EvidenceProf Blog

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

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Further Support For the Claim That Adnan Was On Time For Track Practice On January 13th

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry about Jay's narrative of events from 3:21 P.M. through 4:30 P.M. only making sense if Adnan was late to track practice, regardless of whether track practice started at 3:30 P.M. or 4:00 P.M. This was based upon (1) Jay repeatedly claiming that he was with Adnan for the 3:59 P.M. call to Patrick/Patrice before they headed to the Forest Park Golf Course; and (2) Jay repeatedly claiming that Adnan took the (three minute long) 4:27 P.M. call before heading to track practice.

This could be problematic for the State given that track coach Michael Sye remembered Adnan arriving and leaving on time for track practice on a day that only could have been January 13th:

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Given that Coach Sye didn't take written attendance, though, it is questionable whether he actually knew that Adnan arrived on time for practice. But a new comment to my prior post made me look back at the notes from Coach Sye's statement to detectives, and I think those notes provide pretty good circumstantial evidence that Adnan was on time or at least not 30+ minutes late for practice.

Here are the pertinent excerpts taken from the full set of notes of Coach Sye's police interview:

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From these excerpts, the following seems likely: (1) track practice started with everyone meeting on the track; (2) during this meeting, Coach Sye would make a mental note if someone was late in arriving; (3) during this team meeting, everyone would stretch before practicing in their particular discipline;* (4) on the date of the Ramadan conversation, Coach Sye stretched with Adnan and initiated a conversation with him about Ramadan; and (5) Coach Sye then walked around the track with Adnan.

Previously, I thought that the likeliest Adnan-was-late scenario was Adnan arriving late at practice and starting to walk around the track, with Coach Sye eventually joining him and not noting that Adnan was late. But Coach Sye's statement about stretching with Adnan seemingly precludes that possibility.

You stretch at the start (and sometimes the end) of track practice. Sometime, if you're doing field events (e.g., discus or pole vault) or intense interval training (e.g., fartleks), you might re-stretch in the middle of practice. But you certainly wouldn't re-stretch before walking.

Coach Sye's statement makes perfect sense if Adnan was on time for track practice, with Coach Sye stretching with Adnan at the start of practice before they walked around the track. But it doesn't really make sense if Adnan arrived at 4:40ish or even 4:20ish. If Coach Sye came upon Adnan stretching at either of these times while everyone else had moved on to their disciplines, it would be obvious that Adnan was late. 

Therefore, the case for Adnan being on time for track practice on 1/13 now seems even stronger.


*My high school track team was the same for steps 1-3.



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Since I realized all the phone calls between 2pm and 9pm are to/from Jay and his friends, I've completely given up the idea that Adnan was with Jay at all during that time. Maybe they hung out briefly in the 5-7pm timeframe but it was to get high, not to kill Hae. I REALLY hope there's something to be found about who killed Hae. She deserves better than this convoluted search for exoneration. While good for Adnan it doesn't do anything to get us closer to who killed her. (I'm a huge supporter of you guys so I mean this in the best light possible!)

Posted by: Megan Pawlak | Aug 31, 2017 6:50:05 AM

Athletes stretch after practice as well as before.

Posted by: Ben | Aug 31, 2017 1:39:32 PM

Ben: As I noted in my post, "You stretch at the start (and sometimes the end) of track practice." It depends on the discipline. I ran longer distances and typically didn't stretch at the end of practice, but people doing other disciplines did stretch after practice. In either case, what Coach Sye describes is not Adnan stretching at the end of practice; it is Adnan stretching before they walked around the track together. This seems like pretty strong evidence that Adnan was on time for track practice.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Aug 31, 2017 1:49:29 PM

I agree Adnan was at track that day and talked to the coach but this isn't evidence he was on time. Of course it could have been Adnan stretching during or after track.

Posted by: Ben | Aug 31, 2017 3:14:56 PM

Ben: It wasn’t Adnan stretching after practice because Sye said that he walked around the track with Adnan after Adnan was done stretching.

As for Adnan stretching during practice, what’s your theory? At 4:00 (or 3:30), all of the members of the team gather on the track, with Sye doing a mental attendance check but not noticing that Adnan is absent. Then, after the three minute 4:27 P.M. call, Adnan changes and makes his way to practice at 4:40ish without Sye noticing his late arrival. Then, Adnan starts pretending to re-stretch mid-practice, despite the fact that he’s only supposed to be walking/jogging during Ramadan. And then, Sye notices Adnan stretching and initiates a conversation about Ramadan.

I suppose this scenario is possible, but it seems highly unlikely to me. Or did you have a different scenario in mind?

Posted by: Colin Miller | Aug 31, 2017 6:04:49 PM

A little off topic, but do you have an idea as to when we will hear from COSA? I am optimistically guessing maybe by Christmas?

Posted by: Cathy McLain | Sep 1, 2017 10:01:54 AM

Keep in mind that this was Ramadan so Adnan would be walking versus running and would have no need to stretch in the middle or even really after practice.

Posted by: Amy | Sep 2, 2017 8:51:45 PM

Ben: do you not read before you post stuff ??? Omg Colin explained all of this in detail!!! I read your comment and immediately think YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! read the post and think first!!!

Posted by: Tiffany | Sep 3, 2017 5:27:06 AM

Adnan refuses to have his DNA tested against DNA on Hai's neck. If negative, this could exonerate him. Seems to indicate he is guilty. I know, lawyers tend to refuse it, though as i said, if he is not guilty, why refuse to let it happen?

Posted by: Huai Wan | Nov 25, 2017 1:41:33 PM

Cathy: 3-12 months from June. I don't know beyond that.

Amy: Right.

Huai: The defense knows Adnan's not getting released without DNA testing. This is strictly strategic in terms of what arguments can be raised and when.

Posted by: Colin Miller | Nov 29, 2017 12:46:26 PM

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