Rabia Chaudry responds to my feminist take on Serial podcast, and I respond back to Rabia

Earlier this week I received the following email from Rabia Chaudry about my essay criticizing Serial from a feminist perspective:

Dear Ann,

I just read your recent blog post and want to bring a couple of things to your attention. First, you are by all means entitled to being offended by my potty mouth, my best friend 25 years ago declared I have Tourettes (clearly I don’t and neither of us even knew what it meant, but it was a way of explaining my proclivity for profanity), and certainly my mouth leaves much to be desired.

That, however, has nothing to do with things called “facts”. The charge that I falsely accused someone of child molestation is, in fact, false. I accurately pointed out that Mr. B was someone who had been accused by his then wife, in public at the mosque, of such acts. I can connect you with her. You know, so you can actually investigate. Attached you’ll find a clip from Susan’s blog noting his arrest. If you’d like the actual report of the arrest, I can connect you with Susan who can provide it. The community had heard of it back in 1999, and had even internally identified the victim, but since it seems it wasn’t prosecuted in exchange for him not testifying in Adnan’s favor, no one ever understood what happened.

I suggest, as “private investigator”, you’d be better served to find out who this man was and whether he had in fact molested a child before defending him. It doesn’t behoove a PI to make pronouncements about anonymous figures. Kind of defeats your purpose.

I am appalled that someone who calls themselves an investigator would find the attention to autopsy reports “ghoulish”. Isn’t the job of an investigator to do exactly that? Find and then analyze the evidence? Instead of talking about the merits of the lividity issue, this is a rhetorical, baseless attack for the sake of — what, blog hits?  If you have issues with the SUBSTANCE of Colin and Susan’s analysis, that would be worthy to see.  Ad hominem attacks are easy, where’s your analysis on these issues?

When cell tower experts from across the country are calling us to say “hey that evidence was totally misused in Adnan’s trial” and medical experts are telling us Hae was not buried for at least 8 hours, would you have us ignore these experts? When the state’s only witness has once again changed his timeline, rendering the state’s use of the cell phone evidence useless, who do we believe now? The State? Jay?

Jay, who in fact has domestic violence charges on his record, perhaps needs a bit more scrutiny. And certainly the man who killed another young woman in a similar fashion six months prior, from the SAME SCHOOL, does too.

As for Imran’s note, I can connect you with him personally and you can ask about it. If it had any merit at all, the police and prosecution would have used it.

Lastly, as for the Baltimore City Police conduct, you may want to revisit much that’s been written about their corruption, take note of the pending DOJ investigation, and take a listen to our upcoming episode on Monday.


Here is my reply:

First off, let me get this out of the way. I’m not personally offended by your potty mouth, Rabia. I mentioned it as an example of why you’re a polarizing figure. Some people love a feisty woman keeping it real as she drops F-bombs in the fight against injustice. Others not so much. As I see it, the swearing is just how you roll.

Since you wrote me a frank email, I’m going to give you my honest answers. I’m also going to try really hard not to confuse people who aren’t up on every detail of this case while, at the same time, adding some background to my original blog essay.

The Adnan critic I referred to, who was accused of being a child molester by your friends, was sachabacha. He was attacked on Reddit after he posted anonymously there — making the allegation, later verified by Serial, that Adnan stole from the mosque, and another accusation, not featured on Serial, that Adnan’s brother had called him a “masterful liar.” This resulted in a vicious pile-on designed to shut sachabacha down.

sachabachaaccusedof beingBilal
On Reddit, Rabia and co. originally accused sachabacha, a mosque insider, of being Bilal, an alleged child molester. Above is a deleted quote from Adnan’s brother, Yusef.

Correct me if I’m wrong, Rabia, but I think it’s conceded now that sachabacha is not nor never was Bilal, so the ugly accusations levelled against him, by Adnan’s brother and others, were completely out of line. Luckily for sachabacha, he’s just an anonymous internet person because your crowd has shown no qualms about smearing innocent people including, among many others — Stephanie, Don, Don’s mother, Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary, and, most favourite of all, Jay. In short, pretty much anyone who’s not Adnan.

Here’s your own brother suggesting, with zero evidence, that Stephanie might have done it:

Rabia's brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae
Rabia’s brother Saad suggests in his Reddit AMA that maybe Stephanie killed Hae

Accusations of murder are thrown around like they’re nothing, which is pretty ironic given that the goal of all this is to get a guy out of jail who’s ostensibly been wrongly convicted of murder.

The problem at the heart of Serial

Now, I’m not suggesting that all this finger pointing at innocent people is your fault, Rabia. People are going to do stupid things and you can’t stop that or be held responsible for every idiot on the internet, but if Saad were my little brother, I would have had a word with him. And if I were you, I also wouldn’t be praising Susan Simpson for her irresponsible exposure of Don’s completely irrelevant employment records.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsYou and Simpson both say you believe Don’s innocent and then you send out tweets like this. Sure, your official line for putting confidential information about him on the internet is that these were documents filed in court and you need to show that the police were lax in their investigation of Don. Well, in answer to point one, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Here’s an NYT article on the problem with people posting documents from court cases on the internet. And two, Simpson has in no way established that the police did not properly investigate Don. They interviewed him multiple times, they searched his home and workplace, they checked his alibi. (Unlike Adnan, he actually had an alibi.) It’s just ridiculous to argue they should have investigated him more because he had some bad employee reviews. The police do not have unlimited resources and they had a far more likely suspect in Adnan Syed.

Dragging Don through the mud was the example I originally gave of Simpson crossing ethical boundaries yet you accused me of launching baseless ad hominem attacks on her and Colin MIller to get blog hits. Well, yes, I am a journalist so I do want my work to get read, but my critiques were neither baseless nor ad hominem. And since you asked, I’m happy to elaborate on Simpson’s and MIller’s bad habits.

Let’s start with Simpson who specializes in producing reams of irrelevant data, can’t see the forest for the trees, and doesn’t recognize the difference between an assumption and a fact. Here’s a classic example of the latter from one of her first Serial blog posts. For some reason she can’t wrap her head around the idea that Jay might have noticed that Hae’s corpse had no shoes. To show how preposterous this is, she writes:

Sure. Some time during Jay and Adnan’s post-murder road trip through western Baltimore, Adnan could have turned to Jay and said, “By the way, I’m leaving Hae’s shoes in her car.” But does that really sound plausible? Adnan told Jay about what he had decided to do with Hae’s shoes? Of all the things they could talk about, of all the things Adnan might have told Jay, one of them was, “Oh by the way, Hae’s shoes are in her car”? Of course, there’s another explanation for why Jay knows where Hae’s shoes were left. Because he’s the one that left them there. And saying “Adnan told me” is simply Jay’s way of answering everything every question the detectives ask about things only Adnan should have knowledge of.

Do you follow the lack of logic there? In Simpson’s opinion, it’s crazy that Jay would have known about Hae’s shoes therefore Jay was involved in murdering Hae. Not just as an accessory after the fact but as something more. This is a completely unjustified accusation based on a flawed leap of logic. What’s more, this type of magical transformation of assumption into fact happens multiple times in every one of her blog posts  as well as on Undisclosed.

Here’s a more recent example from your podcast. Simpson believes that Cathy has the day that Adnan visited her house wrong, which is important because it’s also the day of the murder. Cathy says she remembers it was that specific day because she went to a conference. Simpson finds a “workshop” related to Cathy’s field of study that  took place on a different day. She assumes, based on nothing, that Cathy must have been confused and attended this other workshop aka conference on another day. The Undisclosed crew declares Cathy is wrong. Again, an assumption is transformed into a fact.

You mentioned I’m a private investigator. I am and I’m also a journalist who writes about crime and courts. One of the things I’ve learned over decades in this business is that when you test your beautifully imagined and constructed theories in the real world, you often find out they’re wrong because people will give you facts and evidence that contradict them. Maybe, unbeknownst to Simpson, Cathy’s conference on January 13, 1999 was written in her diary. Maybe Cristina Gutierrez and her investigator double checked Cathy’s alibi because at trial Adnan’s lawyer references the building in which the conference was held. Maybe the prosecution checked it too, as is standard practice, because you don’t want your key witnesses blowing up on the stand. Maybe Simpson needs to actually talk to Cathy before declaring her a muddled mixer-upper who testified incorrectly 16 years ago.

But enough about Simpson. Let’s talk about Evidence Prof Colin Miller. You’re miffed that I called him ghoulish. Well, frankly, I thought it was better than creepy, which I also considered. You also suggest that I shouldn’t criticize him for investigating autopsy reports and analyzing the evidence. I actually have no problem with Miller playing amateur coroner if that’s his thing. My problem is with him posting his half-baked theories on the internet.

