Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

We are in the middle of what, for lack of a better description, I will call a radical feminist moment. Not a day goes by without some poor soul being shamed on the internet for a multitude of sins ranging from mansplaining and manspreading to making us all live in a rape culture and depriving women of jobs in the gaming industry.

Yet right in the middle of this media-fuelled, girl-power moment, something inexplicable has happened. It is Serial, last year’s blockbuster of a podcast all about loveable, enigmatic Adnan Syed, who back in 1999 murdered Hae Min Lee, the 18-year-old girl, who had just dumped him. Serial, which led many people to conclude — despite piles of evidence to the contrary — that Adnan did not receive a fair trial, was brought to you not by the usual misogynists and rape apologists but by the impeccably liberal staff of This American Life. It was fronted by Sarah Koenig, radio reporter and earth mother extraordinaire.

Adnan Syed I'm going to kill note
Sarah Koenig consistently minimized the warning signs of intimate partner violence, including Adnan Syed’s writing “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae Min Lee telling him to back off.

As I write (April 20, 2015), the accolades for Serial’s innovative investigative journalism keep rolling in. Earlier today it was announced that it had won a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting and last week Koenig was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2014. When she isn’t working on the next season of Serial, Koenig’s out being fêted on the speaker circuit. Mysteriously, there are no trigger warnings and calls for safe spaces when Koenig arrives on campus despite her iffy perspective on the very sensitive subject of intimate partner violence.

As an example, consider that in November 1998, two months before she was strangled to death, Hae Min Lee wrote a break-up note to Adnan Syed telling him to move on, accept her decision to end their relationship, and to “hate me if you will.” On the back of this note, Adnan Syed wrote: “I’m going to kill.” The police found the note when they searched the Syeds’ house after his arrest.

Koenig waved this all away, describing it as “a detail you’d find in a cheesy detective novel” and a “stray thing” that could be meaningless. Too bad that we’re talking about real life here and Hae Min Lee did, you know, actually turn up dead. But then Koenig also managed to overlook the fact that Hae asked a teacher to help her hide from Adnan and that, in her diary, she described her ex-boyfriend’s possessiveness as a problem, a direct contradiction of what was said on the podcast.

Teacher testimony transcript Hae hides from Adnan
Teacher Hope Schab helped Hae hide from Adnan but this was never mentioned on Serial. (Trial 1 transcript)

Yet despite Koenig’s consistent minimization of incidents that are classic warning signs of intimate partner violence, there has not been one serious feminist critique of Serial in the mainstream US media. Yes, a couple of Brit pundits expressed shock, but that was before Christmas and they were pretty much ignored and then forgotten.

Just like race beat out gender two decades ago at the OJ trial, allowing a wife killer to be transformed into a symbol of justice for African Americans, so, today, can Adnan can be hailed as a representative of the wrongfully convicted despite the plentiful evidence against him and the transcripts that show he had a fair trial. Koenig’s “I nurse doubt” cri de coeur is V.2014 of “if the glove don’t fit you must acquit.”

I’m not sure, however, that Koenig would have gotten away with the rehabilitation of Adnan Syed, had she not been aided and abetted by the Innocence Project — an organization that pre-podcast I had always respected, but about which I now, to borrow a handy expression from the Serial songbook, nurse some pretty serious doubts. Deirdre Enright, director of investigations for its University of Virginia law school branch, deals a serious blow to Innocence Project credibility every time she opens her mouth about Adnan.

Take, for example, the final episode of Serial in which she asks Koenig: “What makes mores sense? That little 17-year-old, never-been-in-trouble-with-the-law Adnan killed someone or that Ronald Moore, rapist and murderer who got out of prison 13 days before Hae disappeared, that he killed someone?”

“Right, I know,” says a dumbfounded Koenig instead of, “Hold on a minute there, Deirdre. Isn’t it way more likely that a woman will be murdered by her intimate partner as opposed to some random serial killer? And BTW, how does Jay fit into your wild third party strangler theory?”

Oh wait, Koenig did actually ask about Jay and here’s what Enright replied:  “Big picture Sarah, big picture.” The big picture, to put it bluntly, is that Enright is talking like a freaking crazy lady, and if it weren’t for her impressive credentials, no one would be paying the slightest bit of attention to her theories. Emperor, new clothes and all that.

Which brings me to still more lawyers spouting nonsense — Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, who have been keeping Adnan Syed’s story in the news since Serial ended. Their new Undisclosed podcast made its debut last week, burning its way up the iTunes charts.

As a result of their newfound status as quasi public figures, the Undisclosed lawyers have come in for quite a bit of criticism, some of which is crazy and unhinged, and has, of course, been chronicled in the media. What the MSM fails to mention, however, is that these lawyers have, in a number of instances, demonstrated a startling lack of respect for ethical boundaries.

Chaudry, a polarizing figure with a potty mouth, set the tone right at the beginning of Serial when she and her gang accused an Adnan-critic from the Baltimore Muslim community of being a child molester.

Simpson is more cautious, sticking to innuendo and classic just-asking-questions tactics. She recently published the unflattering employment records of Hae’s last boyfriend Don in a misguided attempt to show police hadn’t done their job (sorry, I don’t want to link to this one), all the while conceding Don didn’t do it. So what’s her excuse for dragging him through the online mud 16 years later then? It’s to make one of her hallmark illogical points — that the police should have devoted more time to investigating an innocent dude.

Miller, meanwhile, has been ghoulishly poring over autopsy reports, a subject in which he has zero scientific training, and talking to “experts” apparently unwilling to attach their names* to his tenuous theories that prove nothing. I can’t help but wonder if he’s ever spared a thought for how Hae’s family might feel about his futile ramblings over her corpse.

Perhaps it’s just coincidence but the debut of Undisclosed and the latest round of Serial plaudits coincided with the arrival on the internet of various documents discrediting the #FreeAdnan movement. Over the weekend, an email written by Adnan’s good high school friend, Imran, made its way on to Reddit. It shows that one week after Hae’s disappearance, before anyone knew she was dead, Imran wrote to a friend of Hae’s in California, who was concerned about her:

Imran email re death of Hae Min Lee

On her blog, Rabia Chaudry brushed this highly troubling email off as a “sick joke.” Other Adnan supporters, a number of whom remain Facebook friends with Imran, also dismiss it as a failed attempt at humour, the type of thing crazy teenagers do — just like Adnan writing “I’m going to kill” on a note from Hae. It’s not clear whether Sarah Koenig ever saw the email although I’ve been told but can’t confirm that Imran was one of the people she interviewed in the Rumours episode of Serial. Imran did not respond to my requests for an interview.

As someone who doesn’t think your average teen is down with joking about a friend’s death, I’m going to suggest a non-humourous interpretation of this callous misogyny: Imran, an Adnan acolyte who doesn’t seem at all moved by the gruesome murder he describes, was clumsily trying to help with a cover-up. I would further suggest that my theory is supported by the fact that after Adnan is arrested, Asia McClain — who is being touted by #FreeAdnan as their new star witness — describes Emron (sic) as upset and looking like “crap.”

Evidently the much maligned police — who Simpson and Chaudry constantly accuse of failing to do their job — were concerned enough about this email to subpoena information about the IP address from which it was sent in an effort to confirm the identity of the sender. That’s a strong indication they didn’t believe it was a joke but rather potential evidence.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone able to confront facts that the Imran email undermines the whole premise of Serial’s first episode, that Adnan couldn’t remember January 13, 1999, the day of Hae’s murder, because for him it was just another regular day in the distant, six-weeks-ago past. The email shows that, as far away as California, friends were talking about what had happened to Hae and trying to get information. No one was blowing off her disappearance as Adnan preposterously claimed to Sarah Koenig in Serial and she audibly nodded along.

