Tag: hae min lee

Adnan Syed’s Undeserved Punishment

Serial podcast

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.

Adnan Syed behind bars

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,

Asia McClain’s letter to Adnan

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

Jay Wilds, former friend of Adnan

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 Lee Moore’s mugshot

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

Annelise Lee

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.

Works Cited

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.




My Personal Reflection on Serial Podcast

Welcome, fellow bloggers, to yet another special on Sungwoo’s Blog! I’ve covered my fair share of books- like The Glass Castle- but this is my first ever analysis of a podcast! A couple days ago, I tuned in to the first episode of Serial, a podcast created and narrated by Sarah Koenig. I truly enjoyed listening to this, because it involved kids around my age, making it easier to relate to. The dialogue and script itself was intriguing and Koenig delivered each word with great enthusiasm and inflection. She also included audio clips from others that were involved in the case, such as Jay, the police, and Adnan himself, which I thought was a great touch. Even without any visuals, like TV or movies, the podcast was still able to attract listeners, including me!

Serial podcast


Personally, I never found mysteries and investigations very interesting, since it’s usually presented in some sort of cheesy TV show or movie. However, through a podcast, I think investigative journalism gains a lot more appeal! This is all simply due to the fact that a podcast is much more simple, easy to follow, and only have the words

Sarah Koenig, creator and narrator of Serial

and dialogue to focus on. For instance, when comparing a movie to the original book, just being exposed to all the graphics and sound effects can overwhelm the audience, and the actual dialogue seems irrelevant. Books, on the other hand, let you “feel everything, know everything and LIVE everything” (The Guardian). I believe this is the same with a podcast. Since the audience only have the words to listen to, they can be more locked in on the actual content, rather than being distracted by fancy cinematic images.

I had no idea how popular this Serial podcast really was. In fact, this murder mystery case of Hae Min Lee was the first podcast to reach 5 million downloads, with a total of approximately 40 million downloads as of November 2014 (CNN). However, I personally believe that Lee’s family would feel more pain and sorrow due to the international

Hae Min’s brother, left, and mother, right

success of this podcast. Serial brings up the cruel actions and gruesome detail regarding Lee’s death, as mentioned in the police interrogation scene with Jay. He brings up how “Hae’s lips are all blue, and she’s pretzeled up in the back of the trunk. And she’s dead” (Serial). This was difficult for me to listen to; I couldn’t even begin to imagine how Lee’s family felt when they heard this on the podcast. I believe that more people should be informed about this murder case, yes, but I also have to wonder what’s best for Lee’s grieving family. Truthfully, I don’t think they would want millions of listeners knowing about their beloved daughter’s terrible death.

Throughout the first episode of the podcast, I noticed a reoccurring theme of the human memory and how easily people forget about the tiniest

Asia McClain, the alibi in Serial

details. This occurs as our brain pushes away old, most likely useless information in order to make room for new information to store in the brain (Independent Co., UK). What is the result of this? Complete and utter frustration, as mentioned several times in the podcast. Personally, I believe I have great memory; this usually justifies on a test or exam that I tend to ace… However, small details that occur on a normal day, I admit I would also have trouble remembering. This issue of easily forgetting concerns me to a slight degree, since everyone in the podcast seems to be forgetful of the day of Lee’s murder, except for Asia McClain. She seemed to remember a normal day at the library six weeks ago, providing details that were very important in Serial, which I find a little suspicious. However, she could just have an excellent memory, and by writing a letter to Adnan, this could help strengthen her memory of this specific day.

All in all, I found myself in love with this podcast. It’s my first and only podcast I’ve ever listened to so far- and this may have just opened me to a new world of media! I look forward to hopefully coming across more podcasts like Serial in the future.

Works Cited

Asia McClain. N.d. AsiaMcClain.com. Web. 21 July 2017.

Family of Hae Min Lee. N.d. Dailymail.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.

Koenig, Sarah. “Season one: episode 01 The Alibi”. Audio blog post. Serial.

Kumfor, Fiona, and Sicong Tu. “How Our Brains Forget Information to Make Room for New Memories.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 07 June 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.

Roberts, Amy. “The ‘Serial’ Podcast: By the Numbers.” CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Dec. 2014. Web. 21 July 2017.

Sarah Koenig. N.d. Barclay Agency. Web. 21 July 2017.

Serial podcast. N.d. Independent.co.uk. Web. 21 July 2017.

TheBookAddictedGirl. “Are Books Better than Films?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 21 July 2017.