Monday, May 4, 2015
Two things. First, look for the Addendum to the second episode of the Undisclosed Podcast later today. Just like I did two weeks ago, I will have an "Addendum to the Addendum," exploring one of the issues from the Addendum in more detail.
Second, I have been getting a few e-mails from people questioning whether the prosecution claimed in its closing argument at the trial of Adnan Syed that Hae Min Lee had been killed between 2:15 and 2:36 P.M. on January 13, 1999. Given that this claim was a huge part of the Serial Podcast and Adnan's current argument that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel based on failure to contact Asia McClain, I thought it made sense to do a quick post proving that the prosecution did, in fact, make this claim.
The full closing argument from Adnan's trial is available here. The relevant portion of the prosecution's closing argument is on pages 65-66:
And there you have it. School ends at 2:15 P.M. Hae Min Lee is dead within 20 minutes, i.e, by 2:35 P.M. Then, at 2:36 P.M., Adnan makes "The Best Buy Call" to Jay.
I don't really see how there's any ambiguity there, but you don't have to take my word for it. Here is the relevant portion of the "Statement of the Case" by the Postconviction Review Court in its opinion denying Adnan relief (page 3):
In other words, the common belief that the prosecution claimed that Hae was killed by 2:36 P.M. is not just a belief; it is a legally operative fact in Adnan's appeal.*
*Other people have noted that closing arguments are not evidence. This is true, but the evidence presented at Adnan's trial was that both a witness for the prosecution (Inez Butler) and a witness for the defense (Becky) claimed that they saw Hae leaving school in a hurry between 2:15 and 2:20 P.M. Therefore, if Asia left Adnan in the library at 2:40 P.M., her testimony at trial would have been huge given both the evidence -- Hae likely left school well before 2:40 -- and argument -- Hae was killed at Best Buy by 2:36 -- presented at trial.