EvidenceProf Blog

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

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Episode Two of "The Case Against Adnan Syed": Chris Baskerville

On tonight's second episode of HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed," we saw the reappearance of someone who first appeared on Episode 8 of the Serial Podcast: Chris Baskerville. Chris is known for two things from that Serial appearance: First, he told the story about Jay trying to stab him:

I gave him a knife and then he tried to stab me with it, so we were literally like fighting outside of my cousin’s house and he’s like “yo, I’m not gonna stab you deep but you never been stabbed before, you need to know what it’s like,” and I’m like “yo, I’m not gonna let you stab me.”

Second, he told a very different version of the murder and trunk pop than anyone else.

On the HBO episode, Chris largely relays the same story that he told on Serial:

Sarah: Chris says Jay told him he was at a pool hall out on Route 40 and Catonsville when he got a call from Adnan. The pool hall was either VIP or Bluejays....

Chris: He was shooting pool, Adnan called him he was like “yo, I gotta talk to you,” and he was like “yo I’m busy.” “Yo, where are you” and he told him where he was. Adnan showed up and he’s like “oh I gotta talk to you”....

Sarah: In this version the trunk pop happens at the pool hall.....He said, Jay told him that Adnan confronted Hae about flirting with another guy, a car salesman and when she called Adnan crazy, he snapped and strangled her. And Chris said he heard this happened in the parking lot of the Woodlawn Public Library

Importantly, in his first recorded interview, Jay says he only told two people about the murder: Jennifer Pusateri and Chris Baskerville:

Screen Shot 2019-03-17 at 3.47.32 PM

On both Serial and (I think) the HBO episode, Chris says that he was never contacted by the police. Why? There seem to be two clear option. First, the police thought that Jay was so unreliable that contacting Chris could have further undermined his story. After all, Jay said in this same interview that the trunk pop occurred at a strip off of Edmondson Avenue after Jenn had previously said that Jay told her that the murder and trunk pop occurred in the Best Buy parking lot. You can imagine the police (correctly) guessing that Chris would have told them a third version of events and deciding against contacting him.

Second, you can also imagine Jay admitting to the police (when the tape wasn't rolling) that he had told Chris an entirely different version of events. If that were true, this of course would be a Brady violation because an entirely different version of the murder and trunk pop would have seriously undermined Jay's already questionable credibility.

Beyond the State, you can clearly see why the defense would have been interested in interviewing Chris...but, as with many promising leads in this case, he was never pursued.

There's the lingering question of what exactly is going on here. Why in the world is Jay telling so many different stories about the murder and trunk pop, with Jay changing his story yet again in his Intercept interview? I'd also love to know when Jay told Chris about the murder. My guess has always been that it was around the time of the CrimeStoppers tip, which could have huge implications if Jay was the tipster and told a similar story.

But this is information we might never know...just like we might never know what prompted Chris to say this about Jay on tonight's episode:

If Jay gets pulled over and you’re in a car with him, and he’s dirty or he feels like there’s a chance he’s going to go to jail, he’s going to try to dump every responsibility for anything onto you. He’ll trade places with you in a heartbeat, which is why people don’t talk to Jay any more.




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Hi Colin! Always enjoy reading your blogs! Will Hae’s rape kit ever get tested? Or the DNA found in her car ever run through a database system??

Posted by: Taylor Gavin | Mar 17, 2019 7:16:08 PM

can you answer what happened in the interview with Chris? He said Adnan showed up and a body was in the trunk???

Posted by: Alex | Mar 17, 2019 7:34:59 PM

Do we know when Jay left Baltimore? Is it anywhere close to when Urick went into private practice?

Posted by: Jeff P | Mar 17, 2019 7:54:17 PM

I can't watch yet as in the uk but sounds interesting. I am interested to know what happened to the preliminary hearing in this case? Was there one?

Posted by: Investig1 | Mar 17, 2019 8:37:38 PM

“Why in the world is Jay telling so many different stories about the murder and trunk pop?”

Because Jay was much more involved in the crime and made up where it happened. He has different versions because he is lying because he is more involved and is worried someone saw him (or cameras) being more involved at the real location. He eventually settles on Best Buy.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 18, 2019 1:08:03 AM

Taylor Gavin: Stay tuned.

