Guilty…Or is he?

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Hae and Adnan at a formal dance that took place at their high school. 

Could you imagine being accused of murdering your high school girlfriend? Or better yet, could you imagine being in jail for 30 years over one man saying you committed the crime? At the age of 17, Adnan Syed was charged for being guilty of murdering his ex girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. His friend Jay Wilds stated in his testimony that he saw Hae’s body and Adnan forced him to help bury her. However another classmate, Asia McClain, stated that she saw him in the library at the time of the murder, so he couldn’t have done it. Now is it just me or does that not add up. Which one of them is lying and why would they lie about something as serious as murder?

 

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Jay Wilds, the man who turned his “friend” Adnan into the police.

In Sarah Koenig’s podcast, Serial, she is on a mission to put an end to Adnan’s case. She is in complete and utter disbelief that a man could be sentenced to 30 years in jail upon the accusal of first degree murder, all because of one man’s word. At the very end of the podcast Koenig comes to the conclusion that Adnan is guilty, but not because she has proved him guilty, but because there is a lack of evidence to prove him innocent. After listening to the first and last episode of Serial I truly do believe that Adnan is innocent.

When Sarah Koenig first went to take to Adnan she said his tone did not come off as scared, or as if he was hiding something. He was very calm and serious. He did not present himself to indicate that he is guilty. When Koenig told Adnan that Jay had turned him in, he said “That did not happen.” Koenig made a point of saying that Adnan could have said “it did not happen like that” or “that part didn’t happen”, but instead he clearly stated “It did not happen.” The fact that Adnan did not hesitate with his words and clearly spoke, made me think that he was innocent. He could be a good liar, or have thought out what he was going to say, but part of me believed he didn’t do it. That a high school football star and a guy that all his classmates love, was not capable of killing his ex high school sweetheart.

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Asia McClain, the young girl who reported seeing Adnan at the library at the time of the murder.

Asia McClain also reported that she had a long conversation with Adnan in the library that day. Within the conversation Adnan had explained why he and Hae had broken up, but all he wanted was the best for her and for her to be happy. They ended things on a good note and both agreed to continue their friendship. Asia stated that Adnan did not convey as restless, nor did he seem as though he could hurt someone, let alone someone who he had once loved. So for him to have committed first degree murder on that very same day did not feel true.

The people who know Adnan the best believe that he is innocent. Rabia Chaudry is one of Adnan’s best friend’s sister. She describes her opinion on Adnan’s conviction, “From the day he was taken from his bed in the pre-dawn hours of 26 February 1999 until today, he has maintained his innocence and I, and my family, have believed him” (The Guardian). The people who are closest to Adnan believe he is innocent, the people who know what he is capable of. These people know Adnan’s flaws and accept them for what they are, and even taking into consideration some of the worst things he has ever done they still believe he is innocent.

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Fingers crossed is a international symbol of not telling the truth, exactly what Jay did in his testimony. 

Throughout the podcast Koenig discuss that Adnan was not assigned a very strong attorney and he did not pick up on some very important details. According the Chaudry, Jay changed his original story that he testified with later on in the trial. He originally stated that they buried Hae at midnight, but later on in the trial he changed his story to say they buried Hae at around 7pm. The fact that Jay was unable to stick to the same story and change something as crucial as the time Hae was buried indicates that he is not a reliable source. Also, Adnan was claimed guilty of murdering Hae because of Jay’s testimony, but if Jay lied how accountable is his statement. Once again, this goes to show that Adnan is innocent because the only piece of evidence that put him in jail might not be a true statement.

In episode 12 of Serial, Sarah Koenig went through the trouble to get the DNA tested on Hae’s body and clothing. The DNA tests proved Adnan’s innocence as the only traces of his DNA were under the handle of Hae’s car, which did not justify anything because being in a relationship with Hae prior to her murder Adnan had been in Hae’s car plenty of times.

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Ronald Lee Moore, a possible suspect for Hae Min Lee’s murder.

Lastly, in the final episode of Serial Koenig spoke about a man by the name of Ronald Lee Moore. A man that has committed many felonies that include, burglary, rape and being a cocaine addict (Heavy). This man was accidentally released from jail on January 1, 1999 and thirteen days later Hae was murdered. Ronald fled to Louisiana where he later killed himself, therefore it was not around to be questioned as a suspect. Now the question is, who is more legible to be a murderer, a 17 year old boy who only wanted what was best for this young girl, or a  middle aged man who has been in trouble with the law before for serious offenses and was accidentally released from prison just days before Hae’s murder?

Henceforth, I believe that Adnan Syed is innocent and did not murder his ex girlfriend Hae Min Lee  because of the lack of evidence that supports that he is guilty, unreliable sources like Jay Wilds, and more credible suspects such as Ronald Lee Moore.

