Sunday, August 13, 2023
Why It's Highly Likely Becky Heard Hae Tell Adnan She Couldn't Give Him a Ride b/c She Had "Something Else to Do" on January 13, 1999
There has been a good bit of discussion about the Adnan Syed case on Twitter/X recently, and a good deal of it has dealt with Becky, a classmate and friend of both Adnan and Hae Min Lee. I've written before on this blog about Becky, but I don't think I've ever done a full post on why it is highly likely that the critical event she remembers in fact occurred on January 13, 1999, the day Hae disappeared.
Let's start with a refresher on Becky: On April 9, 1999, Becky was interviewed by the police. According to the notes of that interview, shortly after school ended on January 13, 1999, Hae said to Adnan regarding his ride request earlier in the day, "Oh no, I can't take you, I have something else to do." The notes also indicate that Becky told the police that Hae "didn't say what else" Hae had to do.
Adnan's first trial ended in a mistrial before Becky could testify. At Adnan's second trial, Becky testified as a defense witness. Specifically, she testified that, shortly after the end of school on January 13th, she saw Hae heading to the door that led to where her car was parked, with Hae saying "she had to be somewhere after school. She didn't tell me where she was going but she said she had to leave."
This is very similar to Becky's police statement, with the key difference being that defense counsel Cristina Gutierrez never asked Becky whether Adnan was present for what Hae said. That said, when Sarah Koenig interviewed Becky for Serial and read her police statement (about Hae telling Adnan that she couldn't give him a ride), Becky responded twice that what Koenig had read to her "sounds right."
Clearly, Becky is a critical witness. If she's right and Hae was being honest, Hae had something else to do and somewhere else to be, preventing her from giving Adnan a ride. That would mean that, unless Hae again changed her mind, she didn't give Adnan a ride, and she very likely died while doing this other thing. Moreover, if, (1) as Becky suggests, Hae left soon after school; and (2) Adnan was at the library with Asia until about 2:40pm, it's very likely Adnan is innocent.
But is Becky remembering the correct day? I think so. Here are several reasons why I think she is:
First, Becky's memory of Hae turning Adnan down for a ride at the end of school is tied to the day when she heard at lunch about Krista overhearing Adnan ask Hae for a ride at the start of the day.
Krista is the primary basis for people believing the ride request was on January 13th b/c she was asked about it that same night. Because Becky's memory is tied to Krista overhearing that request, she is also likely remembering Hae changing her mind on that same day: January 13th.
Second, Becky remembers Hae turning Adnan down for a ride on Stephanie's birthday. Stephanie's birthday was January 13th.
Third, Becky doesn't just remember it being Stephanie's birthday. She remembers the stuffed animal that Adnan did in fact get Stephanie for her birthday.
Fourth, Becky remembers Hae saying she was thinking about Don at lunch, which means, at a minimum, Hae turned Adnan down for a ride in January.
This is significant b/c there were very few days in January when Adnan was at school and didn't have a track meet, i.e., days when Adnan would have been asking for a ride. Here were the school days in January before January 13th:
1/4: Adnan absent
1/5: track meet
1/6: Adnan absent
1/8: snow day (no school)
1/12: track meet
As you can see, the only other possible days when Hae might have turned Adnan down for a ride at the end of the day were 1/7 or 1/11. But, if it was one of those days, was that other day possibly the only day Adnan made a ride request in the first place?
Fifth, Becky remembers Hae turning Adnan down for a ride the day before the ice storm that did in fact close school the next day, Thursday, January 14th:
Sixth, Becky says that Aisha was there when Hae turned Adnan down for a ride.
This is significant because it lines up with what Krista told me, which is that she talked to Aisha on the night of January 13th, with Aisha telling her that Hae turned down Adnan for a ride at the end of the day.
Seventh, it would make sense that both Becky and Aisha remember Hae turning down Adnan for a ride on January 13th in particular b/c Becky says in her police statement that she talked with Aisha on the night of January 13th after Aisha learned that Hae was missing:
All of the above adds up to a high likelihood that Hae did indeed turn Adnan down for a ride at the end of the school day on January 13, 1999 b/c she had something else to do.