Sunday, March 24, 2019
In tonight's 3rd episode of HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed," there was a huge revelation that makes its really difficult to believe in Adnan Syed's guilt: Amy Berg showed Kristina (Kristi) Vinson her academic record from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. That record showed that Kristi was taking a short course during the Winter Term in January 1999. That class met three (or four) times on Wednesdays from 6:00-9:10pm, including on January 13, 1999, the day that Hae Min Lee disappeared. As Kristi notes, there's no way she could have blown off that class. Because the class met only three/four times, if she skipped even one of the class sessions, Kristi would have failed; instead, she got a B. Therefore, as Kristi herself concludes, there's no way that the day that Jay and Adnan came to her house was January 13th. So, what does it all mean?
Let's start at 4:12pm on January 13th. At that time, there's an outgoing call from Adnan's cell phone to Jay's friend Jennifer Pusateri. At trial, Jay testifies that this call was Jay asking Jenn whether Kristi was home:
Then, according to Jay, he dropped Adnan off at track practice and went to Kristi's place, where he smoked weed and contemplated what he should do:
Jay then testifies that he receives a phone call from Adnan while he's at Kristi's place, which leads to him picking Adnan up from track practice, followed immediately by Jay taking Adnan to Kristi's place:
According to this story, while Adnan and Jay were at Kristi's place, there were some important phone calls.
First Important Call
First, Kristi testifies that Jenn calls over to her place while Adnan was there:
Jenn also testifies about this call. She says she called over to Kristi's place because Jay and she were supposed to hang out at Kristi's place later that night. According to Jenn, during this call, she talked to Jay, Kristi, and Kristi's boyfriend Jeff, with Jeff telling her that she was supposed to pick up Jay at Gilston Park:
It is this conversation that leads to the phone calls with the infamous "Leakin Park pings." According to Jenn, Jay sends a confusing voice message to her pager (presumably the 7:00pm call on Adnan's call log) telling Jenn not to pick him up, despite what Jeff told her:
Jenn then testifies that this confusing message leads her to call the number (Adnan's cell phone) back (the 7:09 and/or 7:16pm calls), whereupon she's told that Jay is busy and will call her back when he's ready to be picked up:
Finally, according to Jenn, (1) Jay tells her that Adnan killed Hae; (2) they go to Stephanie's place; (3) Jay tells her that they used shovels to bury Hae's body; (3) Jay (says he) dumps the shovels in a dumpster at Westview Mall; and (4) they go to Kristi's place immediately after Jay (says he) dumps the shovels:
Kristi agrees with Jenn, saying that Jay and Jenn came to her place later on the same night that Adnan and Jay had been to her house:
Second Important Call(s)
Adnan's call log shows that he received three incoming calls at 6:07, 6:09, and 6:24pm on January 13th. According to the State at trial, these calls are from Hae's brother Young Lee,* Aisha, and Officer Adcock. According to Kristi, one of these calls got Adnan to freak out and leave her place in a hurry with Jay:
Jay testifies that it was the call from Officer Adcock that got Adnan to leave in a hurry so that they could bury Hae's body earlier than planned:
The Story by Jay, Jenn, Kristi, and the State
Breaking this all down, we have the following story by Jay, Jenn, Kristi, and the State:
(1) Jay calls Jenn at 4:12pm, asking if Kristi is home;
(2) Jay drops Adnan off at track practice and goes to Kristi's place;
(3) Jay is at Kristi's place when he gets the call from Adnan to pick him up at practice;
(4) Jay gets Adnan, and they go directly to Kristi's place;
(5) Jenn calls over to Kristi's place and talks to Jay, Kristi, and Jeff;
(6) Jeff tells Jenn she's supposed to pick up Jay at Gilston Park;
(7) Adnan is at Kristi's place when he gets the calls from Young, Aisha, and Adcock;
(8) One of these calls causes Adnan to freak out and leave w/Jay to bury Hae's body earlier than planned;
(9) Jay sends a confusing page to Jenn about NOT picking him up;
(10) Jenn calls Adnan's phone (the Leakin Park pings);
(11) Someone/Adnan tells her Jay will call her back about pickup after he's done;
(12) Jay calls Jenn and tells her to pick him up at Westview Mall; and
(13) Jenn picks up Jay, Jay says Adnan killed Hae, Jay dumps the shovels, and they go to Kristi's place.