Although you chose to ignore it, I did explain in my essay that the issue with Miller’s blog posts is that there is no purpose to them. Take the one devoted to explaining why Hae’s head injuries demonstrate she couldn’t have been killed in the driver’s seat. In the prosecution’s closing arguments Kathleen Murphy argues that Hae was killed in the passenger seat. It’s only Jay, who wasn’t even there, who says Adnan told him Hae was killed in the driver’s seat. Basically the whole post, like all his other gruesome autopsy posts, is beside the point.

If this is some kind of intellectual exercise for Miller, he should go do it in privacy of his basement. Unless he reveals truly exculpatory evidence, there is simply no justification for putting this type of post on the internet without the permission and blessing of Hae’s family. It’s disrespectful and a violation of a murdered girl’s privacy in every possible way.

The other point that I should make while I am on the subject of Miller and Simpson is that the forensic evidence they discuss is open to interpretation. Their MO is to suggest an improbable hypothetical and show that it’s possible. They then try to demonstrate, unconvincingly, that the prosecution’s version of events must be wrong and theirs must be right. Sometimes, they even drag an expert in to help, which ultimately ends in a case of which lividity or cell phone expert are you going to believe?  The whole exercise is futile and irrelevant. One expert’s interpretation of complex data is not going to spring Adnan from jail. Once a jury of your peers has found you guilty of murder and the appeals court has rejected all but your very last avenue of appeal, you need to find either a large legal loophole or major evidence that proves you innocent. Nothing else matters no matter how many supposedly fishy red herrings Simpson and Miller spot.

Unfortunately for Adnan, he’s been looking for that elusive proof of his innocence for 16 years with no success at all. Even now, with the Innocence Project and This American Life on his side, no one can suggest a remotely plausible version of who killed Hae Min Lee other than Adnan Syed. Your email suggests, Rabia, that you’re grasping at the straw that it was Roy Sharonnie Davis who strangled another Woodlawn high school student in 1998 but wasn’t convicted until 2004 on the basis of DNA. (Not to be confused with Deirdre Enright’s Ronald Lee Moore straw.)

Enright's pinning her hopes on Ronald Lee Moore (above) as Hae's killer. Chaudry thinks it's more likely Roy Sharronie Davis. I think it's neither.
Enright’s pinning her hopes on Ronald Lee Moore (above) as Hae’s killer. Chaudry thinks it’s more likely Roy Sharonnie Davis. I think it’s neither.

The big problem with yours and Deirdre Enright’s third party theories is that there’s zero reason for Jay to be protecting some loser serial killer, be it Roy or Ronald, and even less reason for the cops to be framing Adnan and Jay to protect said serial killer. Not to mention that it’s highly unlikely that, after 16 years, nothing about this would have come to light. People almost always talk and this is exactly the stuff that lowlifes talk about.

Rabia, you make a big deal about how Jay’s a lying liar, which he is, but I’ve got to tell you that I find Jay a whole lot more credible than Adnan, who’s also been lying from the very beginning. On the day Hae disappeared, he told the police he asked her for a ride. Then he said he didn’t. Then he couldn’t remember the day at all, claiming it was just a regular day six weeks ago even though it was the very unregular day the police contacted him about his ex-girlfriend, who he had called three times the night before. And on and on.

Imran email re death of Hae Min Lee
One week after Hae disappeared and five weeks before her body was found, Adnan’s friend Imran wrote this email

Which brings us to the police. You ask me to believe the police didn’t think Imran’s email was important because they didn’t use it in court. Say what? Now, I’m supposed to put my faith in those same bumbling police who didn’t investigate  Don properly and used Jay to frame Adnan to protect some rando serial killer. The same police you accused of corruption on your last episode of Undisclosed?

Rabia, I’m not naive about police. In my work, I criticize them when they deserve it and praise them when they do a good job. I’ve watched The Wire and read David Simon’s Homicide, which BTW features some good and dedicated Baltimore cops. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary engaged in any kind of misconduct whatsoever. Sarah Koenig said they both had good reputations. Jim Trainum said the Hae Min Lee investigation was above average and that they investigated three suspects. Ritz told Koenig that, knowing that Jay was a liar, they corroborated every part of his story.

Unlike most people on the #FreeAdnan boards, I’ve also actually read those court cases involving Ritz that keep getting cited as proof that he’s the devil incarnate. In the Mable case, Ritz was one of dozens of people being sued: Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 3.15.44 PM It was a civil case which never even made it to the discovery phase before the plaintiff dropped out so we have no idea how Ritz would have responded. Then there was another case where Ritz is mentioned in passing for using an interview technique practised by police forces across the country until the courts ordered it modified. That hardly sounds like a black mark agains his character. And most recently, another civil case came out, where Ritz has yet to respond to the allegations against him. Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 3.25.43 PM So what to make of all this? It doesn’t strike me as at all out of the ordinary that a homicide cop in Baltimore would be named in a handful of lawsuits after decades of service. It comes with the territory just like getting snarked on by Susan Simpson. In the name of balance though, you might also want to consider this Baltimore Sun article about Ritz raising money for a child abuse center:

“He solicits all the golfers single-handedly and all the donations single-handedly,” said Ritz’s son, William. “He talks about it all year long, and then he stresses about it the last couple of months leading up to it.” Sometimes, like in police work, his diligence comes at the expense of his health. Last year, while canvassing Inner Harbor businesses for tournament sponsors and after working nearly 36 hours straight on cases, Ritz, physically spent, passed out on the street outside Power Plant Live. He regained consciousness as a few pedestrians helped him to his feet. But rather than seek immediate medical attention, he brushed himself off and headed home, only to continue fundraising later. (He subsequently sought medical attention.)

When I listened to Ritz on the latest episode of Undisclosed, I was struck by how much he sounded like a decent guy, unable to comprehend Jenn’s callous reaction to Hae’s death and Adnan’s plan to kill her. He had the same disbelieving reaction to Jay in episode one of Serial, asking him why he didn’t try to stop Adnan. Where you, Rabia, hear taps and rustling papers and conspiratorial corruption, I hear veteran homicide cops blown away by the casual cruelty and immorality of these kids. Imran’s awful email was yet another example. Hae’s life meant so little to Jay, Jenn and Imran. And to Adnan, who actually killed her.

In her attempt to explain away the Imran email, Simpson told a convoluted tale of two Imrans, claiming erroneously that the writer wasn’t really Adnan’s good friend but another Imran altogether. This is a perfect example of tunnel vision.  Imran’s email looks bad for Adnan so Simpson dismisses it and, worse yet, starts making stuff up to fit her Adnan is innocent theory.


Thanks for offering to put me in touch with Imran H, Rabia. If the offer still stands after this article, I would love to take you up on it. I would like to hear why he wrote what he did and see the apology email he’s rumoured to have sent. I’m a believer in redemption. It’s one of the reasons I feel far more sympathetic to Jay than Adnan — because Jay actually owned up to what he did. While I wish he had gone to jail for his part in the crime, he didn’t so time to let it go. As far as I’m concerned Jay has paid his debt to society. What’s more he’s apologized and shown remorse.

You mention the domestic assault charges he later faced, and say they deserve more scrutiny despite being dropped. You are right that we absolutely do need to hear his ex-girlfriend’s side of things before swallowing the explanation he gave the Intercept.

Since I wrote my essay, there have been more than 500 comments about it. A number of people agreed with me that Sarah Koenig was indeed wrong to brush off well- documented warning signs of intimate partner violence, but argued that wasn’t proof Adnan killed Hae. They were right, of course, but my essay wasn’t about laying out the entire case against Adnan. It was about the oddness of Koenig’s unfeminist ouevre being so lauded at this particular point in time, where we are supposedly so concerned about women’s issues.

So, for the record, let me tell you why I’m convinced Adnan is guilty.

  1. Adnan should remember what happened on that very un-normal day. He was called by police the same day his ex-girlfriend disappeared. He was interviewed by police two weeks later. The whole “I can’t remember that normal day six weeks ago” schtick is total BS. And Koenig was a sucker for believing it. There is no good explanation for why Adnan has no alibi. He was aware the day Hae went missing something was seriously wrong.
  2. Jay has no reason for framing Adnan nor does anyone else let alone Roy Sharonnie Davis or Ronald Lee Moore, who, between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.
  3. Adnan has no explanation whatsoever as to how he landed in this position. Yes, I know Deirdre Enright said innocent people often can’t help their case. But she was talking about not being able to find a body in a field as opposed to having no idea whatsoever why your buddy Jay might want to frame you for murder. People who work with killers will also tell you that this vaguey-vague “someone must have framed me but I don’t know why” explanation is a pretty common one among the guilty.
  4. Adnan has consistently lied about how people reacted to Hae’s disppearance, claiming it was no big deal, which is completely implausible. Hae had a new a boyfriend, a class trip to France booked, and university to look forward to. There was no way she’d take off to California in the middle of her senior year.
  5. Adnan’s good friend Imran appears to have been actively trying to discourage Hae’s California friends from looking for her a week after her disappearance, when, according to Adnan, no one was concerned she was gone.
  6. Adnan had no reason for lending Jay his car. The idea that he was concerned about Jay getting a birthday present for Stephanie is laughable.
  7. Adnan lied about asking Hae for a ride, contradicting the testimony of Krista and Debbie.
  8. Adnan wrote “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae telling him to back off. (If you think that’s no biggie, let me know how you feel about it when you see your daughters writing a note like that and then discover the recipient’s decorated it with “I’m going to kill.”)
  9. Adnan exhibited other stalkery behaviour towards Hae. She hid from him at school and wrote in her diary that he was possessive.
  10. Adnan never tried to contact Hae after January 13th even though he called her three times the night before.
  11. There is no explanation for the Nisha call other than an improbable butt dial.
  12. Adnan’s cell phone records place him in Leakin Park burying Hae’s body.

