it would be even more difficult.
      I can mostly decipher where she’s trying to go when she’s asking questions, but many times she doesn’t seem to actually arrive at the point she is trying to make.

  8. Is there any phone record consistent with Jay’s revised story that Adnan called from outside Grandmother’s house at 11:00 or whatever time?

  9. This is maybe a nit, but this statement is not correct:

    “Jenn, for example, stated that Jay had been wearing all black when she picked him up from Westview Mall”

    Immediately before Jenn makes the statement about all-black clothes quoted after the above sentence, Jenn also said:

    “I think his jacket was like plaid, red plaid [inaudible]”

    …which is consistent with what Jay says he was wearing (above the waist, anyway), because he does not describe his shirt at all, so any color shirt is as good as any other, but he does describe the red plaid jacket.

    Also, the thing in the Intercept interview about Adnan coming back to his house hours later, also has a candidate entry in Adnan’s call log that night – the 10:02pm call to Yaser, which would have been taking place after mosque, but is made within range of a tower antenna whose coverage may well have included Jay’s house:

    The next call after that is half an hour later back up near Adnan’s house, and then no more calls are logged until 12pm the next day. So, there’s still some possibility that Adnan and Jay got together again after they initially part ways around 8pm.

      • I don’t think any of this shows Adnan’s guilt in any way, and am not convinced he is guilty. He most certainly should not be in prison. I just like to try and consider all the evidence together and look at it from different angles to test each theory’s strengths and weaknesses.

      • I realize your posts are always under attack from committed Adnan-is-Guilty observers, but I’m not one of them. Sorry if my comment came across that way.

    • Of course, I really don’t know what to make of that call since, according to Cathy’s testimony at trial, Jay and Jenn were supposed to be back at her house around 9:30 or 10pm.

  10. I would think that Hae had to have been buried after rigor mortis had set in, and she was in a trunk for a while, given her position when discovered. Probably not the trunk of the Sentra. While criminals are not flush with great ideas, it seems pretty crazy to park a missing person’s car on the side of the road while you bury them 100 ft away. I would assume that they checked out Adnan’s car pretty thoroughly too, so I don’t think it was his car. The only ‘third person’ we have is Jenn, and maybe she is the most gifted liar in the bunch, but it doesn’t really seem like she knows a whole lot( although I kind of think that she supplied the shovel or shovels).

    I guess Hae was somewhere, laid out, for while, then moved to a trunk for a while as well. This really gets stranger the more you look at it.

    • I don’t think rigor mortis would be as much as an issue if Hae was layed out somewhere fairly flat. Jay says in one of his interviews that someone had to put a stone on Hae’s hand to keep it flat – that could be suggestive that she actually was in rigor when buried, or at least part way through the process.

      Rigor is more problematic if you’re going to store someone flat for a while and then move them. As always with these processes, rigor is gradual so it starts in the small muscles and moves the larger muscles until the body is completely stiff. It makes the timescale of moving someone from flat to a space like at trunk much tighter, even if actually possible as there is no signs of mixed livor on Hae’s body. She could have been moved once livor was fixed and rigor had passed though that implies days later rather than hours.

      Now if there was a van (truck) involved – that solves both the where to store your body after death and not having to move it until you bury it.

      • Interesting note about the van, Sue… White cargo vans have been mentioned a couple times throughout this story: Once by Jay’s former Manager/CoWorker at the porn store regarding Jay being afraid of that “West-Side Hitman,” and once I THINK on the episode when Sarah and Dana/Julie noticed the van belonging to the gardening shop that Jenn worked at.

        One of the things that has bothered me has always been lack of forensic evidence regarding her being in the trunk at all. Was there such evidence, and maybe we, the followers of the story, haven’t seen it (maybe I just missed it) – or was the trunk never tested? We assume she was in the trunk because of Jay (this is part of the “spine” of his story), but what if it isn’t quite like that?

        Let’s say, because unconsciousness happens before death in strangulation (this was mentioned from one of the ME’s), that someone (3rd person?) attacked her, she passed out but didn’t pass away, they put her in the trunk, then took the car to Jay and that’s when he saw her – but she was still alive. That leaves a larger window for her death AND burial, and potentially explains both Jay’s story and the autopsy evidence if another murder site – and vehicle – is considered.