As more and more non-Serial sanctioned information comes to light, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the  #FreeAdnan movement is little more than a collection of useful idiots fooled into fighting against an imaginary miscarriage of justice. Their goal is to spring from prison the remorseless killer of a young woman, who had her whole life ahead of her until Adnan Syed stole it away.

Amidst all the publicity and noise, it’s important to remember that Serial is not the new Thin Blue Line and never will be. The right man is behind bars and that’s a good thing, no matter what Adnan Syed supporters want to talk themselves into believing.


Read Rabia Chaudry’s response to this essay and my response to Rabia.

*The day after I published this post, Colin Miller quoted his first and only named expert in months of ghoul blogging. Probably just a coincidence.

May 9 Update: This article got linked on Reddit yesterday and has generated a lively discussion.

Avoid guys like Adnan. Read The Gift of Fear and then pass it on. It’s a great book:

94 thoughts on “Serial podcast rehabilitated a schoolgirl’s murderer, so where’s the feminist outrage?

  1. ” Deirdre Enright, director of investigations for its University of Virginia law school branch, deals a serious blow to Innocence Project credibility every time she opens her mouth”

    This is not at all surprising to me, there is something seriously wrong with the people at the Innocence Project and related organizations. While they occasionally throw their weight behind those that are truly wrongfully convicted, more often they champion the causes of those who are clearly guilty of murder which is very disturbing. They are determined to exonerate Atif Rafay and Sebastian Burns, who have been very rightfully convicted of multiple first-degree murders. Some of the people behind these movement seem to be ambulance-chaser-quality lawyers who are trying to make a name for themselves by associating themselves with high-profile convicts. On the off-chance that they manage to get a conviction overturned, whether it’s a wrongful conviction or not, their careers will be made. They’re simply betting on long-shots for an unlikely but massive payoff if they happen to pull off the judicially improbable…


    1. My friend. If you were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for decades, you would realize the value of what innocence projects do. I don’t remember the exact statistics, but I believe I’ve read that 10% of prisoners may be the victims of wrongful convictions. Innocence projects are therefore an invaluable asset in the interest of true justice.


      1. What specific facts make you believe Adnan was wrongly convicted?

        Please cite your source for those figures.


      2. sandmanmoon: I do understand the value of Innocence Projects. I also understand that they would be even more valuable if they only focused on people who are innocent, which many do. Innocence Projects are not all curated by the same people with the same mandate. Some will only get involved in cases where DNA evidence is crucial, and those are the ones I think are much more valuable than the ones who are seeking to exonerate murderers by finding technicalities, loopholes, or in this particular case (the worst of all), media manipulation.


  2. By focusing on your feminist agenda you miss the HUGE issues that Serial brought to the public light. Also, you make numerous factual errors in your post! The piles of evidence you refer to include the testimony of a lying liar who received an incredibly generous plea deal in exchange for his testimony, contaminated witness accounts, expert testimony based on flawed science and delivered without a written report (nothing to provide to the defense that way), and….that’s it. No physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, extremely weak motive.

    Never mind that 2 men incarcerated around the same time as Adnan have been exonerated and are suing many of the same law enforcement officials that were involved in Adnan’s case. One of the men, Sabein Burgess, was also convicted for killing his girlfriend. There was mountains of evidence against him too. You probably would have labeled him a violent misogynist who deserved his sentence. It was actually an unknown third party who killed her.

    Hae Min Lee’s death was a tragedy. However, you clearly have fallen into the same trap as Baltimore Law Enforcement in the late 90s. These crimes are usually committed by a boyfriend or ex boyfriend. Law enforcement followed Adnan, chronicled his day, and made it fit their theory of the murder case. Anything that didn’t fit their theory of the case was discarded or not investigated. What was Hae Min Lee doing after school that day when she told friends she had something to do? BPD’s answer: who cares!

    Serial, for all its flaws, shone a light on our deeply flawed criminal justice system. That’s why Sarah was named as influential person and why Serial won the Peabody. In this case we had an incomplete investigation, lost evidence, unrecorded police interviews, interrogation of a minor suspect without mirandizing, the presence of his parents or an attorney for 6 hours (also unrecorded and nearly undocumented), a star witness’ testimony who changes at least 5 times over the course of the investigation (who also shared smoke breaks with jurors), incomplete autopsy evidence (sorry you find this gross), PERK and DNA evidence that was never tested, junk cell science, and Islamophobia. This is justice to you?


    1. Great list of the issues involved here. As a feminist, I think it’s awful that some people are trying to make this a “typical” domestic violence thing. It’s horrible that Hae was killed. It’s also horrible that the detectives in this case had a habit of doing illegal searches on women witnesses in murder cases, planting drugs, and then threatening to take away their children if they didn’t falsely identify an innocent man.


      1. Can you actually cite a link showing that the cops in this case did any such thing? Every time I’ve followed up on these types of allegations, the stories haven’t at all said what you seem to think they’re saying about the detectives involved in the prosecution of Adnan Syed.

        I’m going to need some specifics here.


      2. Then search them and provide the links. YOu’ll also need exact citations not generalizations that you can’t back up.


    2. The picture that was posted of the “note Hae gave to Adnan breaking up with him” where he wrote “I’m going to kill” on the back of it, was also a note he was passing with his friend during class. He had shown her the note & they were discussing it on the back. During trial, said friend testified that she does NOT remember the letter saying that during their correspondence in class. Why did you not include this when you were referring to said letter? Shame on you, Ann! You are just as bad as you are claiming Sarah Koenig to be. Leaving out facts to support your side.

      PLEASE don’t turn this into some feminist rant. There was nothing here to support that Hae was abused. Being 23 years old myself, I was not in high school too long ago. At that age, it is perfectly functional to want to know where your girlfriend or boyfriend is, or not like when they talk to certain people of the opposite sex. Or to get aggravated at them sometimes for wanting to hangout with their friends instead of you. That’s the way high school relationships are! WHO says that indicates abuse on Adnan’s part? Especially when technology as a means of immediate communication was JUST coming about, almost certainly, increasing someones use of a pager or cell phone to call their friends or try to get a hold of their significant other. Does anyone here not have a high school child that is ALWAYS texting their little high school girlfriend or boyfriend? Do you ever see them cry or get upset over their communications? Exactly.

      I have not been blinded by Sarah Koenig’s podcast, nor this article. I am ashamed of our justice system. Why are you supporting an abuse theory, when there was none? Sure, he was controlling, but EVERYONE at that age is! She never went to school with bruises, and her friends (nor diary) said she was abused or ever hit. If I had just broken up with a boy in highschool I would probably also ask my teacher to let me hide from him, just to avoid an awkward situation (aka if he asked for a ride or anything like that). Where is the empathy here?
      What I am MORE concerned about as a woman, is what IF Hae had been raped by a random person? There was a serial rapist in the area at that time that preyed on Asian women. While we were “fighting for justice” for a high school age girl with a high school age boyfriend (who acted the same as every OTHER high school boyfriend), there could be a rapist in society preying on women! Don’t be so blind as to ignore the real issues which trying to push your personal agenda on others.

      As a young person, and woman, I am thoroughly disappointed in this article.


      1. Ugh. Yours is the type of comment I just hate and perfectly illustrates the problem I have with the Adnan apologists.

        A commenter on Reddit put it better than I could so, please go read what s/he said.

        And then answer questions 1 and 3.

        1) Is it excusable to claim that you ‘don’t buy AS’s motive?

        3) In ambiguous ‘wrongful conviction’ stories, should the author/producer be more careful to honestly portray the accused’s behaviour, even if it is problematic for his/her narrative and financial viability of their product, due to the fact that sexual violence and violence against women has a history of being under reported and under prosecuted?