Alex: Chris says that Jay told him that (1) Jay was shooting pool when he got a call from Adnan; (2) Adnan showed up in the pool hall parking lot; and (3) Adnan popped the trunk and showed Jay’s body in the pool hall parking lot.

Jeff P: We probably have an exact year somewhere, but I’m not sure.

Investig1: There was not a preliminary hearing in this case.

Ben: So, of Jay is lying because he is more involved does that mean his story about being at Jenn’s for the “come and get me” call is a lie? And does that also mean that Jay got Jenn to go along with this lie?

Posted by: Colin Miller | Mar 18, 2019 6:07:11 AM


I imagine Jay Wilds lied about many aspects of his story; that's generally accepted, even by Kevin Urick. In his intercept interview, Urick acknowledges that it's common for State witnesses to be criminals (after all, that's how the State learns about crime much of the time, from other criminals ...).

Urick made a key distinction in that interview between collateral facts and material facts. I for one would be quite interested in your thoughts on which of Jay's statements relate to collateral facts (which, while perhaps interesting and salacious are ultimately irrelevant), and which relate to material facts.

Posted by: Jonathan | Mar 18, 2019 6:33:55 AM

I wonder if Best Buy was wholly a Jenn thing that Jay felt he needed to incorporate.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 18, 2019 6:58:02 AM

Jonathan: I would say the material facts are (1) Adnan popping the trunk, showing Hae’s body to Jay, and telling him he killed her; and (2) Adnan and Jay burying Hae’s body. Collateral facts would be (1) what happened in the afternoon after the trunk pop; and (2) what happened in the evening after the burial.

First, we clearly have at least 4 different versions of everything connected to the trunk pop: (1) Chris’s version/pool hall; (2) Jay’s initial version to police/strip off of Edmondson Avenue; (3) Jenn’s version/Best Buy; and (4) Jay’s Intercept version/outside Grandma’s house (as well as other, less official versions.

Second, the burial story has now been seriously undermined by, among other things (1) Jay’s burial story fundamentally changing in the Intercept interview; (2) the AT&T disclaimer; and (3) the lividity evidence. I also expect Episode 3 of the HBO series to undermine this story further.

Michael: How would it be wholly a Jenn story? Are you saying she just made it up out of whole cloth?

Posted by: Colin Miller | Mar 18, 2019 8:49:30 AM

So Jay told Jenn what to say to police, So Jenn is still lying today?

Posted by: Gina | Mar 18, 2019 9:46:48 AM

I am just trying to imagine Adnan driving around with Hae's body in the car, popping the trunk and showing people. Especially Jay who he was only mildly acquainted with. I am not sure why adults, in 1999, didn't call bullshit on that. Jay put himself in the middle of this because he had to have been made to feel like he was stuck. What did he do to feel that way? Peddle a little weed? This whole situation stinks.

Posted by: NathaLee | Mar 18, 2019 12:08:23 PM

NathaLee, I agree. I am not sure why adults did not call BS on a lot of Jay's story. First and foremost, why would Adnan need to call Jay to "come and get me" at all, considering he had Hae's car? According to Jay's trial testimony, Adnan called him to come meet him at Best Buy, only to then have Jay follow him to the Park and Ride to leave Hae's car there for a while so Adnan can get back to track practice. Why couldn't Adnan have driven Hae's car to wherever he was going to leave it and called Jay from there, when he actually needed a ride? And then later that night, why was everyone passing Jay off between their cars? Why would he have needed Jen to come meet him and Adnan in the Westview Mall parking lot (as Jen claimed) so Jen could drive him home, when Adnan could have just as easily driven Jay home (this is actually one instance where Jay's story makes more sense than someone else's). It's maddening to try to figure out all of the convoluted stories of who was driving, when and where. The only thing I can figure is that Jay had to insert himself into every aspect of the timeline in order to be able to "witness" everything.

Posted by: Ann | Mar 18, 2019 2:17:28 PM

I want to thank Colin for clearing up this Chris Baskerville trunk pop matter, and Alex, for asking the exact same question I had. I was literally watching episode 2 of the Adnan HBO series when I stopped and paused it, and then proceeded to rewind and re-watch the Baskerville trunk pop story over and over. I was like am I missing something here, is Chris Baskerville saying he was physically at the pool hall when Adnan showed up and told him to come to the parking lot, and then Adnan popped the trunk and showed him a body.
I immediately began searching the internet for proof of what I just witnessed. But at last, I was completely mistaken.