        Of course, this is speculation. Much like the prosecution’s case. I can totally match up cell phone records to my theory, too, just give me a few tries.

        • Reading your thoughts made me think that Hae could have easily laid flat on her front inside a van. Hence she was killed in the van or moved to the van so her car could be hidden for a time. Than later moved from the van to the trunk of her car. This van theory is very very interesting.

  11. Urick has a private practice to maintain. This case can only bring him notoriety. I’m neither surprised nor unhappy that he won’t be joining the discussion. I am much more interested in what Susan and Rabia have to say. The police found a suspect, Adnan, and from that point on looked at evidence to support Adnan being guilty. There was no physical evidence. The hairs did not match nor did the residue on his shoes. Only a fraction of the tower pings matched and that line of investigation has been questioned and refuted.

  12. Something that I have found particularly interesting, with regard to manner in which Urick behaved, is the utter lack of defense of or support for said behavior. We’ve heard from many lawyers that the discovery process is routinely difficult. We’ve heard that somewhat underhanded (though usually technically legal) tactics are often utilized in delaying and/or limiting discovery. What we haven’t heard is support for or affirmation of Uricks conduct in this case. The fact that there appears to be an overwhelming amount of lawyers with both legal and ethical concerns about the way the prosecution conducted itself is telling.

    • The neck, chest and face were the lowest portions of Hae’s body for some hours after she was dead.

      So her body was laid out frontally with an incline or object present that put her head and chest area lower than her stomach and legs and where her arms were not able to fall naturally by the side of her body but were above her head/chest.

  13. What, of all of this, matters for Adnan’s appeal? I think the case against the state’s timeline is extremely strong (beyond a shadow of a doubt) – but is it still possible that all of this evidence could be pushed aside on legal technicalities?

    Also, what happens if Adnan does get a new trial? Would the state just decline to proceed? Hard to imiagine them going forward with a new trial at this stage as they would need to present a different theory.

    • I agree here; I hope Susan or EvidenceProf sheds light on how this process goes forward: it is definitely hard to imagine any new trial scenario where the state has any options but to drop charges – they cannot effectively use Jay, they cannot use about half of the cell data, and one without the other is not sufficient to convict (admitted by Urick) even IF they get to keep everything else (such as Hae’s letter, not likely).

      I wonder: is the state’s only hope that the defense team fails to correctly and convincingly file all the appeals? Can the state change its story during this process? If it changes its story, does Adnan have to refute both the old story AND the new one?

  14. Thank you! I’ve thought since the beginning that other than providing an alibi for a friend she thought innocent, Jenn’s statements sounded like she really thought she was telling the truth. How does the post-midnight burial square with the rest of her statements? The call she made where another voice answers, etc? Again, thank you for coming up with an interpretation that finally makes some sense.

  15. I just noticed something in this statement:
    “Jay: I told him to pull over out back of Value City [at Westview Mall]. I took both of my shovels. They were mine but I just chucked them, threw them.
    Detective: What if anything did you do next?
    Jay: I believe I told him to take me around to the front of the mall. I think I might have paged Jenn from there again but I can’t quite remember. I believe he took me home. I may have paged Jenn from the front of the mall but I believe he took me home. I got to my house and I was in my house for maybe five minutes. I instantaneously changed all my clothes and put them all in a bag. (2/4/00 Tr. 157.)”

    Jay is saying that he asked Adnan to take him from the dumpsters to the front of the mall so that he can call Jenn. Whatever happened to that cell phone they have? It sounds like Jay had to use the pay phone out front. Could he have slipped with this statement and inadvertently revealed that he was with someone other than Adnan? Someone who didn’t have a cell phone?

    • It’s arguing against all of the basics of the prosecution’s theory of his guilt. If it is true that the burial happened closer to midnight, then the only real evidence left against Adnan are the ride-asking business and the supposed possessiveness and trauma of the breakup. There is almost nothing in support of Jay and Adnan hooking up again after 8pm, except maybe the 10pm call placing Adnan, after mosque, in the vicinity of a tower antenna whose range might have included Jay’s house (but the call occurs during a time when Cathy has testified that Jay and Jenn would have been coming back to her house after Jay’s initial visit there with Adnan).