      2. Morgan: The problem is you’re taking things out of context. Of course it’s not unusual for highschool couples to be in intense relationships with plenty of jealousy. What’s unusual is when one of them winds up murdered. When that happens it’s prudent to examine the social history of the victim in order to ascribe a motive to a suspect.

        Anyway, why is it that you think that it’s important that someone who saw the note that said “I am going to kill” testified not remembering seeing those words on the note? If you were trying to be honest in debating this you’d reveal your theory as to how you think those words got there, rather than engaging in the disingenuous Serial tactic of raising issues to confuse rather than elucidate. What I’m saying is that if you think it’s important that a witness didn’t remember seeing those words on the note, the onus is on you to explain why that’s important. Because the only answer can be that the words were written there by a corrupt investigator. If that’s what you think, why not just say it? I think I know why, I think you know that if you say it you will lose credibility and come off as a conspiracy theorist. But if your arguments require you to not fully disclose their nature, lest they be discounted, then perhaps those arguments aren’t as robust in the first place as you’d like them to be.


    3. I agree with you 100%. In today’s day and age, it is unfathomable for me to picture anyone being convicted of a crime (where there is evidence that is able to be tested for DNA) without DNA evidence. Lack thereof, in an investigation like this, is enough to create reasonable doubt. Especially, if it was on hand, but not tested. Also, there are too many loopholes in this case. Just relying on Jay’s testimony (which is flawed, even to the smallest degree), is not enough. I mean for Christ’s sake, Casey Anthony was acquitted, I know Adnan definitely would be, if tried properly today. Being a young woman myself, I am ashamed that the feminist agenda is pushed so heavily in this. It makes us just look ignorant.


      1. “It makes us just look ignorant.” – Morgan

        I don’t think you’ll have much trouble achieving that look all by yourself. You seem to think there is DNA evidence that could exonerate Syed if it were to be tested, if only the Shadow Government weren’t hellbent on railroading an insignificant teenager for murder… There isn’t any DNA evidence the State has refused to test. Syed’s defense team CLAIMS that THEY have DNA evidence but they refuse to have it tested. So why did they mention it at all when they refuse to test it? In order to confuse people like you, which apparently worked.


      2. “Also, there are too many loopholes in this case.”

        I think you mean too many holes in the case. Loopholes are technicalities whereby those who would otherwise be found guilty are not. So if you think he’d be set free because of a ‘loophole’ that means you think the case against him is solid, which clearly, you don’t.


    1. Yes, he did that the day after my article was published. I’ve been meaning to add a note to clarify this, and must get on it now that this post is generating attention. I’ve added a footnote mentioning this.


    1. She sounds like a salty woman who is bitter that she hasn’t had the bright idea or the talent to get to where Sarah Koenig is in life. Now that she’s posted this “controversial” post and people are noticing her, she’s too busy to clarify her inconsistencies, but is creaming her pants with the attention it’s getting. Amateur.

      P.S. There was NO indication there was EVER any violence or abuse between Adnan and Hae. The author sounds like another one of those internet feminazis, who first tries to act like she’s not one of those people who “…shame on the internet for a multitude of sins ranging from mansplaining and manspreading to making us all live in a rape culture and depriving women of jobs in the gaming industry”, yet ends up doing exactly THAT by the end of the article. All you dumb men, who support this nonsense, will get your day of reckoning one day…like Joss Whedon did recently.


      1. It sure takes chutzpah to come on my site and insult me.

        I’m a journalist so, yes, I want my work to be read. I’m not sure why you think that’s a bad thing.

        While I do often post links to my work on Reddit, I didn’t actually post a link to this piece. I am, however, really glad someone else did as it generated more than 400 comments, some of which were interesting and thought provoking.

        So tell me again, why you feel the need to denigrate this as trolling.


  3. Let’s try a little experiment, shall we?

    Pick a senior in high school who has an ex-boyfriend. Let her go off somewhere in the middle of the school year, and we’ll tell people she mysteriously disappeared.

    Some weeks later, tell people her body has been found, and let me go around the school asking about her and her ex-boyfriend, and the day she disappeared, with the general assumption that “the ex-boyfriend is always a suspect”. Let me search his home and car.

    I guarantee I can put together at least as good a case against him as you’ve done with Adnan Syed here. If there’s a good spinner of yarns like Jay who was with him that day, let me use the Reid technique on him, and I’ll get him to tell whatever you want.


    1. The author of the polemic may well be right on the guilt, but I think its absolutely terrifying how she is suspending her critical think faculties.

      Put yourself in Adnan’s shoes for a second and think what if you and the justice system have indeed made a grave error of logic and interpretation of facts. Surely he (and any other falsly convicted people as well as victims) deserve a professional criminal investigation as well as fair due process. What on earth is objectionable about this? Nobody here is condoning violence against women. If Adnan is guilty, he deserves to lose his best years atoning for his crime.


      1. I am not suspending my critical thinking abilities.

        I follow wrongful convictions and prosecutions quite closely. People get off because there is evidence that absolves them and points to others. In Adnan’s case there is nothing despite having 15 years to find something and with TAL, the Innocence Project and half the Internet working on his behalf. I repeat NOTHING. Nada, zip zero.

        And let’s also remember that Adnan is materially a lot better off than most of the wrongfully convicted and had a six week trial that left no grounds for appeal other than the plea deal.

        So if you want to talk critical thinking, let’s talk about your critical thinking skills.

        Where is the slightest bit of evidence that there’s been a grave error? Or is it just that you listened to a podcast and jumped on the bandwagon because Adnan sounded like a cool dude to you because that’s not critical thinking.


      2. I’m not sure why it says I’m leaving a reply to BrittiPyöräilijä when I clicked the reply button under AnnB’s response to BrittiPyöräilijä. You might want to look into fixing that…

        Anyway what I wanted to say is that in my experience most people who accuse others of lacking the ability to engage in critical thinking have absolutely no idea what critical thinking refers to. Those that do have understanding of critical thinking simply use it to refute the arguments of those who don’t, rather than simply accusing someone of lacking critical thinking ability, as if referring to ‘critical thinking’ amounts to an argumentational magic wand. In my experience very few people who talk about ‘critical thinking’ even know what a logical fallacy is, let alone being familiar with all of them. I started on the path of critical thinking 15 years ago and I still don’t have a complete grasp on all the known logical fallacies, I find myself boning-up on them on a regular basis. So ‘critical thinking’ isn’t some kind of brownie badge you achieve and then have it for the rest of your life, it’s something you have to constantly work on, it’s a life-long project, which means NOBODY has perfect critical thinking skills.

        Incidentally, though this won’t work over the internet since they will just Google it, next time someone accuses you of lacking ‘critical thinking’ skills, ask them what a heuristic is. If they have no idea, and they probably won’t, you can safely ignore whatever else they have to say, because it will be useless.


      3. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is sitting in prison today innocent of the crimes you’ve been convicted of but groups like Innocent Project and podcasts like Serial are too busy trying to free a murderer to help you with your case.


    2. I haven’t been following this case very closely, perhaps I will when I get some free time. But I do know plenty about the Reid Technique, and polygraphs. While it’s true that the Reid Technique is notorious for eliciting false confessions, that certainly does not mean that everyone who has been subjected to it confesses falsely. In fact, most of the false confessions that it generates are from children, who are notorious for giving false confessions regardless of the interrogation techniques used. The amount of false confessions is very low compared to the amount of true confessions, so it’s disingenuous to use the existence of the Reid Technique to automatically dismiss every confession it generates. The ‘Mr. Big’ technique generates even more false confessions than the Reid technique, yet it’s still an extremely useful technique.