Chris was not at the pool hall for the trunk pop. He was merely telling the story that was told to him by Jay Wilds—Jay was at the pool hall and supposedly saw Hae’s body in the trunk.

I believe this short segment is going to confuse a lot of people watching the series who are not familiar with the case. It confused me and I’ve listened to all of Serial, Undisclosed and have read Rabia’s book and follow this blog often.

Posted by: Gavin | Mar 18, 2019 2:21:16 PM

Jay had quite a reputation as a fabulist. It's likely that he started making up a story about Adnan killing Hae (telling it to his friends) long before the cops talked to him, and somehow felt at some point that he had to stick to his story, however he could make it fit.

Posted by: Kitchenmudge | Mar 18, 2019 2:23:36 PM


Maybe the location stated by Jenn (the Best Buy) was made up by her because she thought she needed to tell them something?

Posted by: Michael | Mar 18, 2019 2:58:41 PM

Jay is definitely not a credible witness. For Adnan to be imprisoned based on the testimony of someone who's story seems quite far-fetched and fabricated is ludicrous. Someone is trying to hide something VERY BIG that has little to do with Jay nor Adnan. The conspiracy runs very deep and I am seriously concerned for everyone involved, not just Adnan.

Posted by: Terris Riley | Mar 18, 2019 3:03:15 PM

Here is a theory; I’m sure I’m not the first person to posit this one. We already know that there are many similarities between the murder of Hae and the murder of Jada Denita Lambert. Roy Sharonnie Davis’ house was close to Lambert’s school and also close to the route Hae took to pick up her cousin from daycare. We know that it took Baltimore PD four year’s to find Lambert’s killer and also that there were 305 murders in Baltimore in 1999. In the second episode of The Case Against Adnan Syed there is a sequence about the fact that in 1999 the police department was desperate to appear as though they were doing something about the crime epidemic. The optics of letting a murderer roam free around Baltimore for four years possibly killing other people are not good. Perhaps the police strongly suspected that Sharonnie Davis was also Hae’s killer. They didn’t test any DNA other than that of Adnan and Jay because they thought there was a good chance it might prove to be Sharonnie Davis’ (i.e., the print in Hae’s car.) Adnan was a seemingly easy win to them. Also, Jay knew Davis and perhaps was implicated. And in episode 2 his friend said if he was in trouble, he would sell out anyone to get out of it. Maybe he made the call to police telling them they should look into Adnan, or got someone else to do it because he knew Adnan could be a plausible suspect. He also possibly implicated Adnan because he was allegedly afraid of Sharonnie Davis and Davis may have threatened him.

Posted by: Lori | Mar 18, 2019 5:07:05 PM

How were the police able to question Adnan without his parents or lawyer present when they initially arrested him? Wasn’t he a minor? I know they messed up the paperwork when processing him but if he was a minor, then an adult would have to be present period right? Sorry that stuck out for me in the very first part of episode 2 with the bail lawyer. I know it’s not relevant to getting him acquitted just seems like a huge violation of his rights.

Posted by: Kristen | Mar 19, 2019 7:13:08 PM

It sure seems like the police were holding something over Jay's head. Is there some sort of non-prosecution agreement he received for throwing Adnan under the bus? Jay is so sketchy.

And I'm appalled that there are so many limitations to these PCR cases. It's obscene that the cell tower evidence is waived. It's ridiculous that the court isn't recognizing the prejudice of the failure to call Asia as a witness. Why in the world can't the lividity evidence be brought forward.

I understand that they want limits on things, so the system doesn't get abused. But what about the people who are getting abused by the system? Adnan needs a new trial. He deserves one.

Posted by: Alisa McAffee | Mar 19, 2019 8:54:36 PM

Its always a pleasure to read your blogs Colin. Thank you. As someone who listened to Serial the first time around and have followed developments closely since I am pretty sure the Jay 'did it'. Assume this and a lot of stuff falls into place.

Posted by: David Dredge | Mar 22, 2019 1:48:36 PM

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