So that’s it for now, Rabia, 12 points and counting. I’ve probably left something off the list and if I remember it, I’ll add it later. But the bottom line is, just like the jury, I’m convinced way beyond a reasonable doubt that your guy is guilty.

If you ever find some evidence that shows I’m wrong — like the stuff you said a while back that your PI has dug up — let me know. Likewise, if  Adnan decides to admit to his crime, show remorse and ask for forgiveness, I’d like to hear.

Otherwise Rabia, I don’t think this is a gulf that can be crossed. I just can’t get behind the campaign to free a guy who killed his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend and has never once said he feels a single bit of remorse.

There was no miscarriage of justice in the case of Adnan Syed. The fact that he’s in jail is justice.

85 thoughts on “Rabia Chaudry responds to my feminist take on Serial podcast, and I respond back to Rabia

  1. Your 12 points are so inconsequential, they are laughable. Your blog post screams with emotion and opinion rather than actual substance. There are actually some points about this case that actually suggest Adnan’s guilt. For one, Jay’s testimony places Adnan with the body. Of course, you have to have faith in Jay to accept the information that he provided, but his testimony certainly has a lot more weight to it than “Adnan should remember what happened on that very un-normal day.” Rabia can be emotional in regards to this case, but she has every right to be. She is deeply invested in Adnan’s innocence because she has a personal relationship with him and his family. She has vitriol dumped on her on a daily basis and she doesn’t always react well, but she is human. I have serious issues with some of the things that Sarah Simpson and Colin Miller put forth as fact. But, you are no better than them. You want us to believe that Adnan is guilty because you say it is so. At least Sarah Simpson and Colin Miller have actually put thought and analysis into their theories unlike you who rattles off a list of subjective opinions.


    1. As I replied to you on Reddit, I have no problem with Simpson and Miller concluding Adnan is not guilty. That’s their right and it’s what we ask people on juries to do every day: Make a decision, guilty or not guilty.

      My post addresses why I believe Simpson’s, Miller’s and Rabia’s arguments are wrong.

      If we’d all been on a jury together and failed to convince each other, the jury would have been hung. That’s ok too. It happens.

      What you are doing is trying to place yourself above everyone, as if you’re some omniscient oracle, claiming there’s not enough information to make a decision.

      This is completely wrong. Had there been insufficient evidence for a jury decision, it would have been grounds for an appeal, and it wasn’t.

      So lady up, Ladysleuth, and make your decision. Guilty or not guilty?


      1. The problem with your reasoning is that none of it is evidence of murder. Adnan asked for a ride and then lied about it? So? Even an innocent ex-boyfriend might realize that having asked for a ride looks bad. The cell pings put him near Leakin Park around 7:00 p.m. But there isn’t a single living person currently saying Hae was buried at that time and lividity evidence strongly suggests she was not. So that is proof of exactly nothing. That leaves the only evidence – direct or circumstantial – that connects Adnan to the crime being Jay’s testimony, which is seriously compromised. There is literally nothing else. Accusing people of thinking themselves an “omniscient oracle” is rather hypocritical when you are pronouncing someone guilty based on your perceived notions of what they should remember or what a valid reason to loan someone a car might be.


      2. Lady, you know as well as anyone, they do not just have Jay. They have Jen. And even if you do not want the tower pings to mean a 7pm Leakin Park burial, what it does mean, incontrovertibally, is that Adnan was lying, again.


      3. Xiaodre: I gave Jay as one example. I, at no point, claimed that was the only example. Additionally, Jay now claims that the burial didn’t occur until closer to midnight, so your 7 pm pings have lost their value UNLESS you want to call your own star witness a liar. AGAIN!


      4. The thing that I can take away from this case is my shock at how white people view the criminal justice in general…

        I’ve had relatives shot by police, I’ve had relatives killed by gang members (that cops refuse to investigate)… Maybe it’s only because of these experiences but it doesn’t require a huge leap of faith for me to be pretty distrustful about the cops and most of the evidence in general regarding this case and as such not be able to make a decision about guilt/innocence…

        I’ve noticed that insistence that you must make a decision about guilt or innocence stems from white peoples inability to divorce themselves from some strange identity issue. I’ve had so many white people tell me that distrusting Jay is racist and that they trust him and believe Adnan is guilty… What’s laughable is myself and my circle of friends are the only black serial listeners I know and none of us have a problem distrusting Jay and distrusting most of the evidence about the case… We have come to a consensus that we sure don’t trust the cops, the lawyers, Jay, etc. and that since we don’t know if Adnan did it he certainly should be freed…

        I realize that this blog was written by a “feminist perspective”. I guess the white feminist idealogy identity politics says – “Adnan is guilty”. And you make yourself feel good by backing it up with unscientific “evidence” like “he would have to remember something cause that day was so un-normal”.

        That’s cool. You are on team feminist. I don’t fault you for that. Susan and Colin are on team “the cops are anti-islamic and lazy”. Other white people are on team “I like Jay cause I’m scared to go against the black guy”. I realize that being white can be difficult because people can be quick to judge your opinion on the privliedges you have had from dominating the world for the last 500 years… But, you don’t have to clock them in some passable identity of being a feminist, ally, aplogist, etc.

        Just look at the case objectively. Keep in mind the parts of the criminal justice system that dont’ affect you (stop and frisk, getting pulled over constantly and harrased, etc) and understand that DA’s get convictions not the truth. If you do that you will realize that you are not quite certain of guilt in this case as well as about 50% of the convictions of black people. Watch cops interview a black person. Notice the fear and how the get us to say what they want to hear. If you let yourself truly look at most cases based on circumstantial evidence you will begin to “nurse doubt” in almost all of them… Guilty or not guilty will be replaced with an honest – I’m not certain enough to ruin a man’s life.


      5. So here’s the thing, Tade, I’m a 50-something white feminist. It colours my views.

        I’m not doctrinaire. That mattress girl at Columbia, I don’t believe she was raped.

        I wrote an eight-part series about a rape trial in which both the complainant and defendant lied. Read it here if you’re interested: http://thewalrus.ca/part-1-she-said/

        Everything in life doesn’t always have to be viewed through the prism of race or gender. I don’t feel the need to tell other people they’re racist if they don’t believe Jay or Islamophobic if they don’t believe Adnan although, yeah, I’ve seen plenty of racist comments about Jay and plenty of Islamophobic comments about Adnan.

        FYI, I spend a lot of time in courts these days. I see the justice system at its worst and its best, good cops, bad cops, great judges, terrible judges who were patronage appointments, prosecutors who don’t care if they ruin someone’s life, prosecutors who go out of their way to help people unfairly treated by the cops, sentences I think are fair, sentences I think are terrible, etc.

        But this post wasn’t talking about the system. It was talking about Adnan’s case and how I see it. It’s why I feel the way I do.

        I’m not telling you you have to find Adnan guilty. So please don’t tell me why I have to find him not guilty.

        You may also want to think about the lives you ruin when you let a guilty man go.


      6. “I’ve had relatives killed by gang members (that cops refuse to investigate)”

        sorry to bust your bubble and cop hating, but the vast, vast majority of gang murders aren’t solved because the police cannot get witnesses to talk, break the no snitching code. most murders take place infront of crowds. 99% of the time those witnesses “never saw a thing” blame the lack of ethics on your community, not the cops


      7. Please don’t try to present your view point as the view point of Black people. There are plenty of Black Serial listeners with viewpoints very similar to Ann’s.


      8. Unlike you, I’m not cavalier about passing judgement on someone who faces a life in prison. I actually require sound arguments rather than mere opinion and bias. You claim I haven’t made a decision in this case and that is where you are wrong, but my initial post has nothing to do with whether you or I believe Adnan is guilty or innocent. My initial post has everything to do with you railing against SS, CM, and RC for making flawed leaps in logic when everyone of your 12 points is exactly that, a flawed leap in logic.


      9. As you acknowledged in a comment to me on Reddit, juries make inferences based on the facts. That’s exactly what I did in my 12 reasons. I made inferences based on the facts that came out at trial.

        The problem with SS and EP and Rabia is not that they make inferences or draw different conclusions. They are free to do that too. It’s cool too if they draw different conclusions from me.

        The problem is that they make up facts out of thin air and then draw inferences based on their made-up non-facts. (I elaborated on this on Reddit.)