      Again, you Syed apologists sound like the typical ambulance-chaser-quality lawyers of the Innocence Project who are all about seeding doubt. They, and you, apparently, will reference anything that might inject some doubt in the case to the average onlooker, regardless of how irrelevant and inconsequential these claims are. It’s hardly what I would call a concerted effort for justice, more like a concerted effort for grandstanding, moral relativism, and the self-interest of defense lawyers.


      1. You “haven’t been following this case closely”, and yet are quite comfortable making sweeping geeralizations about “you Syed apologists” and “typical ambulance-chaser-quality lawyers of the Innocence Project”?


      2. I’m very familiar with another case the Innocent Project is championing, and I’ve spent plenty of time debating with one of the lawyers connected to the Innocence Project, and it is from these exchanges that I have determined that at least one Innocence Project lawyer is of low quality.

        I also think I have more understanding of the Syed case than the Syed apologists do. Because even though I haven’t been following this case very closely, I’ve at least been following it rationally. I think that the people who think Syed is innocent are those who are most easily manipulated by the propaganda constructed by the Serial podcast via Syed’s lawyer.


  4. if the cops were so concerned about that email Imran wrote that they actually checked the IP, that shows that they had the wherewithal and ability to also check Adnan’s email account to see if he actually was in the library writing emails. which they did not do. or maybe they did, and what they found was inconvenient to the case they were building so it got “lost” like so much of the evidence that might have shown that they did anything other than decide on a suspect and run with it.

    the disturbing thing about this case, other than an 18 yr old girl being killed, is that there is a lot of prosecutorial and procedural flim flammery going on. if it was so obvious he killed her, why did they have to mislead the jury, keep all their evidence from the defense and not even mention that Jay was a witness until a couple of weeks before trial?

    so much of what has been uncovered by SK, SS & CM is just basic stuff that anyone who watches Law & Order would know is just detection 101. why not actually find out if Hae was actually going to a wrestling match that day? why not ask at the library for the sign in sheet? why not find out what her plans were THE DAY SHE WENT MISSING instead of waiting until her body turned up? it should have been apparent if any investigation was done that she hadn’t gone to California or whatever, no 18 year old runs off with 10 bucks in her bank account. why did nobody mention that she was supposed to be at work? it’s not that it’s impossible that Adnan killed her, but there’s serious problems with the investigation and the trial(s) that mean that it’s possible that he didn’t.

    and as an aside, that whole business with Hae “hiding” from Adnan with the teacher? classic high school romance stuff. “we had a fight and I don’t want to talk to him right now” kind of stuff. the teacher doesn’t say that Adnan was angry, or acting threateningly or even talking shit. I think that so many people who are following the case are forgetting the drama of high school… everything is balanced on such a fine point of emotion. and there’s nothing to show that Adnan was ever violent toward anyone, let alone Hae. Kids don’t live in a vacuum, if there was any kind of violence between them, it would have been noticed, in personality changes in Hae and Adnan. I say this as someone who has been in a violent relationship – every single one of my friends knew it even though I pretended everything was great. any incident can be seen through a dark lens. but if this was truly a domestic violence situation, or even an overly possessive situation, there would have been more instances than just 2 that can be pointed to.


    1. Where to start? The hotmail account. You do know the prosecution is obliged to disclose to the defence and that failure to do so could result in a mistrial, acquittal, etc. The fact that this hasn’t happened shows there is zero proof of failure to disclose. Can you actually cite one specific sourced example of failure to disclose?

      As for what the Undisclosed bloggers have been uncovering, it is completely irrelevant. Most of the time they just make assumptions and then magically transform them into facts. On the rare occasions when they get a new fact, it’s meaningless.

      Sixteen years ago, Cristina Gutierrez tried to get Adnan off by finding a few supposed holes in the case. It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now. You need an alternative version of events, to tell people what really happened or, at least, what might have happened. Why do you suppose no one on Adnan’s side can do that? Because nothing else makes sense.

      As for Adnan’s stalking and possessiveness, let me know how normal you think it is when some dude’s pulling that on your daughter.


    2. Koenig was not practicing “normal” journalism. She is apparently trying to engage NPR’s audience in a serious review of the process and procedures by which Adnan Syed has been determined to be the murderer of his former companion, and consequently sentenced to a term of imprisonment for his natural life. This effort is being made while the defendant’s appeal is pending. She is not just reporting a series of events. Her style reminds me of a description of Wells’s radio presentation of the “War of the Worlds”:

      ” . . . Herein lay the great tensile strength of the show; it was the structural device that made the whole illusion possible. … In order to take advantage of the accepted convention, we had to slide swiftly and imperceptibly out of the ‘real’ time of a news report into the ‘dramatic’ time of a fictional broadcast. Once that was achieved — without losing the audience’s attention or arousing their skepticism — once they were sufficiently absorbed and bewitched not to notice the transitions any more, there was no extreme of fantasy through which they would not follow us. . . . ” [John Houseman describing “The War of the Worlds” radio play ]

      Koenig relies on carefully excerpted snippets of documents like the transcript to amp-up listener involvement with the narrative she is presenting. People talk about the show’s subject as if they are familiar with the transcript. Koenig makes sweeping generalizations based upon her reading of the transcript, especially about the nature of the prosecutions theories and the support of the evidence for those theories.
      Before I’d begin to consider trading in my “Free Jack Abbot!” t-shirt for the “Free Adnan Syed!” shirt Koenig seems to be weaving, I need to see the transcripts. Otherwise I’d probably wake up one day feeling a bit “Daisey-d”


  5. “Oh wait, Koenig did actually ask about Jay and here’s what Enright replied: ‘Big picture Sarah, big picture.’ The big picture, to put it bluntly, is that Enright is talking like a freaking crazy lady, and if it weren’t for her impressive credentials, no one would be paying the slightest bit of attention to her theories. ”

    I’m not sure how familiar you are with the podcast, but it is widely recognized that Enright’s response was cluing SK into the fact that Ronald Moore is a red herring. Enright and the IP needed a reason to get the DNA tested, and Moore could serve as that reason, even if none of them actually believe he was involved.


  6. Hm… I was kind of hoping for a more in depth feminist analysis, i.e. how was SK “charmed” by Adnan, other similar cases of domestic violence (many exist involving teenagers) and how they might have been brushed off, the acceptance of DV in our culture etc.

    I was honestly kind of disappointed. This article doesn’t offer any new info, or a new perspective. It’s just kind of preachy and vapid.


    1. Well, I’m sorry I didn’t live up to your expectations. I really wasn’t expecting Koenig to wave a magic wand, just to say to Adnan, “Why did you write ‘I’m going to kill’ on that note?”

      Or how about, “Wait a minute, what kind of high school senior looking forward to university and her senior class trip to France and her new BF just up and leaves for California in the middle of the year? That makes no sense.”

      Or, “Adnan, why did Hae feel the need to write you a note like that?”


  7. First of all, I’m not sure why there should be, specifically, feminist outrage over this case. Feminists are people who believe that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities—I’m not sure what that has to do with this case.

    Second, I think if you’re going to claim “intimate partner violence,” you need to have better support for your theory than the three flimsy pieces of anecdotal evidence you presented. Do you spend a lot of time around teenagers? I do. I have a teenage daughter, in fact. Teenagers say “I’m going to kill you” all the time. A teenage boy writing “I’m going to kill” across the top of a piece of paper doesn’t mean anything. If he had specifically said “I’m going to kill her,” or “I’m going to kill Hae,” maybe. But are there any other writings of his that suggest he felt violent towards her? Any drawings or emails, anything he said to friends? Four words on a piece of paper, in the absence of any other evidence, doesn’t make it significant.

