Wednesday, March 18, 2015
One of the most objective figures with a connection to the death of Hae Min Lee is Krista, a friend to both Lee and Adnan Syed, who was convicted of Lee's murder in 2000. Krista gave a statement to detectives on March 1, 1999, the day after Adnan was arrested. Later, she testified at Adnan's first and second trials. Finally, a snippet of Sarah Koenig's interview with her was played in the second episode of the Serial Podcast. As would be the case for anyone in any of these types of circumstances, Krista didn't have complete control over how her thoughts were communicated or contextualized. Given her objectivity and importance to trying to understand the horrible tragedy that occurred on January 13, 1999, I thought it made sense to provide a forum for Krista to be able to fully and fairly explain her position about what she remembers from that day. What follows has been approved by Krista herself:
On January 13, 1999, Krista was walking with Adnan toward their first period Photography class, which started at 7:45 A.M. As they approached the class, they came upon Lee in the hallway. Adnan asked Lee for a ride after school, and Lee responded that she could give Adnan a ride. According to Krista, Adnan "was aware of my presence and didn't try to hide" the fact that he was asking for a ride. Krista and Adnan then went into their Photography class while Lee went to a different class.
The main thing that Krista remembers about Adnan asking Lee for a ride was that the planned ride was a ride to Adnan's car. Krista does not remember whether Adnan's car was in the school parking lot when Adnan asked Lee for a ride, and she doesn't specifically remember Adnan asking for a "ride home" or claiming that his car was in the shop. Krista says that she might have assumed that Adnan's older brother had the car because he often borrowed the car. According to Krista, there was nothing unusual about Adnan asking Lee for a ride because people in their group of friends were always lending their cars out and giving rides to each other.
Krista only went to school for half the day during her senior year in 1999 and did not tell anyone else about Adnan asking Lee for a ride before she left from school to go to work. Later, Krista got a phone call from her friend Aisha, telling her that Lee did not pick up her cousin from the Campfield Early Learning Center. Krista then relayed to Aisha the information about Adnan asking Lee for a ride earlier in the day, thinking that he might know Lee's whereabouts.
Aisha informed Krista that Lee had changed her mind about the ride during the final period A.P. Psychology class that Aisha took with Adnan and Lee. According to Aisha, Aisha heard Lee tell Adnan in or right after class that she could no longer give him a ride because "something came up." Krista says that Lee’s statement didn’t seem odd and that Krista still checked in with Adnan to see if he had seen or heard from Lee. Krista thereafter called Adnan and left a message on his cell phone and did not talk with him until later that night (at 9:03 P.M. according to Adnan's call log).
According to Krista, while her testimony from Adnan's first and second trials might make it sound like Adnan told her about asking Lee for a ride after the fact, that was simply based upon the way the prosecutor framed his questions to her. Krista clearly remembers hearing Adnan ask for a ride and Lee agreeing because it was the last time she ever heard Lee speak. Moreover, Krista wishes that defense counsel would have used her as a character witness for Adnan and asked her questions that would have led her to testify how regular and ordinary it would have been for Adnan to ask Lee for a ride. Krista also states that Adnan would not have told her that Jay was going to be borrowing his car.