        I am not at all cavalier about stating that I believe Adnan is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I waited until I read all the trial evidence including the closing arguments to come to this conclusion.

        Although you keep denying it, you seem to be angry that I believe Adnan is guilty based on the evidence presented at trial.


      10. As a jury member, you are permitted to draw inferences from the testimony and exhibits, but only that which reason and common sense would dictate. Your inferences belie sound reasoning and common sense and have no place in determining a jury’s verdict. You state that you made your inferences based on these facts that came out at trial. However, several of your facts were not even part of the trial. I have absolutely no problem with someone deciding to believe that Adnan is guilty based on the major points of this case, but you are basing his guilt on how you think he should have reacted, what you think he should have remembered, and what his friends did. Jurors are not allowed to be swayed by opinion and the inferences you have made in regards to your 12 points are nothing but opinion. Also, you keep suggesting that I am angry, holier than thou, and uneducated about my own judicial system, etc. Projecting upon me does not strengthen your argument, it only proves that you have no other ammunition in which to support your contentions.


      11. Ok, this is getting boring.

        You keep saying my inferences are illogical but I don’t see you providing one example of this supposed illogical thinking.

        You are just stamping your feet and lobbing insults around.

        If you don’t shape up, I’m going to have to ban you.


      12. So you would have us believe that a 17 year old boy, with no criminal or violent history, with no criminal record at all, who is generally considered to be a good kid was able to strangle a teenage girl in her car in the middle of the day, in a parking lot, and leave ZERO physical evidence of this? Not one hair? not one artical of clothing? No scratches or cuts? Nobody around to see any kind of suspicous activity? Think of how improbable this is for someone like I described to pull this off. Obviously someone pulled it off, but this someone had to have at least known what they were doing.

        You condem Riba and SK of glossing over things but you completly gloss over Jay’s creditiabilty. You say he is a liar and pretty much leave it at that and say Adnan is a bigger liar. The only witness in this case is a liar. I will say that again, the only witness in this case is a liar. Not only his he a liar he is a criminal. A criminal and a liar who changed his story 7 times is your only witness. How do you defend that?

        Please stop referecning the cell phone towers, this has been disproven so stop hanging on this as a smoking gun.

        If you think he is guilty then fine, you have nothing to lose. He has been punished for the crime and continues to be punished but lets call a spade a spade. There is way to much doubt here to have sent him to prison. You have to admit that.


      13. What is laughable is that you consider any of your postings on this case to be even remotely close to “journalism.” They are opinion pieces, plain and simple. Linking your self claim of “I am a journalist” to your “All About Me” page is also not going to get you taken seriously, except as a serious narcissist.


      14. Your comment is a perfect example of the mindset and nastiness of many #FreeAdnan types.

        You need to alter reality and pretend that I’m not a journalist because, well, I’m not even sure I know what your point actually is.

        For the record I spent seven years with CBC current affairs, five years with Reuters,six years writing for the International Herald Tribune, five years editing magazines, two years teaching journalism full time at a Canadian University and I’m now writing a book for Penguin Random HOuse.

        So tell me again, why I’m not a journalist. Is it because, I believe, based on the evidence, that Adnan Syed is guilty? Is that a concept so foreign to you that you can’t even bear to contemplate it?
        Talk about living in a parallel universe.

        If you can’t even accept the facts of my career, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised you can’t accept the facts of Adnan Syed’s guilt. Reality doesn’t matter if it contradicts your feelings.


    2. “You want us to believe that Adnan is guilty because you say it is so”

      NO, actually, she wants us to “believe” he’s guilty because a JURY OF HIS PEERS said so, not her.


  2. By coincidence, I was looking carefully at the Simpson post on the scrutiny of Don’s timecards. Normally, just tl;dr for stuff like that in this case.

    This time, I read it pretty carefully, because that page (http://viewfromll2.com/2015/03/19/serial-the-question-of-dons-alibi/) has links to one of the only documents (Adcock’s report) that was written the day (and day after) Hae’s disappearance. Adcock’s report is mercifully brief.

    There are likely other pages from Adcock’s Jan. 13/14, 1999 reports that haven’t been posted, documenting his calls to Adnan and Aisha. Those pages were referred to in trial testimony. I sure would like to see them if anyone can post them.

    I think all written records from around Jan. 13 are far more valuable than any interviews done weeks later.

    But back to Simpson on Don… the info posted was not anywhere near lurid, like the NYT article linked. At worst they suggest Don was sloppy in documentation and was learning to get along with co-workers, no big deal for a young 20-something. Simpson is completely obsessive on all the details. After reading it I didn’t feel Don was impugned at all.


  3. A good read Ann; I agree with everything that you’ve written and analyzed.

    Simpson’s publishing of Don’s personnel reports was unconscionable. If were in Don’s position, I would pursue damages against her. These records were obtained ‘Under Seal’ by order of the court. When documents are obtained Under Seal they are confidential and NOT to become a part of the public record. They were NOT for public consumption. They were NEVER entered into any trail. She has no rights to publish these records on any platform.


    1. Thank you.

      How do you know the documents were obtained “under seal”?

      I’m Canadian and I was surprised that those documents were released unredacted. That wouldn’t happen here unless they were directly relevant to guilt, which they weren’t.


      1. Simpson’s post says that the Don employment info released from Lenscrafters to the defense was issued under seal.

        But documents were also issued to the prosecution, and it is not clear to me that those were issued under seal.

        As to whether Simpson’s documents comprise a violation of the defense’s `seal’ order, or, whether they came through the prosecution that may not have had a seal order in the first place, I can’t tell.

        Seems like quibbling to me, because the upshot of all those documents that Simpson posted: Don has an excellent alibi, documented in writing by the Lenscrafter personnel system.

        Could Don’s alibi be faked somehow?

        Of course, but I think all normal people think that possibility is simply unreasonable. And compare the strength of Don’s document trail to total absence of hard data on Jay, Adnan, Jenn, etc, etc… and I have to conclude: Simpson’s post utterly removed any reasonable shred of doubt about Don’s innocence.


  4. Because Susan Simpson published this very fact in the very column (I believe) in which she published them. I would have to go back and search her columns and the documents themselves should be stamped. When I pointed this out to her via a comment on her blog, the comment was deleted.

    These records were obtained by defense and were a part of CG’s files that Rabia received.


  5. You do not need a feminist agenda to agree with everything you (AnnB) say. It’s all very well put. In fact, you could have an anti-feminist agenda and still agree.

    Taken together, your 12 arguments are no way “laughable”. Adnan is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I’d add to your 12 points the timing of the murder, just during relationship turmoil/transition between Adnan and Hae.

    I believe that Sarah Koenigs biased storytelling has had a manipulative effect on many, creating doubt where there wasn’t, and shouldn’t be any. A lot of people in jail deserve our attention much more than Adnan.


  6. AnnB, I imagine you’d find a lot of acquitted men guilty whose trials were based only on circumstantial evidence. If one considers patterns of DV, then you should look at Don more closely. Susan Simpson made the case that he was quick to anger and had a history of arguing with coworkers. There is documentation and testimony from Debbie that he spent seven hours on the phone with her, had a movie date with her, and assaulted her. If you are a feminist, you will believe Debbie’s testimony that she was assaulted instead of blowing it off. The reasonable doubt comes when you compare Don –current girlfriend is missing — who spends seven hours on the phone with Debbie, asks her out on a date then assaults her Vs Adnan who brought a carrot cake over to girls night, or wanted to be with his girlfriend all the time. If you’re going to cherry pick, well, I’d say you better look for the real red flags instead of red herrings.


    1. Whoa, whoa, whoa, there is no documentation that Don assaulted anyone. There was a note — I believe from a police officer — about an alleged assault. And, yes, 100%, I would like to know more about what that’s about, but you have gotten way ahead of yourself.

      Do you know what the rules are for a reporter before writing about something like that note? Talk to the police, Don and Debbie to figure out what’s going on with the note. Then print it. You don’t just write something damaging like you did about an innocent person without checking it out and giving them a chance to respond.

      I also find it interesting how you are quick to see everything to do with Don in the worst possible light and to minimize anything that looks bad for Adnan. We are not just talking about a carrot cake here. We are talking about writing “I’m going to kill” on a note from your girlfriend who ended up murdered.

      We need to hear why Adnan did that way more than we need to hear why there was a cop’s note about Don being involved in an alleged assault.

      Remember, Don was cleared after being a prime suspect. Adnan was not. There’s a reason for that and, contrary to the Undisclosed spin, it’s not police corruption. It’s because Don was innocent and Adnan was guilty.


  7. You say:

    Jay has no reason for framing Adnan nor does anyone else let alone Roy Sharonnie Davis or Ronald Lee Moore, who, between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.

    Now, that’s truly laughable. Look, I agree with a lot of what you are pointing out. But Jay has every reason to frame Adnan — to avoid jail. I’m sorry, but he helps bury a body he didn’t kill? I have trouble with that one.