    When kids fight or argue with each other, they don’t want to see each other. The fact that Hae didn’t want to deal with Adnan on a day that they fought isn’t significant in my mind. She didn’t tell the teacher she was afraid of him, she didn’t say he’d been physically violent, there was no indication in the example that you presented that she felt herself to be in danger. She just didn’t want to see him or talk to him. My daughter and her friends do things like this all the time — not just where boys are involved, but with other girls. Teenagers don’t know how to handle conflict; they are a mess of boiling emotions, and often their way of dealing with situations like this is not to deal with them at all.

    Finally, Hae’s diary entry. Her *single* diary entry. Again, this is a teenage girl writing this, the same teenage girl who wrote that she loved a guy she’d been dating for less than 2 weeks. If there were multiple entries about Adnan’s possessive behavior towards her, if it showed a pattern of escalation, that would be a different story. This looks to me like a teenage girl venting her emotions on that particular day at that particular time.

    I don’t think we’ll ever know who killed Hae Min Lee, but I don’t think your arguments that Adnan killed her in an act of domestic violence hold water, either.


    1. “I have a teenage daughter, in fact. Teenagers say “I’m going to kill you” all the time.”

      Ah. Do her boyfriends get murdered all the time, too?


      1. No, they generally don’t end up murdered.. but if one did up dead, does that mean her daughter did it?


      2. What it would mean is that the daughter would be a major suspect, as anyone who threatens to kill someone who winds up murdered would be. The only way you could possibly think your comment would be relevant is if you are trying to portray the threat to be the only evidence against Syed, which would of course be a deliberate attempt to mislead. And that’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from Syed supporters.


      3. Well, I suppose that’s a little presumptuous of me. You may not be a Syed supporter at all, you may just be a very unintelligent person and because you don’t realize how unintelligent you are, you actually thought that you were making a logically compelling argument.


  8. My issue with all of this is it’s based of hunches and every time someone challenges you you demand citation. Yet you can’t even defend any of your theories when questioned by someone who actually knows the details of the case. Feminism must have different meanings in Canada than it does in America because I don’t agree that this has anything to do with this case. There is a single eyewitness, written evidence, or testimony that there was violence, abuse, or issues to that nature in their relationship. And your supporters are nasty in their responses to people who challenge you as are you. There is just very little credibility to this whole thing and I’m guessing your 15 minutes are up. Enjoy that pie.


    1. It took me days to decide whether or not to approve this comment. I am very open to replying to specific criticism, but your comment is just a generalized attack on both me personally and what I’ve written.

      What I will say is that Adnan exhibited a number of problematic behaviours in his relationship with Hae. You are right that we know of no violent incidents, but violence has to start somewhere. It is not unusual for family and friends of domestic violence victims to be surprised when a relationship they previously believed to be benign turns markedly violent. In fact, it happens all the time.


      1. And still I see no list of problematic behaviours from you, or specific references to back up those behaviours. As you say, you’re the journalist, so why ask other people to provide their own sources, yet you can not provide your own.


      2. My original article lists the problematic behaviours complete with references. Either you can’t read or you prefer to ignore facts you don’t like — pick one.


  9. What a misguided and self congratulatory post. You obviously don’t care about the injustice and obvious gaping holes in the prosecutor’s time line and evidence.

    I suggest you actually look up what feminism is before you assign outrage in the name of it.


    1. I do care about injustice, but it seems we disagree on what it is.

      For me, injustice would be letting remorseless, lying murderer Adnan Syed out of jail.


      1. I think its fair to say that not a single soul here can say 100% without a shadow of a doubt that Adnan did or didn’t do it.

        There are no reliable credible witnesses that actually saw him commit the act. There is no DNA evidence (that has been bought to light).

        This is what frustrates me endlesslessly.

        The are only 3 who know for certain who did it are 1. the Killer. 2 Probably Hae. 3. God.

        The rest of us are all merely speculating. We can have our strong emotional opinions and keyboard investigator theories but one solid fact is that we can never say we know for certain.


      2. You seem to be mistakenly conflating beyond reasonable doubt and “without a shadow of doubt.”

        The former is the criminal justice standard not the latter.

        While you may not find Jay credible, the jury did after watching him being cross-examined for five days. I’m curious as to why you seem to think your opinion counts more than theirs.

        As for your desire for DNA evidence, you seem to be suffering from what’s known as the CSI effect.

        And for the record, I don’t believe in God either so yet another thing we disagree on.


      3. I completely agree with you. I believe that adnan was the one who killed hae however if I was on the jury I would have to say not guily because there is still some doubt and i don’t believe you can convict someone if your not 100%


      4. You are just plain wrong. Beyond reasonable doubt does not mean beyond all doubt and 100% certain.

        LOok it up and read about it.

        Essentially you’re advocating for as system in which almost no one is ever convicted. You should think about what the consequences of that might be.


      5. Why are you so closed minded and believe that everything you say is truth? Beyond a reasonable doubt aka to a moral certenty does not mean you have to be 100% but it means you better be damn sure. I have read a good bit of articles listened to the podcast and looked at the evidence that i can get my hands on. There is enough doubt in my mind of the staments of Mr. Wilds and enough discrepancys in the timeline he gives and the phone records. Also when the facts of his stories often change some time for the bennifit or not of adnan I get suspicious of his reliability. Lastly we can have a spirited debate without you being condescending I realize you have grown used to talking down to men but I don’t appreciate it.

        Maybe your sexism is blurring your vision and hence the reason for your assumption of guilt against ahnan….a male


      6. I am damned sure Adnan is guilty.

        You aren’t. That’s fine. I understand how a reasonable person could find him not guilty.

        None of that, however, changes the fact that in your original comment you made a factually wrong statement. Beyond reasonable doubt simply does not mean 100% certain.

        Frankly, I think the reason a lot of people cling to the belief that Adnan is not guilty is due to the Serial format. Adnan got to speak, but — unlike what would happen in a court of law — he was never cross examined. Had he taken the stand, he would have been ripped to shreds and exposed for the liar he is.

        All those people who say “I think he’s guilty, but I have doubt” don’t take into account the fact that essentially Adnan was given a platform to spout off with nothing more than the occasional softball question tossed his way by Sarah Koenig.

        If he’d been thoroughly cross examined, even you might find that you were convinced of his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.


      7. Nick I think that ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ means beyond a reasonable person’s doubt. I don’t think that people who think Syed should be granted a new trial are reasonable people because I don’t think they are capable of adequate reasoning. That’s just my opinion though my opinion is based less on the facts of the case and more on the manipulative agenda and horrendously poor ‘journalism’ employed by Serial and Sarah Koenig. I refuse to waste my time listening to Serial’s first season serial because it’s simply not very interesting from any standpoint other than how easily people can be manipulated by media. I am however looking forward to the rest of season 2, as Koenig appears to be trying to exonerate Bowe ‘Bonehead’ Bergdahl, and during an active case no less. It will be interesting to see how low she stoops this time around.


  10. You say you’re “damn sure” Adnan is guilty, but you are the one with the burden of proof. Remember, innocent until proven guilty. Not the opposite. With everything that’s been uncovered, especially the lividity evidence, throws the state’s, and Jay’s timeline astray. Indeed, it is very possible that Adnan did kill Hae, but it is also very possible that he didn’t,


    1. Adnan has been proven guilty. That happened in 2000.

      There is no “lividity evidence.” Undisclosed presented a theory that hasn’t been independently verified or tested.

      As I said, I’m convinced beyond a reasonable doubt Adnan killed Hae.

      If startling new evidence emerges — and that’s not just an Adnan supporter’s internet musings on lividity — I’m happy to listen.


      1. Thank you for the response.

        If he was honestly proven guilty, why was the motion to re-open his case granted? Wouldn’t a law-abiding Judge be more inclined to agree with you than a “guiltless murderer”?