    • If the burial happened after midnight, then the cell phone calls don’t corroborate anything. The Nisha call doesn’t matter. The prosecution already claims that the murder had to have happened by 2:35, and there’s plenty of evidence that this isn’t true either. The *only* evidence left to the prosecution is Jay’s testimony against Adnan.

  16. I think there still isn’t a way to rule out a return to the burial site, or that the lividity could be consistent with the body in the car face down with legs bent back at the knee.

    The rocks on the body are never described by Jay. This could be because that detail wasn’t made known to him so he didn’t feel the need to add it. But it could also be because it was done later, maybe even unknown by Jay. The grave was a shallow one, so there probably wouldn’t have been much effort required to rework it or check under it for evidence, moving the body and repositioning it.

  17. It was cold out. Lividity will take longer to set.

    By far the easiest explanation for all of this is that the body was in the trunk around between 3 and 3:30 PM and what Adnan and Jay were actually doing at 7pm was quickly dumping the body, face down, near where she ended up being buried. Jay, +/- someone else like Jen and/or Adnan come back to bury her late that night. The lividity on the body is frontal because by this point later at night the lividity has finally set.

    Adnan can’t say anything about the lies because he will incriminate himself, and Jay and Jenn ommitted the return to bury her later story because it implicates them even further.

    • But that begs the question: why would you take a body out of a trunk and leave it anywhere?! It would seem that the trunk of a car would be an infinitely better place to “store” it for later burial. Furthermore, the idea that anyone would pull over on the side of a fairly busy road in order to take a body out and basically leave it in the open for 5 hours seems extremely unlikely. Based on pictures/video, although the burial site itself is pretty far back from the road, the view of the area leading to it is mostly unobscured (especially when there are little leaves/foliage because it’s winter).

      • Moving the body out of the trunk or other part of a stolen car makes more sense, especially if you were planning to ditch the car anyway.

  18. Notably, Jenn’s description of Adnan does not fit someone who has just killed his girlfriend in a jealous rage, buried her body, and then flipped through her wallet searching for cash before tossing it in a dumpster. In contrast with Jay’s odd behavior that evening, Jenn said that Adnan had “acted just normal,” .

    What kind of description of Adnan would be more suited for someone who has committed murder? I don’t think you should read into someones behaviour, hours after a crime, and decide one way or another that their behaviour does or doesn’t “fit” It would seem to me that the best “actor” could get away with murder. Also, didn’t someone else state that Adnan’s behavior was strange that day? Cuts both ways.

    • Am I reading you correctly? If people say Adnan acts normally that is evidence of guilt. If Adnan acts abnormally then that is evidence of guilt?

      • That’s not what I’m saying at all. The following statement is from the initial post and are not my words – “Notably, Jenn’s description of Adnan does not fit someone who has just killed his girlfriend in a jealous rage” . What I’m saying is that I don’t believe someone should look too closely at how someone is acting and draw a conclusion based on that perception, one way or another, yet that seems to be the implication of the statement.

  19. So here’s my one question that won’t go away since I read the Intercept interview: does a late-night burial do anything to exculpate Adnan?

    It seems evident that the state’s timeline simply doesn’t fit the evidence, and in my view, doesn’t convict Adnan.

    However, a post 3pm time of death and a late night burial… Could Adnan account for that kind of timeline? I know he may have been at track practice at that point… But if he weren’t, a late night burial may have been possible.


    • Since the only evidence that convicted Adnan was the cell records corroborating Jay’s story, and since we now know that the cell records DO NOT corroborate Jay’s story, there is no evidence to convict Adnan.

      It doesn’t matter if it was possible that Adnan was there at midnight since there is NO evidence to prove that he was. A person is not required to prove their innocence, the state is required to prove their guilt. If it worked the other way, I hope you know, and can prove, exactly where you were on the night of January 13, 1999. Otherwise you could be accused and possibly convicted of the murder.