    And he’s so diligent, throwing a way clothes, cleaning shovels, and Jay’s entire story is basically wrong and contradicted by Jen. There’s virtually nothing Jay says that is true.

    But once the police lead him to Adnan, he has EVERY reason to give them Adnan. That’s laughable to say otherwise. As pointed out in the last undisclosed, Jay admits to being an accessory before the fact, basically, a murderer himself.


  8. While I don’t agree with many of your arguments as to why you think Adnan is guilty, I appreciate your emphasis on the “I will kill you” note and how these kinds of bits of information were not given more weight.

    I enjoy your skepticism in your first article and this follow-up response to Rabia, although I don’t like that you sort of imply that those who find Adnan innocent seem to reject a feminist perspective of the case and are ‘useless idiots’.

    My one big point of issue is your bash of Deirdre Enright–particularly her ‘big picture, big picture’ comment.

    From what Serial and Sarah Koenig presented, I think Deirdre’s comment was NOT to imply that Deirdre and her team are ignoring all of the critical elements to the case (like Jay and the found car and all the personal links to Hae), but that the big picture is getting the finger nail and other.

    All Deirdre and her team are hoping for is a sign-off to test DNA evidence that had not been tested 16 years ago. To have that happen they need to present a few alternative suspects that are reasonably realistic enough to warrant a testing of the rope found near Hae’s body and her nails.

    She brushed Sarah off when she challenged this Ronald Lee Moore suspect because it’s not about actually suspecting him as the killer. It’s to show that there could be a possibility that Hae’s nail clippings could reveal DNA evidence that could pin the crime on Moore or another third party we don’t know about–or even Adnan. I think you misinterpreted her comment and made it seem like Deirdre completely rejects the nuances of the case.


    1. Thanks for your comment. I’d be interested in your reaction to this interview of Enright’s:

      I have some thoughts but I don’t want to colour your opinion before you listen (if you haven’t already.)


      1. I went to law school at UVA. I did pro bono work as a law student for the Innocence Project there. Deirdre is a zealot. She, without question, meant “big picture” exactly the way it sounds.


  9. Ann, you have to only look at the evidences presented at the time of trial. Some of your 12 points are ex post facto. At the trial, jury convicted Adnan based on timeline and testimonies that clearly don’t square with the facts. Any reasonable defense attorney would have shot down state’s case. You cannot deny that Adnan had terrible counsel on that front. I support retrial on that count. Just to be clear, do you support or oppose a retrial? And why?

    ps. I am not arguing about Adnan’s guilt/innocence here.


    1. Re ex post facto, I was putting myself in the shoes of a jury member and drawing the kind of inferences they would be asked to draw based on the facts presented at trial. If you read the transcripts, you will see there was not much emphasis placed on the timeline at all. That was a Serial construct. It’s the line Rabia is pushing for appeal purposes and Koenig pretty much swallowed it.

      Also, I think you’re wrong about Gutierrez. I think she failed precisely because she couldn’t shake Jay and didn’t have a back-up plan. She had no ‘narrative’ that could explain Adnan’s actions — and to this day, there still isn’t one. Was that her mistake or did she just not have anything to work with?

      Funnily enough, I think the Undisclosed crew are just doing what CG did 15 years later, trying to discredit Jay and poke holes.

      If the appeal succeeds, I suspect it will be based on the plea deal grounds not IAC. I don’t think there will be a retrial (too many foggy memories, lost evidence). I think Adnan will plead as he’s claiming he would have done all along.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I feel bad for posting a longer reply than the original 😉


  10. I am a lawyer and was a federal law clerk before that for an appellate judge. I have no idea who killed Hae but the evidence against him incredibly thin. Only one witness, who any good lawyer could destroy with inconsistencies. The notion of a Best-Buy murder location is preposterous.

    And nothing else but some thin evidence Adnan was disturbed, at times in the past, about Hae. But the first person he called with the new phone was his new girl. Most guys move on once they have a new girl. At the end of the day it is really only the assumption the ex did it that leads to the notion he is guilty. The timeline in a case matters. The state’s timeline was clearly off. To reverse the conviction based on what we have seen would be easy. Been there done that.


  11. Appreciate both the original article about this, and this one, AnnB. When I listened to the podcast, I was very troubled by the way Adnan spoke about things. JMHO, but from what I’ve seen an innocent person is far more likely to say “I didn’t do it,” than, “they weren’t able to prove I did it.” That may appear to be a subtle distinction, I guess, but when I listened to Serial, I was struck by how Adnan took the latter approach.


  12. Omg I just read your piece and am struck by how envious you sound, how little you are aware of the real facts, and how truly cynical and suspicious you are. Shame on you for denouncing feminist outrage and confusing it with pure emotion. Yuck


    1. How tedious you sound when you attribute all criticism to envy and emotion without addressing the actual substance of the critique.


  13. I think the OP is horribly unbalanced in its conclusions. (It may be argued that Rabia’s position is also unbalanced of course, given her relationship with Adnan.) Simpson and Miller are not unbalanced at all though. All they are doing is unpicking the evidence. It may seem a bit nerdy to the OP, but why attack them personally on those grounds? That is part of the unbalanced nature of the analysis in the OP. The aim in examining this case is not to establish guilt or innocence definitively, it is to establish reasonable doubt (Ann should reflect on this). I’m agnostic on this. Guilty or innocent? I dunno. But reasonable doubt? Yes, of course there is. Just step back from the prejudicial judgements and how can you miss it??


    1. I’m not sure as why you interpret my discrediting of Simpson’s and Miller’s ideas as an “attack” while calling what they do “unpicking the evidence.” I provided very specific example of their nasty, invalid tactics none of which you’ve addressed.

      For the record “reasonable doubt” is a courtroom concept. Of course people might have reasonable doubt after listening to Serial. In essence Adnan got to testify without being cross examined. That would never happen in court. I doubt you would have reasonable doubt if Adnan had been properly cross examined as opposed to tossed a few softballs by Sarah Koenig.


      1. Hi Ann thanks for the reply. I may be putting words in your mouth so correct me if I’m wrong – I think you’re saying essentially two things 1) The sum total of the circumstantial evidence (as opposed to any single item of substantial evidence) is against Syed and 2) Jay’s testimony, even if inconsistent, is persuasive and you don’t see any possible motivation on his part for framing Syed. I do kind of see where you’re coming from, but the reason I’m in the ‘reasonable doubt’ camp is because on point 1 there seems to me to be a believable alternative explanation on each of the circumstantial points (which leads me to conclude that it’s unfair to convict on that basis) and on point 2 it is obvious that Jay is an unreliable witness (lying and/or misremembering, depending on how generous you are) so again it’s unfair to convict on that basis. Lastly, I do think that there is a perfectly believable scenario whereby a) The cops thought early on that they had identified the right perp, so focused on Syed and didn’t investigate other avenues as thoroughly, b) Jay was involved but is covering for a co-perp out of friendship and/or fear c) The cops’ and Jay’s respective motivations allowed the wrong conclusions to be drawn by the justice system. To me, all this = reasonable doubt (although not to you, I accept that). I do understand the concept of reasonable doubt and I am speaking from the perspective of what we know now, not with the perspective that the jury would have had at the time. (And by the way I don’t have any axe to grind on this, but I’m also providing the feedback that your comments on the ‘Undisclosed 3’ do come over as being rather ad hominem, even if that was not your intent.)


      2. As a jury member, you would have been instructed to look at the evidence as a whole. It may be reasonable to explain away one, two or three things that look bad for Adnan, but is it reasonable to explain away everything?

        The police identified and investigated three suspects. Once the evidence started pointing at just one of these suspects, they focused on him. That’s how investigations work. There’s no investigative principle that says you must have multiple suspects. This idea that they shouldn’t have focused on Adnan is nonsensical.

        There is zero evidence of any kind that Jay is covering for someone, zero.

        AD hominem is used to describe an argument directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining. My comments about the Undisclosed crew describe their behaviour — Colin’s ghoulishness, Rabia’s potty mouth, and Susan’s inability to see the forest for the trees. While I’m not pulling my punches, I’m not personally attacking them.

        As for reasonable doubt in a courtroom context, I can understand how if a jury member did not believe Jay, they would vote to acquit. If they couldn’t convince their fellow jury members, the result would be a mis-trial. And then it would have been up to the prosecutors as to what to do next. As a citizen in a democracy, I’m prepared to live with that.

        Adnan was found guilty, however. And nothing Undisclosed has “found” will get him out of jail. That’s a good thing in my opinion. He’s an unrepentant murderer.


      3. Hello Ann I’m happy to accept that your attacks on the Undisclosed crew were not deliberately ad hominem, I was just saying that’s the way it came over. (You are a journalist/blogger after all so I guess some licence is allowed!).

        As to your last para, the first sentence is of course a fact.