Implications of Kristi Having the Wrong Day
Now, knowing that Kristi has the wrong day, where does that leave us? Kristi and Jenn tell interlocking stories about (1) Jenn calling Kristi when Adnan and Jay were at Kristi's place; and (2) Jenn and Jay coming over to Kristi's place that same night. It therefore seems highly likely that they're thinking of the same day...and we now know that day was NOT January 13th. Therefore, the State's entire narrative about what happened after 4:12pm on January 13th is gone.
Let's next look at the implications for all three witnesses:
This now means that Kristi has nothing meaningful to say about January 13th. She, of course, no longer corroborates Jay's story and in fact dispels Jay's story because the events he describes did NOT happen on January 13th. We also have to wonder how the police consciously or unconsciously led Kristi to believe that the Jay/Adnan visit was on January 13th.
I've always wondered something about Kristi. She gave her police statement on March 9th. Then, on March 11th, Detective Ritz interviewed Kristi's boyfriend Jeff, followed by Ritz again talking to Kristi:
There are no notes from these interviews of Jeff and Kristi, and Jeff was not called at a witness at trial...despite the fact that he was the only person other than Kristi and Jenn who allegedly saw Jay and Adnan together that evening. He should have been a great and important witness...unless he told Ritz something he didn't want to hear. I don't know whether the HBO team was able to track down Jeff, but he might very well have some information that could point to a Brady violation (if, for example, Jeff said something inconsistent with the Adnan/Jay visit being on January 13th)
As noted, the memories of Kristi and Jenn interlock. So, that night when (1) Jenn called Kristi when Adnan and Jay where there; (2) Jenn and Jay played phone tag about picking up Jay; and (3) Jay and Jenn went to Kristi's place after Jenn picked up Jay...that was NOT January 13th. That was some other night.
And what that means is that Jenn is no longer corroboration for Jay. Instead, she dispels what Jay says happened on January 13th...because the events she describes happened on another day. So, the Leakin Park pings...they're gone. Instead, those calls that Jenn made after she talked with Jay, Kristi, and Jeff happened on on another day. And Jenn's story about Jay (allegeldy) dumping the shovels on January 13th...that couldn't have happened. She claims this happened right before Jay and she went to Kristi's place...but that visit took place on a different day. And so, Jenn's story now looks like some weird retcon that someone convinced her to say after the fact.
That leaves us with Jay. We already knew that Jay's story had problems during the day. He says that the "come and get me" call came at 3:45ish, which does not match any call on Adnan's call log (no incoming calls between 3:15 and 4:27 pm) and is inconsistent with the State's claim of a 2:36pm "come and get me" call. We knew that Jay has given numerous stories about where the murder and trunk pop occurred. And were knew that Jay's story about the events of the early afternoon did not match the cell tower pings. As Judge Welch concluded, this part of Jay's story was always a jumbled mess that didn't line up with the State's narrative.
But, as Judge Welch and now the Court of Appeals concluded, the crux of the State's case was Jay's story about the evening: the visit to Kristi's place, the Leakin Park pings/burial, and meeting up with Jenn later that night. Here, Jay's story was corroborated.
But now, it's dispelled. Everything Jay describes starting at 4:12pm has now been debunked: We now know that the visits to Kristi's place and everything connected to them did NOT happen on January 13th. And so, Jay's story about the evening goes from being corroborated to dispelled. What he describes simply couldn't have happened on January 13th, making that story a clear fabrication that was an attempt to match the call log and the cell tower pings.
And this is why it is now so hard to believe that Adnan is guilty. Now, the ONLY evidence against Adnan is Jay, and Jay's story about the events of January 13th has gone from mostly dispelled and partially corroborated to completely dispelled. He tells a story that bears no tangible relation to reality and that was clearly a construction based on what the police believed about the cell tower pings (hence the alleged first visit to Kristi's place based on the misplaced cell tower).
The title of the show might be "The Case Against Adnan Syed," but this is now the end of the case against Adnan Syed.
*Adnan believed that this call occurred while he was in his car: