Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Recently, an Undisclosed listener asked me an interesting question: If track practice started at 4:00 P.M., does it matter whether Adnan was on time for practice? This question, of course, relates to the notes from the police interview of track coach Michael Sye. Those notes indicate that Sye remembered a day toward the end of Ramdan when Adnan arrived on time for track practice that was held outside because it was the rare January day when the temperature was in the 50's. As Susan Simpson has noted, this day only could have been January 13, 1999, the day that Hae disappeared.
Of course, if track practice started at 3:30 P.M., Adnan arriving on time would be huge because it would mean that, inter alia, (1) he couldn't have made the 3:32 P.M. Nisha call; and (2) there's a very short window during which Adnan could have committed the murder and gotten back to school in time to be at track practice. But does Adnan's timely arrival at practice matter if practice started at 4:00 P.M.? I think the answer is "yes" for a few reasons.
Jay's Claim That Adnan Was Late to Practice
In every version of events by Jay except possibly The Intercept interview,* Adnan is late for track practice. Specifically, in his second recorded interview, Jay said that Adnan told him that he had to run a lot because he was late for practice:
Of course, we know that part of Jay's story isn't true because Coach Sye didn't let Adnan practice during Ramadan, so Adnan didn't have "to run a lot." If Adnan was on time for practice, we also know that the second part of Jay's story wasn't true because Adnan was not late for track practice. So, why does Jay say that Adnan was late for track practice?
The Patrick/Patrice Call
Before trial, Jay says in second recorded interview and during his ride-along two days later that Adnan and he went to Patapsco State Park before Adnan went to track practice. During the ride-along, Jay says that Adnan and he were there when the sun was setting. Obviously, this story is inconsistent with Adnan probably even arriving at track practice at all, which is probably why it was scrapped at trial. But consider what remained of Jay's story at trial.
At 3:59 P.M. on January 13th, there was a call from Adnan's cell phone to Patrick at his sister Patrice's house. According to Jay, this was a call he made to try to score weed before Adnan and he went to the Forest Park Golf Course to do the same. In fact, according to Jay, this was a follow-up to the 3:21 P.M. call to Jenn, which he claimed was made in an attempt to find Patrick (although Jenn disputes this). Obviously, if Adnan was with Jay for the 3:59 P.M. call, which preceded the trip to the golf course, there's no way that Adnan got to track practice by 4:00 P.M.
The "Mom" Call
As I noted in this post, Jay claimed both in his second interview and at trial that the 4:27 P.M. call on Adnan's call log was a call that Adnan took shortly before he went to track practice. According to Jay, the speaker was talking in Arabic and might have been Adnan's mom. For this to be the case, though, Adnan would have needed to be more than a half hour late for track practice (the call was almost three minutes).
The Stephanie Call
As I noted in this post, in her second interview with the defense private investigator (but not her first interview or her police interview), Stephanie said that she called Adnan's cell phone between 4:15 and 5:30 P.M. on January 13th and spoke with Adnan and Jay. If Adnan were (very) late for track practice, this could have been the 4:27 P.M. call; if Adnan were at track practice at 4:00 P.M., Stephanie is either wrong or spoke to Adnan after track practice had ended (there were no incoming calls to Adnan's cell phone between 3:15 P.M. and 4:27 P.M.).
In his opinion granting Adnan a new trial, Judge Welch found that the State couldn't have shifted the "come and get me" call from the 2:36 P.M. call to the 3:15 P.M. call because of the number of events between the "come and get me" call and the 3:21 P.M. call to Jenn.
What the above analysis reveals is that the State would have faced a similar quandary if Cristina Gutierrez would have been able to get Coach Sye to confirm that the day he was remembering when Adnan was on time for track practice (and talked with him about leading prayers at the Mosque) must have been January 13th. This problem picks up right where Judge Welch left off. According to Jay, (1) that 3:21 P.M. call to Jenn was Jay looking for Patrick to buy weed, followed by (2) Jay calling Patrick at 3:59 P.M. to buy weed, followed by (3) Adnan and Jay scoring weed at the golf course, followed by (4) Adnan taking the 4:27 P.M. call right before going to track practice.
If Adnan arrived by 4:00 P.M. for track practice, Jay can't just be wrong about Adnan taking the 4:27 P.M. call; instead, his entire narrative of the plot to get pot that starts at 3:21 P.M. is fundamentally flawed. In other words, if the jury had believed that Adnan was at track practice by 4:00 P.M., Jay's entire narrative doesn't make sense.
*In The Intercept interview, it's unclear whether Adnan in late. According to Jay, Adnan tells him, "I’m going to be late for practice, so just drop me off." Notably, in this version, Jay drops off Adnan at track practice before Adnan murders Hae.