EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Did the Police Actually Interview Mark Pusateri in Connection With the Adnan Syed Prosecution?

People who have been following Serial and its aftermath likely know that we have been working off of incomplete copies of the transcripts from Adnan's trials. Apparently, someone has made a successful request for the missing pages because the pages from the first day of Adnan's second trial were posted yesterday. I'm not going to link to those pages because they're not redacted, but they do contain one key piece of information, which I've captured in a screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.56.38 PM

This part of the transcript lists the prospective witnesses at trial. As far as I can tell, I have a record of every prospective prosecution witness listed in the transcript being interviewed by the State...except for Mark Pusateri.* Mark Pusateri, you'll recall, is Jay's alibi, the person who was allegedly hanging out with him when Adnan made the Best Buy call. 

Now, the State certainly could have listed Mark as a prospective witness despite not interviewing him. But again, that does not appear to be the case with any other witness listed in the transcript.*


*Neighbor Boy is also listed despite no official interview by the police. That said, I know that the defense private investigator did interview him, and it's possible that he was a prospective defense witness. If he was a prospective prosecution witness, he would be a second person whom the State didn't officially interview. [Edit: It turns out that Neighbor Boy was interviewed by police, but the notes from that interview are "missing," like the notes from the interviews with "Ann" and Patrice.].



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Did anyone check if school where Mark P went still has attendance records? Also, will you consider doing a broad blog post on what we know/don't know and/or recap the timelines, case, etc? There's so much info out there that it's difficult to keep track of everything properly. Thanks for your great work!

Posted by: Campo | Jul 7, 2015 10:27:08 AM

I don't believe any checking was done at Mark's school. We're working on a timeline to post on the Undisclosed site.

Posted by: Colin | Jul 7, 2015 10:32:18 AM

How strange. Mark was literally Jays alibi during the critical time. Also didn't Jay say that Mark talked to Adnan on the phone on the 13th?

Posted by: Pdxkat | Jul 7, 2015 10:38:50 AM

Yes, Jay says on at least one occasion that Mark answered one of Adnan's calls to his cell phone.

Posted by: Colin | Jul 7, 2015 10:40:59 AM

Campo/Colin: I seem to remember reading that Mark had been expelled from school and was always home, but that might be total heresay?

Posted by: beenyweenies | Jul 7, 2015 10:43:24 AM

Could they still have the attendance records from that year?

Posted by: Campo | Jul 7, 2015 11:13:28 AM

Might be a silly question but has anyone from the Serial or Undisclosed team tried to contact Mark Pusateri all these years later?
If memory serves me correctly isn’t Mark several years younger than the main players? As a kid, I know my friends and I always felt cool hanging out with their older siblings, and we were easily influenced by the older crowd.
Maybe it’s possible Mark was influenced by something Jay said in the event he was contacted by police. Is it possible the police did contact Mark but didn’t make notes based on whatever information they got? Perhaps because it helped Adnan or created more doubt about Jay’s story? At a young age a kid might not grasp the consequences and how it affects someone else’s entire life, but maybe as he matured he has more useful information than anyone thinks.

Posted by: RudyTuesday | Jul 7, 2015 11:31:41 AM

While the police records of interviews with witnesses going missing is frustrating and suspicious (assuming they contained information that would have helped Adnan) I was wondering why CG or Adnan's defence team also have no recorded interviews with Mark? Was he not called at trial? Wouldn't this be ineffective counsel also or is it just slapdash investigation (from defence side) Is it possible the defence team interviewed Mark and found him to corroborate Jay's story so the document was just tossed?

I also wanted to say a huge thanks to yourself, Susan and Rabia for the work you put into this.

Posted by: poldebruin | Jul 7, 2015 1:01:24 PM

Can you please explain what you mean when you say the police interviews are “missing?” Do we know they exist but were not included in the FOIA documents secured by the Serial team?

Posted by: Seamus Duncan | Jul 7, 2015 3:47:30 PM

Hey Colin. You said "Edit: It turns out that Neighbor Boy was interviewed by police, but the notes from that interview are "missing," like the notes from the interviews with "Ann" and Patrice."

