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Has anyone ever accused you of doing something wrong, even something small like misplacing the car keys or breaking a vase. Now imagine being accused of something much more significant, like the murder of your ex-girlfriend. Well, that’s what happened to seventeen-year-old Adnan Syed back in 1999. Here’s how the story goes, in the afternoon of January 13, 1999 Hae Min Lee, which was the ex-girlfriend, was supposed to go pick up her little cousin after school but she never showed up. Hae Min, along with Adnan, was a popular, smart, and athletic senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, Maryland. Lee’s Korea parents and Syed’s Pakistani parents were both very strict and did not approve of them dating so they continued the relationship in secrecy. Which would later be used as a motive that Adnan killed Hae. Continuing with the case, Hae’s body was found about a month later in an enormous park in Baltimore called Leakin Park. An autopsy declared that the harm was done by manual strangulation. About two weeks after that Adnan was arrested for the murder of Hae Min Lee. To correctly analyze the case and decide if Adnan was guilty, not guilty, or wrongly convicted I had to ask many other classmates what they believed, listen to the Serial podcast which is all about this case, many times again, and research evidence online.
Now, this case is somewhat hard to crack because there is not much evidence to analyze, close to none. There are a few connections to cellphone towers, a testimony that comes from an unreliable source, and some words from a few individuals. No DNA, surveillance videos, or strong pieces of evidence linking Adnan to Hae Min’s death. Although, here are a few findings I discovered. First, we will begin with the lack of physical evidence. The investigators compared soil from the area Hae’s body was located at to soil underneath Adnan’s shoes, fingerprints in Hae’s car that belonged to Adnan, or any hairs or fibers that could’ve belonged to Adnan but none were a match (www.viewfromll2.com). Now it could have been possible that Adnan was just very careful to not leave any evidence, although very unlikely because he was not a skilled criminal or perhaps he just got very lucky that the investigators found no physical evidence.
The fact that no DNA was found is a good sign for Adnan, that means it will only be more difficult for the prosecutors to link him to the murder but they were not done fighting. The second piece of evidence would be Jay, Adnan’s friend and alleged accomplice, and his testimony which basically made the whole case possible. Jay stated that Adnan had declared to him before that he wanted to “kill that bitch.” Thus, implying that this murder was premediated and painting a picture of Adnan as someone that was capable of such a gruesome crime. Jay’s story changes significantly from his first interview to his testimony at the second trial. To begin, he first says they went to Westview Mall and there Adnan tells him he is going to kill Hae. In his testimony, he says they go to Security Square Mall and on the way there Adnan says he will kill Hae (www.serialpodcast.org). Also, his whole timeline is his testimony is about an hour off compared to his first interview, so how could the state go based off this timeline that is based on Jay’s testimony if he does not even seem too sure about it? First, he states that Adnan presents him Hae’s body in the trunk of her car at the ‘strip’ off Edmenson Avenue. Then, he changes the story to meeting each other at Best Buy, after Adnan calls him from a payphone in the parking lot (which by the way, does not exist), and he shows Hae’s body to Jay in the parking lot. In his stories, events just do not happen at the same time or place, like the cops from police to Adnan occurs at McDonald’s but then it comes in while they are at Jay’s friend’s house. But it is concerning that Jay knew the approximate measures of the grave that Adnan dug of by himself because prosecutors argued how else would Jay know.
One juror stated that she gave credibility to Jay’s testimony because it “struck [her] that “why would [Jay] admit to doing something that drastic if [Adnan] hadn’t done it?” You know what I mean? For what reason? What was he going to gain from that? He still had to go to jail.” (www.viewfromll2.com). Although, Jay had stated that he would lie to save himself from going to jail or else he would have been convicted of murder. It is possible that the police used Jay to place the guilt on Adnan and that Jay’s story changed because the police were guiding him in what to say and he agreed to it because they had a plea deal. Also, Jay never took a polygraph test, instead, a factfinder was present who is supposed to act as a human polygraph machine. But how accurate is this person’s ability to differ lies from truths and Jay had lied in all his police interviews so why did he suddenly become honest at the trial? (www.viewfromll2.com). They believed that Jay would not admit to being linked to the crime if he was not actually indeed a part of it because he would get himself in trouble. But he was never going to go to jail if he followed the cops’ story, which he did. Also, the prosecutor painted a picture of Adnan as an angry, possessive, and embarrassed young man. He was angry because Hae had broken up with him and that hurt his pride which filled him with rage and motive. They used his Pakistan ethnicity to say that he was possessive over women that he was with because that is how his culture is. So, when Hae left him he felt disobeyed. Lastly, he was embarrassed because he had to hide his relationship with Hae because of their religious backgrounds, they were both not allowed to date and once Adnan’s parents had even showed up at the homecoming dance and forced Adnan to go home. His friend said he had received a call from Adnan after that happened and they laughed at the ridiculous night, but he was not angry seeking revenge. (www.serialpodcast.org). Lastly, many of my classmates said they could not said Adnan was guilty because they was no proof or “ah-hah” moment that really proved that he did it. Although, they also could not say he did not do it because it seemed possible they said they would not vote guilty in a jury simply because there was not enough evidence.
There is more evidence and this case could be talked about for days with no end. But, with these few faults that I have presented in the case I say that Adnan was wrongfully convicted because there was not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is something I believe Adnan’s lawyers failed at. There was clearly not enough to put him away but they did not argue that point enough and the prosecutors did not stop fighting and ultimately, they came out triumphant. I cannot say that he is guilty but the state did not have enough evidence to send him to life in prison based off one boy’s forever-changing testimony and a few cellphone tower pings that was relatively recent technology. Furthermore, because Adnan could not have been connected directed to Hae Min Lee’s murder, he should have been set free. I do not believe it was Jay or Adnan and the real killer was never found.
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