        In the state’s autopsy report(, it also says lividity was fixed in the anterior of the body, which also discount’s Jay’s story that she was in the truck of the car for hours after death.

        I don’t know if you follow any other podcasts – particularly Serial Dynasty. It was either his second or fourth episode, but he did to Jay exactly what was done to Adnan in court. Had the case Bob presented been the one the prosecutor said in court, surely Jay would be in prison.

        That’s exactly how silly your argument that “he was proven guilty” by a jury.

        At this point having read your posts and gone to reddit to see what you’ve said, you’ve been saying the same thing for months. Stubbornly, at that. You’ve yet to honestly refute someone. If someone calls you out, you call them absurd, or an Adnan-apologist, or some other petty thing.

        Personally, I don’t think Adnan is guilty, but I also don’t think he’s innocent. There is definitely not enough proof to go either way. Sure, you can argue that he was convicted by a jury of his peers, but so were many other innocent people. Juries have their flaws. Police officers have their flaws. Relationships have their flaws. Unfortunately, a high school student was murdered, but there isn’t, in my opinion, anywhere near enough evidence to prove who did it.

        There were Adnan’s fingerprints in the car. He was dating her, what, two weeks prior? They were close friends. She often gave him rides to track practice.

        You once said that the hair is “definitely without a doubt Adnan’s”, when that claim was only made after pressure from Urick after the mistrial.

        If anything, there are grounds for reasonable doubt that the officers that were in charge of this case were up to no good. Maybe they weren’t out to get some ex-boyfriend. Rather, in a city filled with crime, they wanted to get past this case so they can move on to the next. There is no way to tell, and those involved have been all but cooperative in these recent investigations.

        You can be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he did it, but just because you believe it doesn’t make it true.


      2. “why was the motion to re-open his case granted?”

        There was no motion to re-open his case granted. It is the post-conviction hearing that will be re-opened to decide if Syed will be able to introduce new evidence. You are getting way ahead of yourself. The case may or may not eventually be reopened, but it’s nowhere near there yet.

        “That’s exactly how silly your argument that ‘he was proven guilty’ by a jury.”

        Except that’s not my argument. He’s guilty because of the evidence. The jury happened to agree with me.

        “You once said that the hair is ‘definitely without a doubt Adnan’s’, when that claim was only made after pressure from Urick after the mistrial.”

        I’ve never discussed the hair. You must be confusing me with someone else.

        You need to get your facts straight.


      3. “You need to get your facts straight.”

        Like that’s ever going to happen.

        It’s a good thing juries don’t hear cases tried by podcast…


  11. I have an issue based on the third to last paragraph where the author claims Adnan’s guilt based on his lack of concern for Hae’s disappearance, and claims that Serial largely ignored this. They didn’t. They bring that up. And they also quote Don, the current boyfriend at the time of the murder in sharing the same sentiments as Adnan.

    Does lack of concern for the whereabouts of an ex make someone guilty of murder? No. That would be non-sequitur. Hard Evidence without reasonable doubt does. There is no physical evidence. The only testimony is given by someone who is shown over and over again not to be a credible witness.

    Are we saying that Adnan innocent? No, because that can’t be proven. Innocent and not guilty are two very different things. In a court of law, we never prove innocence, only guilty or not guilty. What the rational majority of us are trying to say is that there is no way, with the evidence provided, that you can convict WITHOUT REASONABLE DOUBT, Adnan is guilty.

    You can pick apart everything you want to about his character, his possessiveness, his religion. But the fact of the matter is that when you do this, you miss the forest for the trees. These are easy and cheap ad hominem and non-sequitur arguments that distract us from the real issue at hand. Have I been possessive over an ex? Sure. Does that mean I wanted her dead? Hell no. All that we can go off of is the evidence that is actually connected to that day and that case, in which there is very little.

    To answer the authors question as to why feminists are not in an outrage, the answer is simple. This is not a case of feminism. This is not a case of domestic violence. To assume that domestic violence was involved would be making the assumption that Adnan is guilty of the crime in question, which you do not have hard, physical evidence to support. You do have a conviction by a jury, in which case I can find many counter examples in which a jury has convicted an innocent man. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that conviction = proven guilt.

    Throughout the case, there is never a documented case of Adnan being, in any way, abusive to Hae while or after they were together. And him showing up to her class to talk to Hae or get advice from a teacher about religion and relationships does not constitute domestic violence. It does not constitute fear. She very well could have just not felt like talking to him that day. There is no evidence that I could find in that teacher’s testimony to prove that Hae was “scared of Adnan”. If she was scared of him, why would she have given him a ride after school on Jan 13 like the prosecution claimed? Or why would she call him to help her with her car troubles? Or why would she not have written about it in her diary or told Don about the abuse? That seems to not match up with your logic.

    The fact of the matter is you are guilty of the same bias you claim of Serial. You are disregarding information that hurts your own predisposed opinions of Adnan. You are turning a case of the failure of due diligence of the justice system into an issue of domestic violence, which holds no merit. Your use of fallacies is widespread and for that reason, your argument has lost all credibility with me.


    1. There was no failure of due diligence. Read the MPIA file.

      Based on the evidence as a whole, I am more than convinced ADnan is guilty.


    2. “What the rational majority of us are trying to say…”

      Rational majority? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’ve heard of mob mentality, though. I’ve also heard of sockpuppets, and considering how often Syed’s supporters repeat the same refrain, I find it hard to believe most of them aren’t sockpuppets hired to spam forums and comments from the same Adnan Syed Trust Fund that finances the propaganda machine Undisclosed.

      We all know what you’re “trying to say” because you repeat it over and over and over. Assuming you’re not a sockpuppet for the sake of argument, that just means you can’t figure out the evidence so you foster lots of ‘doubt’. But those of us who CAN figure out the evidence don’t harbour that doubt. And as Ann keeps pointing out, the JURY figured the evidence out, too. It should not come as a surprise that listeners to a hack-job podcast may be at an information-disadvantage compared to the jurors. It should also come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Four Stages of Competence, that you ‘unreasonable doubters’ think you actually have the ability to figure this case out better than the jury did. That’s because at the first stage of competence, which is incompetence, the incompetent are unable to recognize their incompetence and even rate their abilities to be superior to those who are actually competent. You do realize that the jury would have had to decide that Syed got a fair trial in order to convict him, right? So really this all comes down to you ‘unreasonable doubters’ having to declare the jury corrupt and ‘out to get’ Syed. That’s ‘your’ only argument (by ‘your’ I mean the people at Undisclosed, assuming you aren’t one of them, who spoon-feed you everything you think you ‘know’), even though the Leaders of the Unreasonable Doubt Movement don’t have the guts to spell it out so I have to do it for you. All Undisclosed and Serial want to do is throw nonsense in to confuse the easily confused. But it all boils down to the jury being corrupt. This isn’t the West Memphis 3, there is no satanic panic or anything other moral panic to cloud the jury’s judgement.

      Furthermore, in order to even foster your unreasonable doubt caused by Serial’s obfuscation, you have to decide that Jay, who clearly knew about the murder, for some reason wanted to pin it all on Syed instead of the real killer. You have to decide that Jay’s minor differences in telling his story at different times are due to Jay’s unrelenting campaign to railroad Syed, rather than being the result of Jay wanting to keep himself out of as much trouble as possible. There is SO little to foster actual doubt in this case that this entire story becomes more about media manipulation and the psychology of self-evaluation than anything else. The story here is that the ignorant think they’re shrewd, and there are reams of psychological research explaining how that works…

      “This is not a case of feminism. This is not a case of domestic violence.”

      I rest my case.


      1. “But it all boils down to the jury being corrupt.”