What are they "missing" from? What I mean is, do we know that these documents at one time existed and now they are missing or are they missing from what you have been provided? Is there some master list of reports, etc that lists these as existing at some point and now they do not?


Posted by: theghostoftomlandery | Jul 7, 2015 3:52:56 PM

There is an Amended State's Disclosure from 9-3-99 on the Undisclosed site that also lists Mark P. as a witness for the State. That was from about a month ago IIRC.

Posted by: dWakawaka | Jul 7, 2015 5:05:03 PM

beenyweenies: Yes, I think I read that somewhere as well. Conversely, didn’t Jenn say and/or testify that she dropped Mark off at school on January 13th?

Campo: They might still exist.

RudyTuesday: I woudn’t be surprised if Adnan’s legal team is reaching out to Mark. He’s someone were couldn’t really contact, given his potential legal significance.

Silverlock: I’m not sure how these transcript pages were obtained. We have Gutierrez’s files, the incomplete trial transcripts, and the documents that Adnan’s attorney got in response to an MPIA request (2000 or so pages).

Poldebruin: Add Mark to the a list that includes “Ann,” “Takera,” and Will. There’s not really a good reason why the defense failed to contact them.

Seamus and theghostoftomlandery: Right. As with “Ann,” Patrice, etc., we have the cover sheet for the interview listing the time of the interview. There are not, however, any notes from the interview. These are in the MPIA files and/or the defense files. This page, for instance, is from the MPIA files:


dWakawaka: Thanks. That provides additional support for this post.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Jul 7, 2015 6:20:45 PM

Just to clarify, you have the cover sheet with date and time of the Mark P. Interview? Can you share that info? Cheers, thanks for answering

Posted by: Theghostoftomlandry | Jul 7, 2015 6:38:19 PM

Theghostoftomlandry: No, we have no cover sheet for Mark P. There is no official record of Mark P. being interviewed by the State. He's just listed as a prospective witness for the prosecution.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Jul 7, 2015 6:45:48 PM

It seems like the Prosecution had a lot of witnesses listed that also potentially could have served as good alibi witnesses for Adnan. Is there any legal strategy to why the Prosecution might include everyone and anyone including those who might provide testimony in support of the defense? Perhaps as a bluff to throw the defense off? Like to make them think that that witness that they might otherwise call might also provide damaging testimony that the prosecution knows about?

Posted by: Emily | Jul 7, 2015 8:06:10 PM

Trial transcripts are missing. I think this was mentioned above, but can you find the name of the court reporter? They often will keep a backup file.

Posted by: fourhens | Jul 8, 2015 4:52:51 AM

Is there anything to be gained from putting in a second MPIA request with a list of the 'missing' documents - it may be that a more thorough look by the police turns something up - or at least forces them to admit they are lost (which adds to any police misconduct arguments). I've always felt it’s extremely dodgy that whole interviews can go missing…especially when they haven’t been turned over to the defence, as it makes you wonder about potential Brady violations that are conveniently ‘hidden’ by losing the documents. Is there any form of sanction against the police/prosecution in cases where evidence is lost in this way? Is it the case that both handwritten notes and typed up statements have been lost? This seems either very unlucky or very deliberate.

Posted by: Cupcake | Jul 10, 2015 9:53:23 AM

I know I saw someone joking that there is a "bad evidence" file somewhere, but what if there really is a box with all of the stuff that the State decided not to hand over to the defense that somehow got "overlooked" or was in a different place when the documents were turned over for the MPIA. It would be really crazy if it actually was still out there somewhere.

Posted by: gc | Jul 10, 2015 4:21:01 PM

gc: I'm guessing it's filed under Adrian Syed... easy mistake to make.

Posted by: Cupcake | Jul 12, 2015 6:28:27 AM

Haha... Good point Cupcake. In fact, that's probably why they weren't handed over to the defense too... They didn't ask for Adrian Syed's files.

Posted by: gc | Jul 12, 2015 3:35:35 PM

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