      I’m sure Kevin Urick would be happy if the law worked that way.

    • They used his phone records to build a case with Jay’s lies. The prosecutors put the burial at between 7 and 8 pm when Adnan claims he has the phone and gets 2 incoming calls that hit a cell tower near the Leakin Park Burial site. This, they say proves Adnan was at the site burying the body. These are incoming calls – see notes on incoming calls. They have nothing to prove Adnan would have been there at midnight based on his cell log.

      Also, forensic tests indicate the body had to be lying face down for 8-12 hours before burial – see Susan info on this. In fact, I suggest reviewing all of Susan’s posts.

  20. How’d you get a hold of the 2/4/00 transcript? Any chance you can release the full thing so we can get a complete picture of the testimony?

  21. f.) ‘Jay’s Clothes’

    “Jenn, for example, stated that Jay had been wearing all black when she picked him up from Westview Mall:
    Detective: Do you recall what Jay was wearing?
    Jenn: I guess it’s like a black pair of pants . . . they’re khaki-type pants, [ ] but they’re black, and a black button-down shirt, short sleeves, all black I guess. (Jenn Int. at 11.)

    I think it’s standard practice to leave Q&A’s in sequential order. It helps eliminate ambiguity and the potential for misleading interpretations. In the case of the above excerpt, for example, a reader might be left with the impression that Jenn maintains that Jay was wearing nothing but black — contradicting his claim that his outfit consisted of “tan jeans, some work boots and a plaid coat.” In the original sequence, however, Jenn’s response actually follows this question:

    Detective: “Okay, for those of us who don’t know what a Dickey’s outfit is can you describe that?” [p.11]

    And the detective’s question regarding Jay’s clothes is actually followed by this response:

    Jenn: “Oh, I know he had on some brown boots, something like the Timberland color you know but they weren’t actually Timberland made by them, they were just like the Timberland made boots and I want to say he might have been wearing a Dickey outfit a black Dickey outfit, he wears a lot of Dickey clothes and what color was his jacket, I think his jacket was like plaid, red plaid.” [p.11]

    So the black Dickey outfit is still in, but it’s also evident that Jenn has confirmed two of the three articles of clothing that Jay said he was wearing. Later in the interview, she clarifies things a bit:

    Jenn: “Yeah, I mean I couldn’t exactly remember if it was the outfit, I know that Jay wears Dickey outfits a lot so I’m just assuming, I mean I know that he had on the brown boots and I know that he had on a jacket and I think I remember the jacket being plaid.” [p.15]

    Assume : think : know :: black Dickey’s : plaid jacket : brown boots. With the full context in view, what remains of the purported inconsistency is that six weeks after the fact, Jenn told the police that Jay was wearing three items of clothing, and the one she expressed the least certainty about was the one he denies having worn. I don’t doubt that towering edifices of conspiracy can be built upon piddling foundations, I just think that in most cases, it’s more reasonable to leave such thin reeds be.

  22. It’s all fascinating stuff, but not everyone is American. Please use more universal syntax: colons; semi-colons and commas. Your work is great, but it would make it more accessible. Still, thanks!

  23. Please forgive me if this is a very silly question, but if the defense has no clear CDRs, and AT&T no longer has the data, is there no possibility at all of finding them in the prosecution’s files? (Not American, no understanding of law but kinda hopeful that defense might still have the right to access those?) Even if there is no untouched version, an original might be “de/reverse-redactable”? (technology).

    Also, what’s with the times on the redacted copy? A 2:46 call? What do these times and durations represent that makes them different to the bill?

    Anything new deducable from the data even with the redactions? I’m so curious!