        I may be what you refer to as “Spoon-fed” and “easily confused”, but I must say this is just wrong.

        Indeed, the jury convicted, but that has nothing to do with corruption, be it with police officers, prosecutors, or what have you. Based on the case presented, through all the confusing questions, weeks of trials, lack of Adnan’s own testimony, and the case itself, the Jury found Adnan guilty of Murdering Hae Lee.

        That is because of the case, not the jury. The way the prosecutors presented this case, they painted a story where nobody but Adnan can be guilty, but based on what has been uncovered on the Baltimore police department, I think it’s reasonable to believe there is a possibility that the police officers involved just wanted to close the case, closed in on a suspect, and convicted. They took whatever path they found necessary to get there.

        You may believe that beyond doubt, Adnan is 100% guilty, that there was no problem with the story given (despite inconsistencies), but you must also be reasonable enough to look at this case from the other side of the coin and acknowledge the possibility he is innocent.

        If you think fans of Undisclosed and Serial are so spoon-fed-stupid, how come no legitimate damning evidence against Adnan has not been uncovered? The only reason he was convicted was because of Jay. Without Jay, there is no case. It’s very possible that Adnan is guilty, but there is no evidence that points to that – only a series of seemingly “natural” events that make people take a glance and wonder what’s up with that. Only when grouped together does it make someone “look guilty”.

        Frankly, if I were a juror and heard the case presented today, including facts uncovered by the “propaganda machine” Undisclosed, I would be nervous to convict Adnan because it doesn’t seem as if he’s guilty. It also doesn’t seem as if he’s innocent.

        There’s nothing to convict him on.

        Get off your high horse.


      2. “I may be what you refer to as “Spoon-fed” and “easily confused”, but I must say this is just wrong.”

        It isn’t wrong, and I don’t think you’re spoon-fed or easily confused, I think you’re paid to to try to spoon-feed and confuse people on blogs and in comments. Unfortunately for you the people you want to convince don’t even care anymore because Serial is entertainment and they’re all onto listening with rapture to the second season, which thankfully has nothing to do with Syed. The little media blip you created with Serial is over. Syed’s 15 minutes are up, and the only people left taking about this are those who are getting paid to do so and those who can see right through your feeble plot.

        “The way the prosecutors presented this case, they painted a story ”

        Ah, so the jury isn’t corrupt, they’re just incompetent and can’t see the obvious corruption of the prosecutors, police, the defense attorney, etc, the way you genius podcast listeners can…

        “but based on what has been uncovered on the Baltimore police department, I think it’s reasonable to believe there is a possibility ”

        Then why not throw out every case a Baltimore police officer was involved in making an arrest of in the past 30 years? 50 years? Why is Syed so important. Oh yeah, because you’ve been brainwashed by a podcast. And rather than being embarrassed about that, you just keep insisting that Emperor Adnan is wearing clothes…

        “You may believe that beyond doubt, Adnan is 100% guilty, ”

        I’m not psychic, and neither was the jury. One does not have to “believe beyond doubt (that an accused) is guilty” in order to convict. You simply have to decide there is no reasonable doubt of guilt. And that’s what the informed jury decided.

        ” but you must also be reasonable enough to look at this case from the other side of the coin and acknowledge the possibility he is innocent.”

        I’m quite reasonable, but the problem is I’m intelligent.

        Hey, if you’re NOT on the Undisclosed payroll, why is it so important to you and others that EVERYONE agrees with you? Are you capable of accepting that other people might have a different opinion. I have no problem with you deciding you’re the smart one and that you can see this case for what it is, but you seem to have a problem with me deciding the same thing. Why is that? And why is my ‘horse’ any ‘higher’ than yours?

        “Only when grouped together does it make someone “look guilty”.”

        And why shouldn’t those things be ‘grouped together’? Grouped together, they show a pattern of guilt. But sure, if you isolate them and pretend like each of them don’t matter and that there are no connections between them, then you can declare a problem with conviction. In otherwords, if you OBFUSCATE then you can FOOL PEOPLE.

        “The only reason he was convicted was because of Jay. Without Jay, there is no case.”

        No, what you mean is that if the jury were to find Jay to not be credible, and to find the girl who claims she saw Syed in the library to be credible, then there would be no case. But the jury found Jay to be credible, and the library witness to not be credible (as would any reasonable person).

        “Frankly, if I were a juror and heard the case presented today, including facts uncovered by the “propaganda machine” Undisclosed, I would be nervous to convict ”

        You wouldn’t. If Undisclosed were the defense attorneys, every time they brought up one of their BS theories in court the prosecutor would yell “OBJECTION!” and the judge would say “SUSTAINED, STRIKE THAT FROM THE RECORD!” then he would turn to the jury and say “IGNORE WHAT THE DEFENSE JUST STATED”, because BS can’t be used to fool juries in courtrooms in the same way it can be used to fool listeners to podcasts.

        “There’s nothing to convict him on.’

        Except for that pesky stuff called evidence.


      3. “But the jury found Jay to be credible, and the library witness to not be credible”

        Actually I think I might be wrong about that, the library witness may be someone conjured up by Serial and not present at the trial. I believe the consensus on that one is that Syed’s lawyer was wise not to call the library witness as her testimony would be ridiculous…


      4. What evidence? Remember, there isn’t any. They only have Jay’s testimony. They scrubbed Adnan’s car for any sign of evidence and there wasn’t any.

        “Syed’s lawyer was wise not to call the library witness as her testimony would be ridiculous…”
        Yet she’s going to go back to help him at his new hearing… and because of her this hearing was able to be set into motion…

        And still without Jay, there would be no case. Nobody, seriously, nobody else testified against Adnan. There was Jen, but her testimony largely contradicted Jay’s.

        “Then why not throw out every case a Baltimore police officer was involved in making an arrest of in the past 30 years? 50 years? Why is Syed so important. Oh yeah, because you’ve been brainwashed by a podcast. And rather than being embarrassed about that, you just keep insisting that Emperor Adnan is wearing clothes…”
        Most cases in most counties in most states more than likely deserve a review. He’s no more important than anyone else. I don’t even think he’s perfectly innocent. I don’t think he’s guilty either. I’d love to get improperly imprisoned people out. The justice system needs an upheaval, but it is extremely likely it’ll happen.

        I’d also like to add that I’d love to be paid for posting. I really, really doubt you’ll believe that I’m unaffiliated with undisclosed/serial/whatever else, but surprise! I’m just a college student. I don’t know anything about legal workings, forensics, or any of the important stuff that would go into a case. I just know what I know. And I don’t know what happened to Hae Lee. I have opinions on what may have happened, but that holds no more ground than what you think happened. Or, in my opinion, what the state thinks happened.

        You can be as angry as you wish and throw whatever insults you wish.

        I tried my best. I’m not even trying to convince you of anything, or anyone of anything.


      5. “What evidence? Remember, there isn’t any. They only have Jay’s testimony.”

        No, they have the evidence that Jay knew where the body was buried because he showed them before that information was made public. That Jay decided to implicate the only person on the planet with a motive to kill the victim isn’t exactly surprising, is it?

        “I don’t even think he’s perfectly innocent. I don’t think he’s guilty either.”

        I think what you’re saying is that you aren’t capable of figuring this case out. That’s OK, you don’t see me trying to do Calculus or fix a carburetor because I don’t know how to.

        “I’d love to get improperly imprisoned people out.”

        But how many properly imprisoned people are you willing to let out during that quest? Or do you somehow think you’d have a better record than the justice system in differentiating between the guilty and the not-guilty?

        “I really, really doubt you’ll believe that I’m unaffiliated with undisclosed/serial/whatever else, but surprise! I’m just a college student. I don’t know anything about legal workings, forensics, or any of the important stuff that would go into a case”

        Maybe you are, maybe you’re not. It doesn’t really matter if you’re someone who is ignorant or who is feigning ignorance, because in the end all you offer is ignorance.

