Saturday, August 15, 2015
Recently, the February 24, 2000 trial transcript from Adnan Syed's second murder trial was posted. One of the witnesses who testified on the 24th was Adnan's best friend Saad. Saad had a cell phone that was very similar to Adnan's Nokia 6160. With the phone, a caller could make a call to someone who was assigned a speed dial number by simply pushing down that number (e.g., "2") for a few seconds. In Episode 6 of Serial, Adnan said that he had assigned Nisha a speed dial number, meaning that "The Nisha Call" could have been an accidental dial.
When questioning Saad, however, Cristina Gutierrez didn't ask Saad about speed dialing; instead, she asked him about making calls using the more complicated scroll feature (page 144:
This has led readers to ask me a question that often gets asked in this case: Did Gutierrez drop the ball?
In other words, did Gutierrez fail to ask about accidental speed dialing because Adnan didn't assign people speed dial numbers, or did Gutierrez fail to ask this question because of a failure in trial preparation?
Thankfully, we have Krista (Adnan and Hae's good friend) to answer this question. According to Krista, on January 12, 1999, Adnan got his cell phone
sometime between 6 & 7:30 and he did definitely have speed dials set. He made a big deal that I was one of the first people he called since he didn't have to wait and hide phone calls at home anymore.
Krista is likely referring to the 7:48 P.M. call that Adnan made to her on January 12th. And, indeed, Adnan was accurate: Krista was the second person he called after getting his cell phone. The first person was Nisha, whom Adnan called at 7:33 P.M. Given that Nisha was the first person Adnan called on his cell phone, and given that he called her three times on January 12th, it's safe to assume that Adnan assigned Nisha a speed dial number.