  24. Yes indeed, Adnan is a very UNLUCKY guy:
    – the police failed to do their job (lied and concocted stories)
    – the prosecutors lied and concocted stories and failed to provide disclosure to defence
    – his lawyer was sick, did a poor job defending him (despite lack of disclosure) and was herself corrupt
    – the medical forensic team colluded with the police and prosecutors
    – the judge was biased and made several bad decisions in favour of the prosecution team
    – the jury was asleep
    – the cell phone expert could have been more forthright with his testimony
    – forensics not further tested after it failed to prove |Adnan’s guilt
    – alibi witness not contacted
    – prosecutor lies about alibi witness at appeals hearing
    – add the other pieces folks


  25. I think Susan has presented a fairly compelling argument that the 7 pm burial cannot be accurate. It would appear likely that the police zeroed in on their theory and forced the evidence to fit. It would appear very likely that Jay crafted his story to fit the police’s narrative because he was in trouble and had limited options. I think Adnan should not have been found guilty. I do not see strong evidence for anyone’s motive.

    That said, it is still reasonable that Adnan committed this crime. Say he kills Hae sometime in the 3 o’clock hour. Could she have been face down in the trunk? The trunk of a Sentra is about 5.5’ wide. Fold legs back at knee and it would appear to be plausible for an average girl to fit. (apologize for the morbid description) The car gets stored at Jay’s Grandmothers house. A place Jay does not want the police poking around. Day goes on as normal. Perhaps a Leakin Park drive-by in the 7pm hour to scout and a middle of the night burial is not disproven by the known facts. Then again, this is all speculation and could not possibly corroborate a conviction. That doesn’t make it false.

    • No, we can’t disprove Adnan was guilty – anymore than we can disprove you were guilty (where were you on January 13, 1999?). You can’t prove a negative.

      The key question, though, is: what evidence is there that proves – or even suggests – Adnan is guilty? Jay has told a million stories, Susan has demonstrated the cell phone data is inconsistent with the prosecutor’s case, the forensic evidence is inconsistent with the prosecutor’s case. What is left to demonstrate his guilt? Frankly, I don’t see a thing.

      • Here are the things working against Adnan:

        1) His recent ex-gf disappeared on a day he asked her for a ride.
        2) He spent significant time on the day of her disappearance with a person that undoubtedly had something to do with said disappearance.

        This does not prove guilt. But it puts him on a very short list of possible murderers.

        I feel like the general tone of this blog is that an innocent man is in jail. That may well be true. But it may also be true that the “spine” of Jay’s story is still right and the right guy is in jail, just for the wrong reasons.

        • The only three consistent parts of Jay’s story — the “spine” of it — are that (1) Adnan killed Hae, (2) she was buried in Leakin Park, and (3) Jay’s shovels were used to bury her.

          Nothing else has stayed the same in every iteration that he has given. But everyone knows #2, and #3 is more consistent with Jay’s guilt than Adnan’s. So the “spine” of Jay’s story is the uncorroborated and inconsistent claim that Adnan is guilty. Is a witness saying that someone else is guilty sufficient evidence of anything, if every other part of their story fluctuates and reverses?

          • An amendment to your point #2: Jay consistently contends that ADNAN buried Hae in Leakin Park. That does not necessarily point to Jay being a more likely murderer than Adnan. It certainly cements his role in the cover-up, but we knew that already. The question of who murdered Ms. Lee remains. It could have been Jay or Adnan or some unknown 3rd party that is somehow connected with Jay. We simply do not know.

            A midnight burial is problematic for the prosecution as we would be solely reliant on Jay’s narrative. As has been noted, the state’s case is the tripod of Jay’s testimony, the cell evidence and Adnan’s relationship to the victim. Move the burial to midnight and you just kicked out one leg of the stool and their case cannot hold up. The state is thusly motivated to push the 7 pm burial, Jay is motivated to do whatever the state asks of him and Adnan is motivated to maintain his innocence because he actually IS innocent, or he knows the state’s case is completely fabricated.

    • No it’s not reasonable that Adnan committed the crime, or had any part in it, if the burial occurred much later than the prosecution claimed. Jay’s only motive to lie and say that the burial happened around 7 pm is to put Adnan at the scene, since the prosecution told him that they had cell phone record evidence he was in the area of Leakin Park at the time. If somehow this is later proven false, then Jay is on the hook for the whole burial and has a lot of explaining to do. If Jay told them the truth about him and Adnan burying Hae hours later, that wouldn’t put him at any more risk.