        The second is opinion which you’re wholly entitled to and of course I don’t know any better than you do although I think they’ve asked some valid questions which might have influenced the jury at the time (of course we’ll never know that). I guess we’ll see over the coming months whether their points are influential or not given the stage reached as of now.

        The third is opinion tinged with your own conclusions.

        The final sentence is an opinion masquerading as a fact.

        You can have your own opinions but you can’t have your own facts. Facts are facts.


  14. 1. Adnan should remember what happened on that very un-normal day. He was called by police the same day his ex-girlfriend disappeared. He was interviewed by police two weeks later. The whole “I can’t remember that normal day six weeks ago” schtick is total BS. And Koenig was a sucker for believing it. There is no good explanation for why Adnan has no alibi. He was aware the day Hae went missing something was seriously wrong.

    Adnan gave an account of his day in writing. Granted it was until 3:00, but he also accounted for his whereabouts later in the day during his interview. He does remember the day. He doesn’t remember the 21 minutes he lived through, 6 weeks later. Tell me, what exactly were you doing between 2:15 and 2:36 6 weeks ago.

    2. Jay has no reason for framing Adnan nor does anyone else let alone Roy Sharonnie Davis or Ronald Lee Moore, who, between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.

    Fair enough, unless Jay murdered Hae Min Lee. No motive, but within the realm of possibility, no matter how unlikely.

    3. Adnan has no explanation whatsoever as to how he landed in this position. Yes, I know Deirdre Enright said innocent people often can’t help their case. But she was talking about not being able to find a body in a field as opposed to having no idea whatsoever why your buddy Jay might want to frame you for murder. People who work with killers will also tell you that this vaguey-vague “someone must have framed me but I don’t know why” explanation is a pretty common one among the guilty.

    Good point. Adnan’s conversations with police and Sarah Koenig have always felt “off” to me.

    4. Adnan has consistently lied about how people reacted to Hae’s disppearance, claiming it was no big deal, which is completely implausible. Hae had a new a boyfriend, a class trip to France booked, and university to look forward to. There was no way she’d take off to California in the middle of her senior year.

    I have yet to hear or read anything about the numerous calls to Hae’s house checking up on her. I also question why the police jumped on the missing person only about 3 hours after she was supposed to have picked up her cousin.

    5. Adnan’s good friend Imran appears to have been actively trying to discourage Hae’s California friends from looking for her a week after her disappearance, when, according to Adnan, no one was concerned she was gone.

    Did Adnan speak regularly with Hae’s California friends? I think it’s obvious that he was referring to people in Baltimore.

    6. Adnan had no reason for lending Jay his car. The idea that he was concerned about Jay getting a birthday present for Stephanie is laughable.

    Why is it laughable? Jay said the exact same thing.

    7. Adnan lied about asking Hae for a ride, contradicting the testimony of Krista and Debbie.

    Good point. And he still denies it to this day. Is he just making sure it can’t be used against him or is he just delusional in thinking people believe him?

    8. Adnan wrote “I’m going to kill” on a break-up note from Hae telling him to back off. (If you think that’s no biggie, let me know how you feel about it when you see your daughters writing a note like that and then discover the recipient’s decorated it with “I’m going to kill.”)

    “I’m going to kill…” on a paper discussing his ex-girlfriend’s possible pregnancy, if I remember correctly. It truly IS a cheesy detective novel piece of evidence. I’m objective when I say it looks like an incomplete sentence.

    9. Adnan exhibited other stalkery behaviour towards Hae. She hid from him at school and wrote in her diary that he was possessive.

    I’m not sure I believe that teacher. But even so, I and others I know have made sure to “accidentally” be in the presence of an exes. Stalkerish? I’ll go with that. I’ll be honest with you that if a couple of my exes were killed, I’d be hung on some of the email exchanges where I just didn’t want to let go. However, I can assure you very honestly and sincerely that I have never put my hands on a woman except in an affectionate way. Hae’s diary never mentioned anything beyond possessiveness. Maybe her digital diary did, but we’ll never know.

    10. Adnan never tried to contact Hae after January 13th even though he called her three times the night before.

    Does that seem weird to you? As was recorded, their relationship was kept from the parents. Did he page her? Not from his cell phone, but he could have from landlines. However, good point.

    11. There is no explanation for the Nisha call other than an improbable butt dial.

    There are two explanations for the Nisha call. One is Jay called her to frame Adnan. So unlikely it should be impossible. Two is the killer butt dialed Nisha during the murder. Look it up, it’s very likely.

    12. Adnan’s cell phone records place him in Leakin Park burying Hae’s body.

    If Jay is to be believed in his Intercept interview, the burial took place after midnight. If you think about it, that make so much more sense than 7pm near a road. If Jay is truthful about the burial time, the cell phone records mean nothing.

    There you go, Ann. All of your points are not ridiculous or out of the realm of possibility. In fact, I agree with you on a couple of them. Do I believe Adnan Syed is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? No. Is he the most likely person to have killed Hae Min Lee? Yes. Would I have voted to convict him? No. Would I like to have him retried with actual evidence such as DNA? Yes. I just wanted to provide you with an objective view from a person that isn’t convinced either way.

    I find your post about Sarah Koenig to be very biting and personal. Did she not say at the end of Serial that she just didn’t know the truth? I found Serial to be in deep contrast to Undisclosed in that Sarah was much more objective than Rabia could ever be. I hope I don’t incur the same wrath from you as some of the other comments, but I’d love to read a response.



    1. I must admit that I came to the conclusion at the end of Serial that Sarah K still thought AS was guilty. I was surprised that Sarah didn’t argue with the Innocent Project lead though – so I can understand Ann’s frustration.


  15. Really appreciate the scrutiny you are applying to this case. It takes guts to champion logic and fact, especially when the implications go against the grain of popular opinion. It’s the same reason I liked the Serial podcast so much–but hearing what was left out of that journalistic investigation, I’m no longer as sweet on their take as before.

    Interestingly, I had a similar reaction to yours upon hearing Deirdre Enright’s final conversation with Sarah K. in the podcast… “Big picture, Sarah.” She just sounds so giddy, so ready to run away with this new piece of information, like she’s already completely acquitted Adnan in her mind. It struck me as so unscientific, and I couldn’t believe Sarah didn’t apply more scrutiny to the discovery.

    So thanks for continuing to uphold the standards of journalistic scrutiny and objectivity, and keep up the good work.


  16. Ann,
    I’m really surprised you don’t have Cathy’s testimony as one of the main reasons for why AS is guilty. For me this is the start of a very important time period. It shows that AS is acting shady, receives a call from Aisha and leaves straight away. We know that he would then receive a call from Hae’s brother and then shortly after from the police. Those calls spring AS into action and we know he then pings leakin park around 7pm, then we have pings near where the car is eventually found around 8pm and then Jen picking Jay up. So Cathy’s is very important evidence for me.
    For me the other important evidence is the people Jay told about the murder and that AS did it (Chris his friend, Jen, Josh from the video store, etc).
    The most important is obviously Jay & Jen’s testimony.


  17. Thanks for your posts, Ann. I agree. After listening to the Podcast, I was troubled, Syed’s guilt was clear to me, and I was genuinely surprised people are laying down their lives to prove his innocence.


  18. You say “Cathy says she remembers it was that specific day because she went to a conference. Simpson finds a “workshop” related to Cathy’s field of study that took place on a different day. She assumes, based on nothing, that Cathy must have been confused and attended this other workshop aka conference on another day. ”

    I think that’s a misunderstanding of what they said. Someone contacted them because he had a copy of the UMBC school calendar that shows the date of the conference Cathy attended and that is was on the 22nd, not the 13th. There was NO conference scheduled on the 13th. That’s the important thing. There was NO conference. So Cathy is remembering the wrong day.


    1. The fact that in 2015, you are unable to google up proof a conference took place in 1999 does not mean it didn’t happen or that Cathy is wrong.

      Do I really have to explain that to you?

      Also, since I wrote this, the police files of Cathy’s interview have been made public. She also said she remembered Jay telling her it was Stephanie’s birthday. Susan Simpson apologized for leaving that key detail out.

      Frankly, I find it bizarre how gullible you are.


  19. I think you’re a smart woman and you’ve won me over on a few things. Your 12 points are not convincing to me at all.

    I disagree that they say much at all about Adnan’s guilt which (as you say) is my right. The only thing I don’t understand is why you keep referring to the trial as if the evidence presented at trial is the only relevant evidence. As you should know since you attend trials so much, they’re dramas performed by each side. Of course there are legal constraints but both sides appeal to the jury’s prejudices and emotions masterfully. It’s a performance, not a revelation of truth. Each side’s goal is not to reveal the truth– it’s to WIN, and to win juries over– to get them to believe their version of events.

