Monday, March 27, 2017
Two days before the deadline for the filing of the defense's appellate brief in the Adnan Syed case, I thought I'd take a look back at one of the most significant parts of the case: track practice. Simply put, if Adnan was on time for track practice, it's really hard to imagine a scenario where Adnan is guilty. Conversely, if Adnan was (very) late to track practice, it's really hard to imagine a scenario where Adnan is innocent. In this post, I will list the five different versions of track practice that Jay gave, followed by some conclusions:
Jay's First Recorded Interview, 2/28/99
After Jay and Adnan go to the Cliffs at Patapsco State Park, Jay drives Adnan back to Woodlawn High School while the sun was going down, at around 4:30 P.M.:
Later, Jay picked up Adnan from Woodlawn High School after Adnan called him on Adnan's cell phone at about 6:45 P.M.:
In this first interview, Jay does not explicitly mention track practice or Adnan needing Jay to take Adnan to track practice so that he can establish an alibi.
Jay Second Recorded Interview, 3/15/99
After Jay and Adnan go to the Cliffs at Patapsco State Park, Jay drives Adnan back to Woodlawn High School at about 5:10 P.M.* According to Jay, during this drive to school, Adnan talked to two people on the phone, and Adnan thinks that one of these calls was an incoming call from Adnan's mother:
In this second interview, Jay specifically states that he took Adnan back to Woodlawn for track practice, with Adnan having the plan of seeing classmates to create an alibi:
While Adnan was at school for over two hours (from around 4:30-6:45 P.M.) in Jay's first accounting, in this version, Adnan is at school for only around thirty minutes, with Adnan calling Jay and telling him to pick him up at the end of practice, at around 5:45 P.M.:
Obviously, Adnan was very late for track practice in this version of events, and the only thing that Adnan mentioned about practice was that he had to run a lot because he was late:
Jay's Ride Along, 3/18/99
When Ritz and MacGillivary take Jay on a ride along, he repeats his story about taking Adnan to track practice after the two had gone to the Cliffs at Patapsco State Park
Jay also repeats his story about Adnan receiving an incoming call from his mother, now specifying that it came as they entered the school parking lot:
Jay doesn't give a specific time for this drop off, but he says that, after dropping off Adnan, he arrives at Cathy's place between 5:20 and 5:30 P.M., which is again consistent with a track drop off time of about 5:00 P.M.:
In this version of events, Adnan later calls Jay to tell him he's finished with practice and to meet him in front of the school. When Jay arrives at Woodlawn at about 6:00 P.M., he sees Adnan in front of the gym with his track buddy Will:
According to Jay, Adnan later told him that he was glad that he talked with his coach during practice because his coach was subsequently asked about Adnan's attendance on January 13th:
Jay's Testimony, First Trial, 12/14-12/15/99
In this version, after the Patrick/Patrice call, Jay and Adnan score some weed in West Forest Park, followed by Jay taking Adnan to track practice:
While the Patrick/Patrice call was at 3:59 P.M., Jay had previously testified that the "come and get me" call was at 3:45ish, so it's unclear when Jay drops off Adnan in this version. Unless I missed it, Jay does not testify at trial #1 about Adnan making or receiving any calls during this drive to track practice.
There is one interesting thing in this version that I hadn't noticed before:
If I'm reading this correctly (page 215-216), Jay is saying that Will saw Adnan and Jay when Jay dropped Adnan off for track practice, not after track practice, with Jay and Adnan both entering the school/gym on arrival ("I believe Will was out front when we went inside."). Later, after practice, Adnan called Jay on Adnan's cell phone and asked him to pick him up:
Jay's Testimony, Second Trial, 2/4, 2/10-2/15/00
This version again starts with the call to Patrick/Patrice, followed by buying weed in Forest Park and the drive to track practice. Serial places this drop off at 5:15 P.M., but it's tough to pinpoint a time given Jay's inconsistent narrative. At the second trial, the "mom call" reappears, with the State claiming it is the 4:27 P.M. call on the call log:
One interesting thing I hadn't noticed before is that Jay says or at least implies that it was Adnan who had driven to track practice:
This seems inconsistent with Jay's prior statements, unless I'm missing something. In his first interview, Jay said, "I took him back to school." In his second interview, Jay said, "I took him back to school and dropped him off." And, at the first trial, Jay testified, "I drove him to the front of the school."