      • Sure it is. I am not trying to indicate that Adnan is guilty. I’m just saying that all of these revelations on this blog do a very good job of disproving the state’s case, but maybe not as strong of a job proving the innocence of the guy in jail.

        The smoking gun in this case are those 7 pm Leakin Park cell pings. You take those out, and what kind of case do you have? You have Jay’s word and zero tying Adnan to a midnight burial. The state needs the 7 pm burial because they can kind of prove Jay’s word with the cell data. If they believe in the midnight burial, but can sell the 7 pm burial, which way are they going to go? The ends justify the means, right?

        So to me, disproving the 7 pm burial does not exonerate Adnan. He could still be the guy and the burial happened much later, but the police/prosecution went with the story they could get a conviction on. Turns out, they were right.

        • You’re splitting hairs here. Is it possible that Adnan is guilty yet buried the body some time after midnight? I concede it is possible. But it would require that Jay had conspired with the police to testify that the burial happened at 7 pm, which if Adnan really is guilty but buried her after midnight is insanely risky! Why not just tell the police “Adnan and I were looking for good spots to bury her around 7 pm so we could come back later and actually bury her when there was no traffic”?? Doesn’t that explain the calls? If Jay is already copping to accessory, it doesn’t put him in any more peril to tell the truth about that part if that’s the way it happened.

          • I don’t know what hair I’m splitting. As the guy below eloquently put: Lack of evidence does not equal innocence. To date, we don’t know the when or where of the murder, we haven’t been presented with a compelling motive for anybody, we really don’t know really how the burial happened. Adnan gives us pretty much nothing that can be verified. Jay gives some fishy ever-changing details, but they are tough to verify and were likely heavily influenced by the police.

            Jay and Adnan spent a good chunk of the day that Adnan’s ex went missing together. Jay had something to do with the cover-up. For all the digging and blogging and podcasting, that’s all we know. I still have no idea who did it.

          • The hair is the difference between “reasonable” and “possible”. It is still “possible” that Adnan is guilty until he can be proven innocent (or it can be proven that someone else did it alone), but that’s a far cry from “reasonable”.

            You’re right that one of the few things we know for sure is that Jay had something to do with the burial/cover-up. He knew things that weren’t public at the time that he could only have known by being involved. We also know that he was pressured to fit his story to the prosecution’s theory of what happened, but is adamant about some details that are inconvenient for them but important to protect his own ass. If the actual burial took place after midnight but didn’t involve Adnan, it’s reasonable to believe that Jay fit his story to what the police believed so that he can claim Adnan was there. If the actual burial took place after midnight but DID involve Adnan, it’s not reasonable to believe Jay would continue with the story of the 7 pm burial, because if it were later proven that the burial couldn’t have happened at that time then all the blame for the burial falls on Jay.

          • Apparently, this is as deep as one can debate in this comment section. To my friend Dan for your 2/20 comment: The difference between my argument and yours is that I think that Jay, to save his skin, would contort his story in whatever direction the police were leaning even if that means distorting the truth. You think, if he was telling the truth, he would stick to his guns. Therefore, I derive little meaning from the changing burial time. To you, this is very significant. I do not believe that I can change your mind. Good day sir.

        • I completely agree with what you’ve stated in your posts. I think some people here are equating the lack of evidence leading to Adnan’s conviction to assuming he is innocent because of the lack of evidence.

  26. Does Adnan have an alibi for Jay’s new burial time? Where was he after he supposedly buried Hae with Jay and then handed Jay off to Jenn? Was he at home sleeping, something that can neither be proven nor disproven? I find it hard to believe Jay would make a statement that would exonerate Adnan, but who knows.

    I also find it interesting that Jay’s new version of events makes no mention of how Adnan procured the rocks that were on top of Hae’s body. Is that something he could have done alone? Is it likely that Adnan would have been scratched and dinged up from doing that alone? If he wasn’t familiar with Leakin Park, and it was Jay’s idea to go there (as HE states), then how could it be that Adnan buries her alone and figures out the rock situation without help? With no flashlights, in the middle of the night?