    We know now for a FACT that the prosecution’s version of events could NOT have happened. It’s irrefutable that they had MANY things wrong. There is plenty of evidence that was not presented at trial or has since been proven to be inaccurate or misrepresented by the prosecution. So the juries made decisions based on inaccurate information. They thought Jay was going to jail and so had no reason to lie- he didn’t. They thought that cell records were accurate evidence of location– they’re not. They thought the autopsy was consistent with at least ONE of Jay’s versions of events– it’s not. They thought Adnan did not have a reliable alibi witness– he just might. Just because evidence was not presented at trial does NOT mean it’s not REAL evidence. Relevant and accurate evidence is excluded from trial for all sorts of reasons, oftentimes it has little to do with its legitimacy. So I’d personally be more willing to consider your arguments if you’d stop referring only to trial evidence as if it has some special evidentiary status.


    1. WEll, trial evidence does have special status because it’s actually been tested in court unlike “the evidence” you cite in your last paragraph.

      I don’t disagree with your description of trials, but I do think they often get to the truth so I probably place more faith in the system than you do, which is not to say that I don’t see bad things happen in court. I do.

      Now, as to your last paragraph, the jury was told accurately what Jay’s deal was. We still don’t know why he got less of a sentence than he was supposed to. Did the prosecution try to get him off with less than two years or did he just get lucky and draw a sympathetic judge? If you know that, then you know more than I do.

      As for the cell records, the jury was given a completely accurate description of what they show. Check the transcripts if you don’t believe me. You have no basis whatsoever to assume they didn’t understand and somehow misinterpreted the information they were given.

      This recently raised autopsy and lividity stuff is completely inconclusive and a perfect example of material that needs to be tested in court. YOu can’t just hold it up as conclusive and indisputable on the basis of some blog posts and podcasts.

      Ditto Asia — although we will soon get a chance to see how she performs on the witness stand. Frankly, I’ve considered her a complete flake who had the day wrong from the very beginning. Guess we’ll soon find out …

      And, finally, thanks for a polite comment and setting out your points clearly.


      1. OK. Yes you definitely have more faith in the system than me. I understand why you don’t consider my “evidence” legitimate but trials are also not always a great test of the truth. For me it’s because the system has some flaws, yes, but there’s another variable– that it’s operated by people and people make mistakes. A competent and creative prosecutor can run circles around an incompetent or otherwise hindered defense attorney. And vice versa. The end result can be wrongful conviction or guilty people being acquitted. It definitely happens more often than most people are comfortable with. I’d be shocked if you believed that Gutierrez was on top of her game, given her giant case load, improper handling of money and having a degenerative disease. You have to admit that Adnan was at a disadvantage in the court room, even if you believe the end result was a just one.

        For the record, I don’t think I know one way or another about Adnan’s guilt. I can’t decide how I feel about it. But this case does show how evidence can be used and/or omitted to obtain the desired result. And that, to me, is the scary part.


      2. Of course the system has flaws, big flaws. I’m currently following a case that I believe was a wrongful conviction. I also just watched a guy get discharged who, in my opinion, should have gone to trial.

        BUt, there is no magical better system. If non-adversarial systems were superior, we would have adopted them long ago. People way smarter than you and I have been thinking about this for centuries, which is not to say, there aren’t things that could be done now to make the system better. There are.

        As for Cristina Gutierrez, I actually don’t think her performance had much to do with the final outcome. Her problem was she couldn’t shake Jay and she didn’t have a back-up plan. Could a different lawyer have discredited Jay? Maybe yes, maybe no. Did Gutierrez have anything else to work with based on what Adnan gave her? Nope.

        Personally I believe ADnan was found guilty because he was guilty. It’s a pretty open and shut case with no big mystery there, and I honestly don’t see any miscarriage of justice. His trial looked just fine to me.

        This new Netflix series, Making a Murderer, is way more interesting as far as miscarriages of justice go.


  20. Just came across the author in a link elsewhere. Good pts for the most part. One thing that’s mentioned almost as an afterthought but that I haven’t seen anywhere else: Adnan never tried to contact Hae after she was killed. If he didn’t do it, why would a possessive guy who clearly was obsessed with her as evidenced by his stalking her at school, waiting in a teachers room where he knew she was supposed to be, and more importantly, where she calls the teacher pretending to be someone else. This girl not only wanted to be away from him she didn’t want him to know she was even talking to the teacher with him there! And suddenly mr. Possessive stalker just stops stalking her, calling her, the day she goes missing??? If we want to argue he just loved her so much, then why wasn’t he freaking out trying to find her? Gosh maybe bc he killed her. And wasn’t bright enough to remember to be consistent in continuing to stalk her. If your ‘loved one’ goes missing would you not call their cell first thing?


    1. I’m not sure about guilt/innocence. I’ve never seen any evidence that Adnan was possessive or a stalker?! I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. Adnan had not been calling/paging her anymore than his other friends. Don, on the other hand, was newly in love and was supposed to meet up with this girl and HE NEVER paged her after she died. If you’re going to say that sounds suspicious of Adnan, then you should be doubly suspicious of Don.


      1. YOu’re all for innocent until proven guilty as far as Adnan is concerned, but happy to throw shade at Don. I’ve noticed this is a trend with Team Adnan.


      2. Who is “you all”? I specifically stated above that I don’t know whether Adnan did it or not. I also don’t know if Don did it or not. I think that if shade is going to be thrown on one of Adnan’s actions, the same shade can be thrown on Don’s exactly same reaction. Sounds reasonable enough. I’m done defending you agains FreeAdnan peeps Ann B if you’re going to behave like this.


      3. Wrong. Adnan is a convicted murderer. Don is a private citizen. Would you like it if I accused you of being a murderer? Or someone who smears innocent people on the internet?


      4. If someone accused Don of being a murderer it wasn’t me. Read again. I’m done with you. You’ve made some smart points, especially about the potential for vigilante justice that I really respect but out allow all kinds of misinformation and ignorance on your social media sites so long as they agree with you. I, unlike you, am willing to entertain fair criticisms of the people I agree with- to admit that they may not be right about all things all the time. You on the other hand year apart every intelligent comment someone makes that could point to a wrongful conviction, even by open-minded people. But you let all kinds of Reddit jerks and uninformed, crude people make inaccurate remarks and get away with it because they agree with you. You are just as bad as the FreeAdnan people you complain about.


      5. My sites, including this one, are filled with comments by people who I disagree with.

        Truth is some days I have time to respond. Other days I don’t.


      6. Marissa, you are barking up the wrong tree. This site is nothing but those convinced Adnan is guilty. Even if DNA evidence came to light with Don’s DNA, Ann and all the other guilters would find fault. I’m sure you noticed how Ann will never engage in a discussion about the FACTS of the case unless it leads to an agreement with her that Adnan is guilty. You’ve also noticed that the Reddit guilters posting misinformation and obvious lies are the only ones that post on the days she doesn’t have time to respond. Intelligent posts have no place on this site if you believe Adnan is innocent. Your posts are clearly unbiased, and its a shame they can’t be discussed in the adult way that they deserve.


      7. Well, it’s true that I don’t reply to people who haven’t read the original piece and just want to reiterate their pet talking points and expect me to Gish gallop for them.


  21. I just read your original post and THANK YOU for saying what every thinking person should be wondering: WHY wasn’t the issue of domestic violence raised AT ALL in SERIAL? Just because the couple was young does not mean they were immune to DV (I used to work in DV and teach classes on teen dating and DV). As for Adnan being a good guy who had never been in trouble before… SO? Criminals don’t “graduate” to DV, someone who wants to control/dominate/punish their partner commits this crime. If they had looked through the lens of DV- and acknowledged all of the signs in this relationship that pointed to DV- perhaps a different picture would have emerged. To not even discuss this angle, this possibility of motive for the crime is a terrible injustice to all victims of DV, but particularly to Hae, a lovely promising young woman who seems to be forgotten in all this shouting.


  22. Thanks Ann for your articles. After this latest PCR and the feral behaviour of Rabia and crew with their twittering and school yard bullying behaviour, I refuse to listen to them. They have no credibility to me. I read a larger excerpt from Hae’s diary, larger than the snippet that was read out on Serial. Hae DID write that he was possessive and also that she had lost herself and that she did everything to try and please him and that it was always about what he wanted. She was very, very unhappy in that relationship. When I read more of her diary I became extremely upset and that more than anything made me lean more towards Adnan being guilty. You see I was the victim of domestic abuse and the only difference between Hae and I is that I am alive and she isn’t. My ex outwardly was charming, women loved him and he was also a masterful liar. It ended when as we were the last people walking into a house party late at night he dragged me into the dark across the road and started strangling me. Someone came out and he ran off. He fled the country afterwards. I’ll never forget it. Strangling is personal and rage filled.


    1. Well there is no proven link between you and Roy Davis either if we go that route.

      When you find a link, let me know and I’ll post it. Until then it’s just blowing smoke.


  23. Hi Ann

    I’ll preface my email by just saying unambiguously that I have listened to the entire Serial and Undisclosed podcast series’ as well read from a variety of other sources and have formed the opinion that Adnan is innocent of this crime. I can’t comment definitively on who I believe the killer to be and wouldn’t implicate anybody without sufficient evidence, which is impractical for me to obtain.