Finally, at this second trial, Jay testified that he went to Cathy's place after Adnan went to track practice, with Adnan calling about half an hour later and asking to be picked up:
1. Jay's "Will" testimony at trial #1 seems pretty significant. Facially, it seems to make little sense, given that Jay has always said that Adnan was pretty late getting to track practice. If that were the case, why would Will be at the front of school during the drop off, unless he were also very late to practice? And what's the deal with Jay apparently saying that he entered the school/gym with Adnan? That's not part of any other accounting that Jay gives. I suppose the State's response would be that Jay was simply confusing or conflating different days when he dropped Adnan off at track,** but this seems to be a pretty big inconsistency that points toward fabrication.
2. The same seems to go for Jay's testimony from the second trial that Adnan drove his car to track practice, with Jay being in the passenger seat. This was a 180 from all of Jay's prior statements, where he said that he drove Adnan back to track practice.
3. I've always been interested in Jay's seemingly competing stories about (1) Adnan being very late for track practice; and (2) Adnan being happy about speaking to Coach Sye and creating an alibi. Again, facially, this seems to make little sense. If Adnan's tardiness at practice caused Coach Sye to punish Adnan by having him run a lot, wouldn't Adnan be worried about the fact that he also discussed Ramadan with Sye during that same practice? In other words, if Adnan was glad he talked about Coach Sye about Ramadan during practice on January 13th, wouldn't he also be worried about the fact that Sye would also presumably remember that he punished Adnan for being late that same day?
More fundamentally, though, Jay's two claims can't really work together because Coach Sye didn't make Adnan run during Ramadan, which was the focus of their conversation. The other thing that continues to confuse me is the source for Jay's claim that Adnan was glad he talked to Coach Sye on January 13th because Sye was questioned about this by police. Jay made this statement during his March 18th ride along, and Sye didn't speak with the police until March 23rd, nor did he speak with the defense PI until after Adnan was arrested. So, when would Adnan have made the statement that Jay claims?
This takes us back to the inconsistency between Jay's two claims: On March 15th, Jay says that (Adnan told him that) Coach Sye made Adnan run a lot on 1/13 because he was late; then, a mere three days later, on March 18th, Jay says that (Adnan told him that) Adnan was glad he spoke to Coach Sye on 1/13 to establish an alibi. What transpired in those three days that caused Jay to make a new claim about track practice that practically contradicted his prior claim?
4. The "mom call." As many people have noted, Jay's narrative of events makes little sense in connection with his claim that Adnan was trying to fabricate a track alibi. After all, why would Adnan go to Patapsco State Park or score weed with Jay at Forest Park, instead of trying to get to track practice as soon as possible to create an alibi. I suppose the response would be that Adnan was freaked out in the wake of the murder and wasn't thinking clearly.
But, according to Jay, by the time of the "mom call," Adnan (a) had already created his plan for his track practice alibi; and (b) was already very late for track practice. So, why in the world would he answer a call from his (mom) or anyone, let alone speak to that person for 2:56 (assuming we are talking about the 4:27 P.M. Call), rather than going directly to practice.
.. This is my first time really doing a deep dive into Jay's track stories, and they now seem even weaker and more contradictory than I have previously realized. Am I missing or misrepresenting anything? Any feedback would be welcomed.
*Jay doesn't give a specific time, but this was the guesstimate created by Serial. Presumably, this was based on Jay giving the following sequence of events in his interview: (1) the Patrick/Patrice call (3:59 P.M.); (2) the drive to Patapsco State Park; (3) 20-30 minutes at the Cliffs; (4) 13-15 minutes to get from the Cliffs to Woodlawn High School.
**Or maybe the State would claim that Jay was confusing the track drop off with the track pick up, but how does that explain Jay saying that Adnan and he went inside together?