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HBO Docu-Series: “The Case Against Adnan Syed” – Episode Two

This week, a huge part of the story is played out for us and the timeline of events becomes fully clarified. Frustratingly, the issue we are still faced with is key witnesses struggling to remember what actually happened and when. This is made even more complicated by the confession from Jay Wilds. Those who are familiar with Rabia and the way in which she deals with evidence will know that she is very matter of fact. She makes assumptions that are not always entirely justified because she very clearly believes that Jay’s confession was entirely made up and as a successful attorney she knows how to manipulate information into a believable truth. With that in mind, it is hard to look at Jay’s version of events with anything but suspicion, not only because of blaring inconsistencies but also because he is walking free today.

Jay Wilds


According to Jay, Adnan called him on the day Hae went missing around lunchtime and told him that he was going to ‘kill that bitch’ for breaking up with him. Jay went back to his house and waited until Adnan called him in the middle of the afternoon asking him to meet him at the Best Buy parking lot. Jay met him there and Adnan showed him Hae’s body in the trunk of her car. The two of them went to a park and smoked some weed and then went back to collect Hae’s car with Hae inside and around 7pm they drove out to Leakin Park and buried her body. Jay told this story to his friend Jenn Pusateri. Jenn, when interviewed by police told them that Jay had told her this and then Jay was questioned the night before Adnan’s arrest. This story changes in his second interview and again a trial making this very unreliable and difficult for other witnesses to corroborate because Jay tells his friends and police slightly different versions of the event. Rabia thinks this is because he is lying and forgets what he has told people but after documentary makers speak to Jay’s ex-girlfriend, a more sinister theory surfaces, one in which Jay is working with the police and where Jay can manipulate the police. The independent investigators look at Jay’s criminal record up to the present day and see that he has been arrested multiple times for possession, traffic incidents, evading arrest and an assault on his girlfriend. Looking at all of these arrests and considering that if Jay’s story about Adnan was true, he also assisted in disposing of a body and concealing a murder, Jay has spent little to no time in prison. He is a free man while Adnan, a straight-A student with no criminal record has spent almost half his life in prison.

The Timeline

Such an important part of this episode is piecing together the timeline and filling in the gaps where Adnan supposedly killed Hae. Jay helps with this as do phone records, however, there are shocking inconsistencies and some elements that are alarmingly overlooked. I will attempt to go over these now.

  • January 13th, 1999 – Hae Min Lee last seen alive and reported missing after failing to pick up her cousin from school
  • January 14th and 15th 1999 – Snowstorm closes schools, during this time Jenn Pusateri claims in her testimony that she helped Jay dispose of his clothes
  • January 15th, 1999 – Krista’s birthday party. Hae is missing and her friends are concerned about her, Adnan, Jay and Stephanie attend the birthday party together and seem to have a good time. Adnan recalls he didn’t feel that worried about Hae at this point, she was probably with her new boyfriend or something.
  • January 22nd, 1999 – Detective O’Shea interviews Hae’s current boyfriend Don
  • January 25th, 1999 – Detective O’Shea conducts first telephone interview with Adnan
  • January 29th, 1999 – Detective O’Shea conducts a second telephone interview with Adnan
  • February 10th, 1999 – Hae’s body found by Alonzo Sellars as he pulls over on the side of the road and goes into the woods to urinate. He sees Hae’s body poking through the dirt behind a large log.
  • February 12th, 1999 – Anonymous call from Asian male comes in to Police, telling them to focus on ‘ex-boyfriend’.
  • February 26th, 1999 – Detectives Ritz and McGillervary interview Adnan and Jenn, Jenn gives an additional interview to homicide
  • February 27th, 1999 – Detectives Ritz and McGillervary’s first recorded interview with Jay where he tells them his version of events and where to find Hae’s car, which up until now is still missing
  • February 28th, 1999 – Police go to where Jay said Hae’s car was and find it parked on some grass, they tow it back to HQ. Adnan is arrested.

Check out the timelines of Jay and Adnan’s version of events here on the Serial website. You can also see how the cell phone records occasionally marry up with Jay’s story.


Adnan was arrested after Jay confessed to helping him dispose of Hae’s body and revealing the location of Hae’s car. The cellphone records helped to corroborate parts of Jay’s story as did the additional statement from Jenn Pusateri. However, there are two significant problems with his conviction;

  1. DNA and Lividity. According to Jay, he was in Hae’s car for a significant amount of time as they drove it with Hae in the trunk to bury her at Leakin Park. There was no DNA evidence of Jay ever having been in the car and if his version of events are true enough to indict someone, you’d think there would have been DNA evidence that placed Hae in the trunk as well, however, no samples were taken from the trunk of her car. According to the post-mortem examination, the lividity of Hae’s blood was consistent with her lying face down, straight after her death, not bundled up in the trunk of a car. There is also no DNA evidence linking Adnan to Hae’s death.
  2. The Location of the Car. According to Jay, the car was parked on some grass on January 13th and was towed back to police HQ six weeks later, however, in photographs of the car, the grass underneath is very green and doesn’t look as though the car has been sitting there for that long.

So why was he convicted then?

Well, the upcoming episode will be going into the trial and prosecution in much more detail but at the time, Adnan could not account for his whereabouts during the window of time that the state claim Hae was murdered. Prosecutors also used cell tower pings to put Adnan at the scene of the crime, and finally, Jay testified against him. The story of which he also told two friends, one of whom was called as a witness. However, we now know that Asia Mclean who was not called as a witness during the original trial can account for Adnan’s whereabouts when Hae was presumably murdered and the cell tower pings were proven to be a wholly inaccurate method of determining someone’s location, and finally, Jay’s story. The only way in which Jay proved that his story was true was down to him knowing the location of Jay’s car and the use of cell phone records to match up to when he says certain things happened.


The issue with this docu-series is that it is not particularly objective. The information we have been provided in each episode has been curated to make audiences think Adnan is innocent and there has been very little information about the evidence used to convict him. This results in each episode focusing on other suspects and mistakes in police work rather than on Adnan. Little seeds are planted here and there to make you think that there are a plethora of reasons why this conviction is wrong but nothing so far as to why it was right. We must bear in mind that someone knows the truth, whether that is Adnan, Jay, Jenn or the police but there is a reason why the truth has not come out yet.

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