Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The case of Adnan Syed and Hae Lee have puzzled students and lawmakers alike: how was he convicted in the first place with no hard evidence against him? We know that Adnan was still convicted of this crime (murdering his ex girlfriend, Hae Min Lee) but with what evidence?

The first issue is questionable alibis. The alibis of “Jay” and Asia McClain were shady, and lawmakers failed to forget that these are 17 year old children; not adults. When asked what they were doing that night, both gave different answers to Adnan; three different scenarios of where Adnan was. Jumping into my thoughts, trying to figure out something that I ate at dinner yesterday was hard, so how were lawmakers to expect the students being questioned to remember every move, in an event that didn’t involve them. What Adnan is accused of (murder) seemed unusual and unlikely for a 17 year old to orchestrate that, let alone all of the positive aspects that Adnan had going for him. 

In February 2016, the courts heard Syed’s case after a judge reopening it in November 2015.

What I ask myself is how does a guy like Adnan have the motive to kill someone as “sweet” as Hae when he has many things going for him in the future such as; being good in track and football, honour roll student, was very well liked as the “Prince of Junior Prom” (Koenig)? It’s obvious; race and religion.  In his home state of Maryland, where there is not much diversity, it was obvious that lawmakers and classmates wanted to pin the crime on Adnan; who was obviously different from them. Despite the crime occurring pre 9/11, cases such as this primed what was going to occur in the future. Adnan’s friend Saad stated that if Adnan is guilty of anything, it’s of being a “normal kid with immigrant parents” (Koenig). This sounds like a case of discrimination and bias if you ask me. 

One of the most notorious serial killers was not actually a psychopath: he was oddly enough involve in the community at length and involved in political campaigns. 

Another aspect that I found interesting about this case was the emotional reactions that Adnan would experience. How was Adnan able to move on with his life after “killing” Hae if he did it? Although there are cases of many serial killers whom acted like normal humans after committing murder (such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer), a 17 year old who was involved in activities and preparing to graduate is not mentally capable of committing this crime (“The Serial Killers Who Seemed The Most Normal”). I’m not comparing Ted Bundy to Adnan by any means, but as a 17 year old, there is no way that I would be emotionally stable to go directly to track practice after murdering someone and being able to cope with seeing everyone after this tragic event. Serial killers have a chemical imbalance for a reason, which Adnan does not have (“The Serial Killers Who Seemed The Most Normal”).

Jay Wilds after many years spoke out in an interview to The Intercept, where he still maintains that Adnan Syed killed Hae Min Lee. 

As Adnan isn’t the killer, who is? After listening both to the podcast and reading about this case,  Jay murdered Hae Min Lee. This is because Jay’s personality and jealousy vives he gives from the first episode of Serial. Jay states how Adnan was digging a small hole to bury Hae in, and how he refused to help dig (Koenig). He eventually ended up helping, and assisted in digging the hole. On the other side of the story, a motive could be the reason as to why Jay would have said this. Adnan had mentioned how Jay forgot about his girlfriend Stephanie’s birthday and how Adnan “needed” to remind him to get her a gift. Adnan even got Stephanie a cute stuffed animal reindeer as a gift, which shows how Adnan cares a lot about one of his best friend’s girlfriend more then Jay did about his own girlfriend. Jay also could be jealous about how close Adnan and Stephanie are, hence Jay getting upset and jealous about this, resulting in giving Jay a motive to set up Adnan for murder. Going back to the hole though, when Jay was giving his testimony to the police, he was saying how Adnan and himself were digging the hole for Hae’s body (which was a small grave) and took 25 minutes. I have never dug a hole but I could tell you that 25 minutes for a badly made grave seems a bit excessive. Jay seemed a bit overzealous in his manufacturing of lies out of jealousy, which sadly, the State of Maryland believed. Jay in a recent interview with ‘The Intercept” even said he wasn’t cooperating with police when he was 17, and has changed his story numerous times so how does one believe him to begin with? (Vargas-Cooper)

The biggest evidence that has not been recovered is DNA proof that Adnan killed Hae. While DNA could have been recovered from bedrooms, cars and clothing, the pair were dating and in my opinion, that is to be expected. However, evidence of skin particles or blood from Adnan weren’t found. If Adnan dug a hole, there also would have been DNA at Leakin Park where Hae was found (Koenig). Not even footprints for that matter were found to be Adnan’s at the scene of the crime. If there was zero evidence of Adnan having anything to do with the murder, then how can they confirm that he did such a crime?

Through being targeted for being different, showing normal signs of emotional stress after hearing of Hae’s disappearance, and NO DNA found, why would anyone convict Adnan? In my opinion as a student who has investigated this event, Adnan Syed is innocent until proven guilty, and has been framed by a jealous ex-friend, Jay. To conclude, there is no further evidence against him and alibis have proven to have failed repeatedly along with the State of Maryland for encouraging this case to become a”hot mess. Adnan is truly innocent, until proven guilty. 

As of June 2017, Adnan Syed has sought out another chance at a trial. 

Works Cited

“The Serial Killers Who Seemed the Most Normal.” Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017. <;.

Koenig, Sarah.“Episode 1”. Serial. N.p., 2014. Web. 19. Jul. 2017.

Koenig, Sarah.“Episode 12”. Serial. N.p., 2015. Web. 28. Jul. 2017.

Vargas-Cooper, Natasha. “Exclusive: Jay, Key Witness from ‘Serial’ Tells His Story for First Time, Part 1.” The Intercept. N.p., 29 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017. <;.

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