        “I just know what I know.”

        I know. The problem is you don’t know what you don’t know. If you were to present your arguments from a knowledgeable position I wouldn’t be able to refute them. I’d wind up agreeing with you.

        ” I have opinions on what may have happened, but that holds no more ground than what you think happened.”

        I have no reason to fantasize about such things… I don’t listen to serialized podcasts in order to be titillated I’m just refuting logical fallacies, inconsistencies, and (probably deliberate) obfuscations.

        “You can be as angry as you wish and throw whatever insults you wish.”

        I’m not angry, but if I were I think I’d be justified in being so. What rational person wouldn’t be at least a little irked to see others try to get a murderer freed from prison? The only reason I’m not is because I have prior experience dealing with people (lawyers) who want to get two other murderers out of prison. And I’ll bet they’re watching this debacle closely, getting ready to serialize an obfuscation of that case… no, I’m not angry because I’ll always be able to effectively refute obfuscation, but I’m disappointed in Serial and a little sad for the state of journalism in general. And maybe I’m concerned about the ability of the internet to spread ignorance so effectively and what kind of effect that will have on society in the future.

        “I tried my best. I’m not even trying to convince you of anything, or anyone of anything.”

        I believe you’re not trying to convince anyone else of anything, but I do think you’re trying to convince yourself that you haven’t been fooled by a serialized soap-opera style podcast. Because it’s such a serious subject, that would be embarrassing.


      6. “I’d love to get improperly imprisoned people out.”

        By the way, you do realize that all this attention and effort being spent on this case is at the expense of other people languishing in prison who really are innocent, right? It’s just too bad Serial hadn’t chosen one of them to profile. In fact, it’s not just too bad, it’s tragic.


  12. Just a quick point, Jay didn’t take the cops to the body. He didn’t even help locate the body. Mr. S found the body after stopping to tinkle.


    1. Who said Jay took the cops to the body or helped the cops find it? I said Jay showed the cops where the body had been buried before that information had been made public, which proves that Jay knows who the murderer is.


      1. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought Jay’s big point was knowing where Hae’s car was, not the burial site? When did Jay show the police the burial site?


      2. I don’t know when Jay showed the burial site to the police. The portions of his statement which are considered to be evidence are his knowledge of the location of the victims car and his knowledge of the location of the burial site. I assume he physically showed the police the site because I’ve never heard of a case where a witness identifies a location where a body is dumped by pointing it out on a map. That alone would probably trigger a mistrial. Investigators have to take the witness to the location and the witness has to state something to the effect of, “Yes, this is where I was when it happened.” He has to know exactly where the body was, and the only way to demonstrate first-hand knowledge is to lead investigators to the location.


  13. Thank you Ann for this perspective. Too many people seem to discount emotional/psychological abuse in a relationship – even those on the receiving end. It can be so subtle as opposed to physical abuse.

    I’m a little late to the party, I just finished Serial and read all I could about the case from various online sources. I completely agree with the guilty verdict. Being a convert to Islam I’ve seen first hand the double lives many young Muslims lead (mostly males), and the great lengths they go through to protect their “good Muslim” personas. This is what struck me the most about Adnan – and his close supporters maintaining he couldn’t have committed such a crime because of his “status” in the Muslim community. I had to mention this because this seemed to be one of the major reasons for creating Serial – Rabia Chaudry approaching Sarah Koenig, and the “good Muslim” defense being the opening of the series.

    I also believe that Sarah Koenig fell under the spell of the very likable, charming, innocent persona of a manipulative killer. Muslim or not, “good people”, “nice people”, “smart people” can do horrible things. Should we be so surprised?


  14. I’m really late to the series but after five episodes I went googling to confirm what I have just read. SK is horribly biased and completely dismissive of any controlling behaviour from Syed. Whether that makes him guilty or not, is besides the point. She seems to have set out to prove him innocent rather than find out the truth. I don’t think I’m going to bother to finish the series as it’s making me too cross.


  15. I was on Adnan side until the last episode of Serial season 1 with the conspiracy theory. Some serial killer killed Hae. That is the lamest theory. Really? You have so much circumstantial data to tie him to the murder. He was around and near her when the murder occurred. Who wanted Hae dead more than Adnan? Nobody.
    Hae was a superstar at that school. She was beautiful, a star athlete, a great students and also held down a job. Adnan was a good looking regular kid. Adnan had the jewel of Woodlawn HS and now he has lost her. Adnan was angry.
    Serial is bullshit!


  16. Adnan did it, had managed somehow to obtain a ride and (therefore contact) from Hae and during that time her murder occurred between 14:30 – 15:15. Jay was involved from the start and made his way to the murder location which was very close to Woodlawn High School after the crime had been committed. Jenn was soon drawn into it all with cooperation given during the after crime time. Body was buried during the 19:00 time frame. Out of fear of jail time, Jay with Jenn turned on Adnan. All 3 are involved with Adnan and Jay taking the lead. This is my personal opinion.


  17. I listened to the Serial podcast and I’m currently listening to Undisclosed. I wanted to see the other side as to why Adnan was convicted. I wanted to be sure that I was looking at everything from both sides. While I still have a lot more research to do, I will admit that I am leaning toward Adnan being not guilty. As a previous post stated just because I find him not guilty does not mean I think he is innocent. The issues I have with the States case is that Jay has changed his story multiple times. While I understand time can weaken the memory it seems that he was unable to keep track of what happened when.. Yet he had information regarding the murder. 1 – He knew where the car was 2. He claimed to have seen Hae dead and helped bury her. What I have a problem with on the Defense side is that I still do not know where Adnan was that day between 2:15 PM and 3:30. Most of the evidence that we do have in this case is on the word of other people. It is not abnormal for 10 people to witness the same crime but have different accounts. It is horrible that this young girl with such a promising future was taken away. As a Mother I feel for the family. I think when dealing with a situation where we don’t really have any proof. For me proof is DNA or video. I honestly don’t understand the name calling and the mean spirited comments. This is America and we all are entitled to have our opinion. I wish we could all remember to treat others as you wish to be treated. Thank you Ann for writing this thought provoking article.


    1. Thank you for your comments. But I have to say that I think you are labouring under some misconceptions. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not 100% certainty and it seems as if that is what you are seeking.

      You also need to understand that Serial and Undisclosed essentially give you the defence case. You don’t hear the prosecution’s evidence and arguments. All Undisclosed’s wild theories and speculation go unchallenged.

      In a court of law Adnan would not be allowed to give his story without being cross examined. They would have a chance to ask him about the holes in his story including his convenient memory lapses.

      “What I have a problem with on the Defense side is that I still do not know where Adnan was that day between 2:15 PM and 3:30.”

      You don’t have to know where he was. He is not charged with murder at a specific time. He is charged with murder. I do agree, however, that the prosecution was silly to say Hae was dead by 2:36 without evidence to back up that claim.

      “Most of the evidence that we do have in this case is on the word of other people. It is not abnormal for 10 people to witness the same crime but have different accounts.”

      No one is saying they witnessed the crime. They’re describing different events before and after. For the most part, their accounts are not contradictory.

      “For me proof is DNA or video.”

      Well, that’s not the legal standard. And according to that standard, no one would ever be found guilty of murder before 1995.


    2. Jennifer said: “For me proof is DNA or video.”

      Video evidence is around 30-40 years old, DNA evidence is around 20-30 years old. So what you’re saying is that before 1975 nobody should ever have been convicted of a crime. I wonder if you would feel so intellectually helpless if you were to come across this case in 1974? I doubt it, which means technology has thoroughly confused people…


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