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Did Adnan Syed Kill Hae Min Lee? 'Serial' Ep. 5 Discussion: It Doesn't Fit the Timeline

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | October 24, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | October 24, 2014 |

I wanted to wait until Monday to discuss the latest installment of Serial, but I think those of us who have already listened to it simply can’t wait any longer. Please, jump in over the weekend once you’ve listened to the 5th episode, “Route Talk” and join the conversation.

A funny thing about this episode — and tell me if you agree or disagree — is that despite all of the moments that “didn’t fit the timeline,” I actually came away from this week’s installment with the feeling for the first time that Adnan might have actually committed the crime.

Granted, Adnan’s lawyer did a lousy job of defending her client, and — again — a better lawyer would’ve had plenty of evidence to establish reasonable doubt. However, I also like the prosecution’s argument that — even given all the inconsistencies in Jay’s testimony, and even given the problems with lining up the cell phone calls with Jay’s account of the day — there’s something to be said for pulling back and looking at the big picture.

After all, the “spine” of Jay’s story remained consistent. Moreover, the route from Woodlawn High School to the Best Buy, where Adnan supposedly murdered Hai Min Lee, is possible (or at least, “not impossible”). Yes, there’s some question about the exact timing; yes, there’s some question about the phone booth actually existing; and yes, there’s a lot of questions about the pinging of cell phone towers. However, one thing seems certain to me: Either Jay or Adnan committed the crime.

Previously: Is Adnan Syed Guilty of Hae Min Lee’s Murder? Let’s Talk About the Evidence in Adan’s Favor

Adnan does have the better motive, weak though it is. And his alibi feels shakier now, for some reason.

One thing stood out for me, in particular, in this week’s episode, and it was the brief conversation Sarah Koenig had with Will, one of the guy’s who received a phone call from Adnan’s cell phone that day. He had no recollection of the call; he was never asked to testify in the case; and he was never even questioned about the call.

However, he did say this: That it wasn’t unusual for Jay to drop off or pick up Adnan from track practice. That, plus the fact that the cell phone records do — without a doubt — put Adnan and Jay together at some point that night — suggest to me, at the very least, that Jay was more than the “casual” friend that Adnan claims he was. I had a lot of casual friends in high school, but I’d only loan my car out, or get rides with, my closest friends, and it appears to me that this was a regular arrangement between Adnan and Jay, and that — in addition to rides and pot-smoking sessions — they did spend quite a bit of time together.

Another thing that I can’t get over, however, is why Jay — at least, so far as we know — wasn’t charged with any sort of crime. According to his own testimony, he helped bury the body of Hae Min Lee. He also didn’t come forward immediately, and given some of the inconsistencies in his story — in particular, the location in which Adnan shared with Jay the very detailed story of Hai’s grisly murder — I can’t help but think there’s much more to this than we’re being led to believe.

In other words, it would be easy, I think, to at least convict Jay as a conspirator in the murder, and one wonders if the prosecution held back some testimony — or helped to coach Jay — to steer the jury away from suspecting Jay was more immediately involved.

Then again, if Jay was involved, wouldn’t Adnan have a completely different story than, “I just don’t remember”? Or would Adnan be implicating himself if he threw Jay under the bus? When Adnan called Jay “pathetic” during the course of the trial, did Adnan mean he was “pathetic” for lying, or did Adnan mean he was “pathetic” for ratting him out?

Lots more to ponder this week.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.