    This burial sounds like a two man job, sorry Jay. Read his Intercept interview and boy is he up on the cross. All the more aggravating considering what a sweet deal he got from Urick that apparently continued well into additional criminal offenses after the fact.

  27. I am trying to sort out all the different potential timelines. Do you think Adnan was at the Mosque? If so, at what time? How does that fit with the 8:00 Mall drop off?

  28. Susan if Adnan gets released from prison do they reopen the case? What happens as far as solving the crime, especially one with this much attention.

  29. How do you choose to send an innocent man to jail? If the choice is living with knowing you did that vs not doing it, what can possibly push a reasonably empathetic person that far? Money? Fear for your own life or someone you really care about? Only two I can think of.

  30. The problem I have is that even if you dismiss the cell phone and forensic evidence (which I’m unwilling to do at this point), there’s still the issue of Jenn. The only conceivable reason she has for lying is to protect Jay, but how does she do on that count? Not well, from my perspective — by and large, their initial stories don’t match. At the very least, they should have worked out the precise time Jay left her house. But what does Jenn tell the detectives? “Probably around three-thirty, four, four-fifteen, well after three forty-five, between three forty-five and four-fifteen … I don’t know exactly what time, I’d say anywhere between two-thirty and four-fifteen” Yeah, that sounds like a real confident appraisal. Likewise, was it necessary to bring up the dumpster episode? Doesn’t seem to do Jay any favors. And shovels? Yeah, probably could have left that out as well. But no, Jenn lawyered up pretty quick, and she appears to have set out to spill the beans and save her own skin from the get-go.

  31. The whole “meeting Jay and Adnan at Westview Mall to pick up Jay” story has never made any sense to me. I can’t think of any reason why Adnan wouldn’t just take Jay to wherever he needed to go. I tend to think of this as a fabrication. Adnan’s role in this part of the story is to sit there in his car and say “What’s up, girl?”, and act completely normal. That is the easiest thing to say(and remember) if you have to make something up.

    If it is not a lie, then what were they doing? I would think it would have to be that Jenn was either bringing something, or picking up something(besides Jay).

    Before the newer information came in suggesting a later burial, I assumed that she was just picking up Jay and Adnan wasn’t there at all. I still think this makes the most sense. She says they went to Stephanie’s right after this at 8:30. That didn’t happen. I think they were dropping the phone off at this time. Maybe they were dropping something else off.

  32. What is the likelihood/ possibility of Jay doing an initial burial at 7pm on the night of the 13th, and then going back to move the body later? Could this account for the livor mortis?
    The burial theory would be that Jay did in fact use that window to put the body in Leakin Park, but since it was already dark, and he was a bit freaked out, he may not have done a good job. Then the next day it snows, and he keeps worrying about the body being found, so he goes back to Leakin Park to do a better job of burying and hiding the body.
    The overall theory would be Jay killed Hae on his own. They met close to school around 3pm, perhaps just a chance encounter, but because Hae had it in her mind to tell Jay off for cheating on Stephanie, she confronts Jay, this leads to an argument and he accidentally strangles her.
    The afternoon timeline could go many different ways, but the highlights would be picking up Adnan from track, and feeling so badly about the crime and not wanting to face Adnan, he busts out a blunt to get Adnan super high. Then they go over Cathy’s, and then they head to the mosque where Jay takes the car and leaves Adnan behind. Jay heads over to Leakin Park, calls Patrick (the real criminal element of the neighborhood) and asks him for help burying the body around the 7pm window. This is a bit of a rush job, then he takes off to meet Jenn and dispose of the clothing, and then to give the car and the phone back to Adnan post-mosque.
    Jay continues to freak out, and he keeps going over elements in his mind (the shovels, the body position, etc), so he later goes back to the scene where the body is, and digs deeper, or moves it to a more concealed location.

  33. Yes, I agree the actual burial was much later on that night. The 7 PM ping happened when Jay and Adnan were driving around Leakin Park looking for a place to hide the body, something they would surely have done earlier in preparation instead of starting to look for a place at 4 o’clock in the morning.