    I just want to understand your opinion on the case, so as to clarify how you have come to the absolute certainty of Adnan’s guilt, mainly because I have come to the complete opposite opinion. If I’m not mistaken, you’re considering things from a juror in 1999/2000 listening to the evidence in real time, right?

    Just a couple things I want to get your thoughts on as well.

    Firstly, I recall back in Serial when Sarah Koenig mentioned that there may be some DNA evidence available for testing and Adnan seemed to me to be eager to have this DNA tested. What were your thoughts about this exchange?

    Secondly, why do you think the Cops never acquired the cell phone records (we call them mobile phones in Australia) of other people involved in the case? For example, all the people that called Adnan that day. Surely that information would have cleared up the uncertainty around the incoming calls which can only be substantiated by eye witness accounts and form some of the key events in the States argument.

    Lastly, do you have thoughts on the relevance of the Eheney Group’s analysis on Muslim culture submitted to the Baltimore Police. Do you feel it had much bearing on the Cops’ investigation?

    Look forward to hearing from you, I don’t believe this blog needs to spiral into name calling and spiteful entries because at the end of the day, the only person right now who knows whether Adnan is innocent or guilty, is Adnan and it is fruitless becoming emotional over this, we need to stay objective.




    1. Thank you for your polite comment. I appreciate it.

      First of all, I am not “absolutely certain.” I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt, which is the legal standard for guilt. If we asked a jury to be absolutely certain, no one would ever be convicted of anything unless there was video of the crime — and even then someone would say the video was faked. As you say,

      With regard to the DNA testing, perhaps you are not aware that it has not been tested because Adnan’s current legal team — unlike Deirdre Enright of the Innocence Project — have opted not to test it. There is much speculation as to why this is the case but I cannot see any good reason not to test it unless they are worried about the possible results. That said, it’s quite possible the DNA results would be inconclusive either way.

      Re the phones, I did quite a bit of research on this, and data on incoming phone calls of the type on Adnan’s bill was simply not available at the time. Obviously if it had been the cops would have gotten it. For comparison’s sake, the police also did not obtain these phone records for the so-called 11th hijacker in the 9-11 case or in the hugely publicized Scott Peterson case. Clearly, this was not because they were lazy or scared of “bad evidence.”

      I think Adnan’s religion was irrelevant.

      Again thanks for your thoughtful polite comment.


      1. Hey Ann

        Thank you for replying so promptly and putting forth you views on things, I appreciate it.

        Apologies, yes convinced beyond reasonably doubt is obviously the benchmark. I wouldn’t consider myself absolutely certain of Adnan’s innocence and if some new evidence (eg. the DNA) was revealed that was irrefutable proof of his guilt, then obviously I would concede that.

        And yes, I was listening to the feeds on Twitter from The Night for Justice the other day, where Rabia mentioned that Adnan’s legal team had decided for whatever reason to not proceed with the DNA testing avenue at the current time. Could be strategic, I’m not sure how much more damning it can possibly be and like you, I think they should opt for testing. As it stands Adnan is already sentenced to life plus 30 yrs, so I wouldn’t expect that sentence to alter in any practical measure if the DNA was found to be Adnan’s.

        And thanks for the mentioning those other cases (11th hijacker and Scott Peterson, know absolutely zero about these currently but will have a look). I think I maybe I misspoke in my last message, when I said people trying to contact Adnan that day, I meant people trying to contact Adnan’s phone that day, including Adnan himself from the Best Buy payphone. I wish they had collected this record, it would have gone a long way to confirming all of this story. I don’t know what the US was like back in 1999, but I know in Australia payphones were still highly used back then, so it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a payphone at the Best Buy that could have been checked.

        I’m still concerned that the Enehey Group’s report in general was strange, and I’m not sure why it would have been requested by Hae’s family allegedly, seems a very odd piece of this puzzle to me. But if I understand your perspective on this, you don’t believe this to have been some form of honour killing, right?

        Thanks again for your reply, I known these back-and-forths can be tedious, but appreciate it nonetheless.




      2. I don’t mind going back and forth on the phone issue because people have a lot of misconceptions about it.

        First of all, it’s obvious that it would have been helpful to know every incoming call to Adnan’s phone. That is not rocket science. The reason we don’t know who those incoming calls to Adnan’s phone are from is because the information was simply not available. It wasn’t available to the cops on Adnan’s case, to Adnan’s lawyers — or the to the 11th hijacker investigators or to the Scott Peterson legal teams.

        People don’t understand this. The cops were not dumb. Cristina Gutierrez did not overlook this. Nor did Jim Trainum when he said this was a good investigation. Dana and Serial did not miss this huge gaping hole for Redditors and other online sleuths to discover.

        There was almost certainly no information to be had from the pay phone at BestBuy or the cops would have gotten that too. Again, it’s almost certainly what was known as a “dumb phone.” Perhaps you’re not aware, but you can see read on Susan Simpson’s blog how the cops subpoenaed cash receipts and employee time schedules for BestBuy that day. They were looking hard to put ADnan there. Again, they didn’t just forget something obvious like the payphone and neither did Gutierrez.

        I hope you don’t take this as a criticism of your questions about the phones. I had exactly the same questions as you, which is why I researched the issue extensively. And I really wish that Serial had clarified the issue.

        As for the Enehy group, my understanding is that Hae’s uncle had a personal connection to Mandy, who wrote the report for him, and then he passed it on to the police, who filed it away.

        No, I don’t think this was an honour killing. I do think it was a pretty standard (and I hate to say that because it can be interpreted as trivialization) case of intimate partner violence, the type of murder that happens every day in every country.

        Again, thanks for your comments. I respect your curiosity about this and appreciate your civility.


      3. Thanks for clarifying your take on things.

        I guess at the end of the day, it all comes down to individual interpretation of the facts pertaining to the call records (and all other evidence for that matter) as they are presented. I’ll admit that after listening to Serial, I felt like there were some issues with the story, but I was undecided on Adnan, even leaning sllghtly towards guilty and that was mainly due to his inability to recall the events of that day, which until now has probably been the only thing still nagging at me.

        But I mean the way I’ve rationalised it is that I can see how if Adnan was truly innocent of this and didn’t even know that Hae was murdered – just cause he was told she was being looked for – that there is a possibility he wouldn’t really think to note every single thing he did on that day. As a 17 year old kid, perhaps the concept of being a suspect in a murder investigation, when you haven’t really had any run-ins with the law, is just something that doesn’t cross your mind. I know if someone asked me to recall exactly what I did just last Friday, I would need to check back through work emails, my diary, what websites I looked at and speak with a range of people to piece together everything I did because it was, in my mind, an average day (I know this argument has been done to death). So for me, this point goes either way depending on how you piece together all of the other ‘stuff’ swirling around in this case.

        I guess we will see in the coming months whether Adnan is granted Post Conviction Relief, how the appeals go, and then potentially how a retrial would play out 17 years after the fact.

        Thanks for taking time out to reply to me and giving some insight into your thoughts on this case. Appreciate it.


  24. Whether or not you believe Adnan is innocent or guilty, surely you can see that the cell phone evidence and Jay’s testimony were the most prominent evidence in the case against him. The cell phone evidence has been proven unreliable and we know Jay is unreliable. Adnan did not get a fair trial. If he is as guilty as you say, would you be against another trial, one that is fair?


  25. This comment box should be before the comments and not after A lengthy scroll (mobile browsing). It seems like if you think Adnan is guilty you have tremendous amounts of reason to believe so and if you think he’s innocent then you assume Adnan is just about the most unlucky person ever .. I mean the guy wrote going to kill on the breakup letter and that’s supposed to be dismissed ? Didn’t he also deny dna testing ? Everything points to him doing it but after a biased podcast many are claiming his innocence unless someone has a video of Adnan doing it in 4k with him holding his ID and birth certificate . I’m glad to have found these posts here as after listening to serial I was left thinking it was just too pushy with Adnan being innocent but that’s what gets listens .. A podcast about a guilty guy being guilty doesn’t draw attention. Anywayyy my favorite part had to be “between the two of them, probably have the combined IQ of a cactus plant.” I actually laughed out loud at that :).


  26. I listened to Serial with my husband, a senior policeman. His conclusion? Although the Defense Attorney was poor and this probably warrants a retrial, Adnan was still guilty as charged. Yes, there was some doubt about the timeline but his opinion based on the facts presented, was that Jay had probably altered some of his testimony because he was concerned that he would be placed at the scene of the murder with Adnan. While Jay is unreliable, he clearly did have knowledge of the murder and no reason was provided as to why he gave evidence against Adnan. If there was some underlying grudge/rationale, Adnan would have been able to voice some opinion on the subject, rather than lamely saying that he ‘didn’t know’.


  27. I like the article and appreciate your passion for Adnan’s guilt, but you let your emotions and bias get in the way too much


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