Hi bloggers. Today’s post is a bit of a confusing one. I’ll be trying to tackle the Adnan Syed murder case from 1999. The story has been avidly followed by the criminal investigative podcast called “Serial” through twelve gripping episodes. If you are interested in listening to the concluding episode “What We Know” on the Serial website click here.
I would like to start off by expressing my own personal opinion on the whole situation. Adnan Syed is a guilty man simply due to the complications associated to his side of the story and all of the loose ends/coincidences that keep popping up with every piece of evidence that arises.
The first piece of evidence that I feel like works against Adnan is the whole scheme of the new boyfriend Don. When Sarah Koenig, the narrator of the podcast, finally got in contact with Don, he explained that his initial reaction when finding out that his girlfriend at the time, Hae Min Lee, went missing was to trace back his steps from that day, figure out who he talked to and who he came across in the given time frame. He knew that the police would come to him first being a male figure close to her at the time and so his logical response was to come up with a strong alibi for his case. On the flip side, I was highly disappointed with Adnan’s story because when he was approached by authorities and even talking to Sarah, he claimed he could not remember anything from that time. He was mostly in denial about the murder and I always had the impression that he wasn’t even making a large effort in remembering anything. Adnan could never come up with a strong alibi that played in sync with other data such as his cell phone’s call log or with other people’s stories.
Next the Nisha call plays out to be another reason why I believe that Adnan is guilty. According to Jay’s testimony, on that afternoon that Hae went missing, Adnan called his crush Nisha and handed the phone over to Jay so that he could speak to her as well. Meanwhile, Adnan’s story suggests that he did not have his phone at that time but it was rather Jay that was in possession of the device. Adnan’s call log specifically shows that Nisha was called for a duration of 2 minutes and 22 seconds on that afternoon. What works against Adnan is the fact that there is no reason Jay would be calling his friend’s crush since they did not even know each other well at the time. Adnan goes on to explain that It could have just been a misunderstanding and that he accidentally dialled her name on his phone since she was a pre programmed number but that seems very unlikely since AT&T, the service provider, would not charge for an unanswered call. In the fine print of one of their contracts it says that they would in fact charge for an unanswered call as long as its 30 seconds or longer in duration. What seems unlikely to me is that someone would go 2 minutes and 22 seconds of listening to their phone ring and not pick up therefore the story of an accidental butt dial seems highly unlikely. To me Adnan is just looking for a convenient way out of the situation and it would seem like the easiest alibi to come up with; something I can see right through.
In an article by the RollingStone Magazine, it is mentioned that there is evidence coming from Hae Min Lee’s diary that suggests Adnan was a possessive and at times violent boyfriend while they were together. It also mentions that he was initially upset after the breakup (RollingStone 2016). When I first read this I was incredibly surprised since, I never heard about this through the podcast series and it could also be crucial evidence against Syed’s overall character, making him look like a very bad person. I think that if he was depicted as violent and possessive, there is no reason for me not to believe that he would have gotten really angry seeing Hae with another guy after Christmas holidays and that it could have eventually lead on to him killing her. Whether it be an act of jealousy or purely out of anger towards his ex-girlfriend, Hae’s diary would have most likely been accurate since it “is a place where you record events, experiences and other personal things that interest you” (Penzu 2017).
Something scary that was also mentioned in the article was that there is evidence that Syed had the words “I want to kill” written on the back of a page in his notebook. Now I know that I have no right to associate that directly to this murder case but I find it to be a pretty big coincidence that these two things are relevant to each other. I know for a fact, being a 17 year old myself that I wouldn’t just go and write something like that in my school notebook, no matter what drugs or substances were in my body… This shows me that Syed must have had something bothering him in the back of his mind and that he instinctively must have felt the need to write it out on paper. One thing is for sure, it definitely did not help his case out in the trial.
Finally the last piece of evidence that I would like to address concerning Adnan’s guilt is about Jay’s testimony. They were once considered to be “best-friends” but all of that ended quickly amidst the murder case. Jay was quick to testify against Adnan and basically throw him under the boat without any hesitation.
In an interview with Jay by The Intercept (to read more click here) many years after the murder, he claimed that Adnan was skeptical of Hae’s actions and that she might have been having affairs with other guys, which ultimately drove him to the conclusion of wanting to kill her (Daily Mail 2014). The two boys, according to Jay buried the body together even though Jay apparently didn’t want any part of it. His story to the police was inaccurate at times but was accepted because it fit well with the call log of Adnan’s cell phone, which ultimately put the two together around the time Hae went missing. Jay had a story, while Adnan was still trying to piece together his steps on that day of January 13th, 1999. This in my opinion is the biggest reason why the verdict is the way it is.
At the end of the day, even if Adnan Syed is truly innocent, the case is just far too messy to prove this theory. Too many of the situations and events that took place in Adnan’s life on that day are to be considered coincidences or unlucky happenings in order to be able to prove him innocent. What are the odds that Nisha’s number got dialled accidentally and that the call lasted 2 minutes and 22 seconds? How probable is it that someone like Don could actually retrace his steps on that day and that Adnan for some reason couldn’t remember anything? Not even on the day that his ex-girlfriend went missing… I don’t know about you but something is fishy there. These are all unfortunate events that might be true in all honesty but that nobody can factually prove, therefore I strongly believe that he is guilty under these circumstances. In 2016 Adnan did get the opportunity for a re-trial, which I also believe he deserves since the verdict of the first case was based off of sloppy evidence (CNN 2016).
To conclude my blog post and avoid the possibility of verging off topic, Adnan Syed is rightfully a guilty man under the given circumstances. Even though the evidence against him was not some of the most concrete I have seen in my life, it is still enough to put him behind bars. Until someone can come up with facts that prove his innocence, he should definitely be kept behind bars for the murder of Hae Min Lee.
Let me know what YOU think in the comment section below… This is truly a mess of a case that many are still trying to find out truths about. I am eager to read your responses!
Until next time bloggers!
Grinberg, Emanuella. “Judge grants new trial for ‘Serial’ podcast subject.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/us/adnan-syed-serial-new-trial/index.html>.
McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed: 4 Key Pieces of Evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/serial-subject-adnan-syed-4-key-pieces-of-evidence-explained-20160701>.
N.a. “Episode 12: What We Know.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <https://serialpodcast.org/season-one/12/what-we-know>.
N.a.”What is a Diary and Why Should I Keep One?” Penzu. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <https://penzu.com/what-is-a-diary>.
Snejana, Farberov. “‘He said I’m gonna kill that b***ch’: Key witness Jay from Serial podcast speaks publicly about the case for the first time and insists Adnan Syed is GUILTY.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 16 May 2016. Web. 28 July 2017. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2890837/Key-witness-Jay-popular-Serial-podcast-speaks-time-notorious-murder-Baltimore-teen-accuses-reporter-misrepresenting-him.html>.