Welcome, fellow bloggers, to my final post on Sungwoo’s Blog (for now)! Several days ago, I posted about the first episode of the Serial podcast, created and narrated by Sarah Koenig. To follow up on this topic, I just finished the final episode last night- it seriously got me hooked on murder mysteries! However, the more I listened, the more it got me thinking about Adnan Syed- and I fully believe that he is an innocent man, being wrongly convicted for Hae Min Lee’s death.
I’m very aware that it’s a bold statement- after all, Adnan is still in jail to this day (New York Post). The officials must have made the correct decision, right?
I firmly believe Adnan’s innocence and there are several reasons supporting my opinion. First of all, Adnan had an obvious alibi at the time of Hae Min Lee’s death, around 3 pm on January 13th, 1999. Her name was Asia McClain- she was certain to have seen him at the Woodlawn Public Library with her, making it impossible for Adnan to be Hae’s killer. Asia had even written letters and an affidavit regarding this case; however,
Adnan’s late attorney Cristina Gutierrez failed to pursue the alibi, resulting in an inability to testify at trial. According to C. Justin Brown, “there is no more powerful defense than an alibi”- had Adnan’s trial attorney brought Asia in to testify, he would have been in position to be declared innocent by the court (New York Post). She was a very reliable alibi as well, as she was not “really close friends”with Adnan, as mentioned in the letter. I believe this suggests that Adnan did not plan with her beforehand just to create a false witness. She was just another classmate at the library, who is, to this day, certain about Adnan being elsewhere at the time of Hae’s death.
Furthermore, the only hard evidence the Baltimore police have of Adnan being guilty is Jay Wilds’ story. Jay was Adnan’s former best friend and classmate, whom he would “sometimes smoke weed with” (Rolling Stone). His testimony to the police regarded the afternoon when Hae went missing; he told them about how Adnan was planning to kill Hae, and that he would need Jay to pick him up after in his car. In my opinion, I don’t see Jay as a reliable source for this case; he was an older man who had already graduated from high school, and as mentioned, has a clear history with drug use. To
make matters worse for Jay, his testimony was constantly changing throughout his multiple police interviews and trials; he would do anything to make sure none of his actions would hint of him being guilty. Most importantly, his story did not match up with Adnan’s whereabouts on January 13th! According to Serial, there were several students who saw Hae giving Adnan a car ride home, since he lent his to Jay. This would mean that his entire story about the burial of the body at Leakin Park does not correspond to the whereabouts of Adnan at the same time. If this corrupt story is truly the only hard evidence, I strongly believe Adnan should not be considered guilty.
Above all, I just find it very hard to believe that a young, handsome, football player and “Homecoming King” would commit such a crime against an innocent ex-girlfriend. Throughout the finale of Serial, Sarah Koenig, the narrator, would often include audio clips of her and Adnan talking. From what I could hear, Adnan genuinely seemed to still care for Hae and was deeply in love with her, and it gives me a sense of doubt that he would be the one to strangle her. Conversely, there is a man, also from Baltimore, who might be capable of such brutal actions: Ronald Lee Moore.
Ronald was a man who was convicted numerous times for burglary, which often included sexual assault, and murder. I was surprised to hear in the podcast that this man was held responsible for strangling a Korean girl- 27-year-old Annelise Hyang Suk Lee- right in Baltimore County. He was released from jail just two weeks before
January 13th, Hae’s disappearance (Heavy). I can’t imagine this being a coincidence; he had a small window of being out, and according to Serial, he was a very active criminal. Deirdre Enright from the podcast even says, “What makes more sense? That little seventeen-year-old, never been in trouble with the law Adnan killed someone or that Ronald Moore, rapist and murderer who got out of prison thirteen days before Hae disappeared, that he killed someone”? I agree with this statement entirely from Deirdre, as it would just be so unlikely that an innocent high school student would be the one to commit a similar type of murder to a real criminal, who was active during Hae’s disappearance.
Overall, there just isn’t enough evidence to prove that Adnan is guilty. With Asia McClain as his alibi, the inconsistencies from Jay’s testimony, and the case of a real murderer during the same time all point to the fact that Adnan is innocent. I must admit: I’m not a researcher, criminologist, or detective. On the other hand, if Sarah Koenig, after spending months on the case, says “the guy I knew, there’s no way he could have done this”, I’ll trust her instincts.
Adnan Syed behind bars. N.p. Rolling Stone. Web. 28 July 2017.
Annelise Hyang Suk Lee. N.p. Heavy. Web. 28 July 2017.Serial podcast cover. N.p. Serial Podcast. Web. 28 July 2017.
Asia McClain’s letter. N.p. Serial Podcast. Web. 28 July 2017.
Associated Press. “‘Serial’ Podcast Subject Adnan Syed Seeks New Trial in Murder Case.”New York Post. New York Post, 08 June 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.Jay Wilds. N.p. The Intercept. Web. 28 July 2017.
Koenig, Sarah. “Season one: episode 12 What We Know”. Audio blog post. Serial.
McDonell-Parry, Amelia. “‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed: 4 Key Pieces of Evidence.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 01 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.
Prince, S.J. “Ronald Lee Moore: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know.” Heavy.com. N.p., 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.
Ronald Lee Moore. N.p. Heavy. Web. 28 July 2017.