    • They may have actually dug the hole as well — I can’t see any obvious reason why Jenn would lie about the dumpster-shovels incident taking place around 8 pm (if she were trying to protect Jay, she would’ve omitted it altogether).

  34. Very interesting read. Thanx. You are presenting am alternative story to the prosecution that’s definitely convincing.
    Here’s my question: Your story has a whole. It has no explanation for the 7.09 and 7.16 calls, suggesting that the phone was at Leakin Park at 7.09 and 7.16.
    Whats your theory why the phone was at Leakin Park that time?
    Thanx. Keep going…

    • It wasn’t. No one but Jay has ever said it was in Leakin Park at that time, and he has now changed his story. Combined with all the other evidence that shows that Adnan and Jay were not in Leakin Park at 7:09 and 7:16 pm, there’s no reason to think the phone was there either.

  35. “First, we know that it was not raining on the afternoon of the 13th, but that it did begin to rain a little after 4am on the morning of the 14th — consistent with the story Jay told the Intercept.”

    This timeline does seem to make it more unlikely that Adnan is involved in the murder, if the above is true. The reason is that , as we know , it was Ramadan ( the Muslim month of fasting) and it appears that Syed was in the habit of fasting. This is significant because in a household where Muslim fasting is practiced, there is also a practice of taking a predawn meal. Review of the times in Baltimore that the morning prayer comes in – the time before which marks the end of the predawn meal, for the relevant time period in 1999 is about 605 am or so.That means that Syed would likely have to have been back quickly enough from a muddy burial to clean up and not arouse the suspicion of family who would have been up before dawn taking their meal. I don’t know how long the burial was supposed to have taken, but it seems very dangerous for him to have chosen this time given that someone at home should have been up, maybe even an hour or more prior to the prayer – not just for eating necessarily but also because there is an optional prayer that is sometimes performed before the dawn prayer , in addition to food.

    The above assumes that the family is practicing, which they seem to be. I suppose asking the family what their practice was at that time could help give an idea of what they used to do for the predawn meal.

  36. Susan, great blog… still confused as hell but love reading and finding out that i’m not insane and that normal human people interpret this in a similar way to me!

    First time I heard Jay… I just instantly thought “ok, he’s lying that’s obvious” and since that episode of Serial (think its #2) it’s become more and more clear that he was making up most things and I feel like I’m on a never ending journey to find out why… incredibly frustrating though it is. As per what Sarah and the Serial crew say… as more evidence is uncovered the case and who is to blame gets muddied further, which is why i’m quite satisfied with simply listening to Jay and deciding that he’s obviously lying and the only reason for that can be that he did it or Jenn did it.

    My actual question for yourself or anyone here concerns the validity of the cell phone tower pings. I have read that a tower can receive a ping from 2 miles away or up to 20 miles away depending on the phone traffic at the time and various other reasons.

    Are the cell phone records not just evidence that these calls were made within 20 odd miles of the area in question? So therefore ruling out the ability to draw a conclusion of any sort from these records. Who was it who actually confirmed that the pings are data that can be used to accurately discern the location of an individual… who set these parameters?


  37. Ok, this might be a looooooongshot. But there could be a very good reason why Adna isn’t *remembering* what he was doing that day and why he isn’t the murderer. It could have to do with his parents religion. Could Adna be gay/bisexuell? Could he have been with a man at this time?

    The parents might accept a lot of things but I doubt they would accept any kind of homosexuality/bisexuality? Therefor Adna has a much greater interest to be vague about what he was doing then telling the truth?

    That could also rule out any jealousy about Hae:s new boyfriend? I would guess that someone else killed Hae and it is someone that Jay still is afraid of. The most likely suspect is the murderer of the 18 year old girl some time prior and that lived in the same area as Hae.

    If you want to make a lie truthful you need to mix some truth in to it. So it could be that Jay:s story is somewhat correct but he has exchange the names and frames the one he think is least dangerous and that the cops think did it?

  38. Pingback: Q&A: Rabia Chaudry on ‘Adnan’s Story’ and ‘Serial’ | Fusion

  39. Pingback: Q&A: Rabia Chaudry on 'Adnan's Story' and 'Serial' – Fusion | Bankingre

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