 

Works Cited

Chaudry, Rabia. “Adnan Syed Is Innocent. Now Find Hae Min Lee’s Real Killer | Rabia Chaudry.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 06 July 2016. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Click Here to Support Guilty Until Proven Innocent Organized by Adam Edward Weiker.” Gofundme.com. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Crossed Fingers.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 July 2017. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Guilt Posters and Art Prints.” Barewalls. Web. 28 July 2017.

Homefacts.com. “Ronald Lee Moore.” Ronald Lee Moore – Sex Offender in Middletown, OH 45042 – OH1540706. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Is Jay Wilds the Real Star of Serial?” The Speaker. 04 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Log In.” WordPress.com. Web. 28 July 2017.

Prince, S.J. “Ronald Lee Moore: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know.” Heavy.com. 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

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Guilty or Innocent?

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Hae Min Lee, Adnan Syed’s former girlfriend, and the place her body was found.

Today’s justice system does a phenomenal job at keeping our society safe. Our justice system works to ensure that criminals all over our country are locked away so that they do not continue to hurt people. High risk offenders can be sentenced up to life in prison, where as low risk offenders can be in jail for as little as forty eight hours. Sarah Koenig is a journalist that looked further into depth in Adnan Syed’s case, as he has spent thirty years in prison after being convicted of murdering his high school ex girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Syed had never shown any hate towards anyone, he was on the football team, got along

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Adnan Syed’s 16 year old football photograph.

with everyone in his family, and was reported saying he didn’t want anything other than for Hae to be happy by one of his former classmates, Asia McClain. McClain had reported seeing Syed at the library when the murder was said to have taken place, meanwhile his “friend” Jay Wilds turned him in and was the reason he was marked guilty for murder.

I personally loved Koenig’s podcast, I found it extremely interesting, it kept me hooked. Although I am usually one to read books I think that audiobooks and podcasts are something that I should get into because I seriously enjoyed listening the Koenig’s. Hearing the expression and the personality within the voice of Koenig and the people she interviewed allowed me to connect to her on a personal level and see where she is coming from. The podcast kept my mind wondering all of these questions. I wanted to know if McClain was Syed’s only chance at being claimed innocent, and if Wilds was telling truth. Koenig kept me wanting to know  more, on the edge waiting to find out if Syed had really killed his ex girlfriend or not.

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Sarah Koenig, the author of the podcast, discussing her views on Adnan’s case and why she had taken so much interest in it.

The idea of presenting journalism in the form of a podcast allowed Koenig to use real interviews she had with the people she interrogated as she tried to prove Syed innocent. The audio clips allowed listeners, like me and you, to hear and interpret the tone of these people’s voices; whether they sounded like they were hiding anything, like in

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Asia McClain, Adnan Syed’s alibi for the time of the murder.

Wilds testimony, or if they were stern and serious, like when Syed spoke to Koenig for the first time. I was able to draw my own conclusions on whether I thought Syed was guilty or innocent from the same evidence that Koenig gathered.

After listening to the first episode, I agree with Koenig in thinking that Syed is innocent. He never showed any intention to harm, nor did he ever have any aggression or motive towards his ex girlfriend. Syed had an alibi that said he was in the library at the time of the murder, this alibi was not a friend or a family member either, she was a girl he had barely spoken to before that went out of her way and risked everything to state that he was innocent. There are many signs that point towards Syed being innocent and only one that directs the justice system to believing he is guilty.

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Adnan Syed with one of his family members.

However, like me and you, a lot of other people have listened to this podcast. Just imagine how the family must feel. Whether they like that the public views him as innocent, or whether they are embarrassed that their loved one is in jail for taking someone else’s life. This can be viewed in two different ways. They can be thankful that this lady is trying to draw attention to the subject and give Syed the chance to prove he is innocent, or they can be fed up with all the attention he has had and just want to move on with their lives. Losing a loved one in anyway is hard to get over, and just like Hae’s family misses her everyday it will be exactly the same with Syed’s family if they know he is innocent and proves he is as well.  He would have lost thirty years of his life to a crime he did not commit.

It would be interesting to see what Syed’s family thinks of the matter, whether they believe his is innocent or guilty. It would be hard to gather information from family members because the look for the best in their loved ones. It would be difficult to interpret whether they really think he is innocent or whether they want to believe he is innocent, which can be two completely different things. Also taking into consideration whether they would remember what happened on the day Hae was murdered.

Many people that Koenig approached did not remember what happened that day, unless

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A person having difficulty remembering something, much like many of the students could not remember what they did at the time of the murder.

something significant occurred. McClain remembered seeing Syed at the library which stuck out to her because he was also convicted of murder that day, and Wilds remembered that day because he claims he was with him before and after the murdered happened and helped put the body into the car. By making this point, Koenig was making a point that it is hard to remember things that happen on a day that isn’t important, so if you didn’t commit a murder, are you going to remember a random Wednesday in the middle of January?

Koenig did an amazing job at leaving me wanting more. I want to know if Syed is guilty or innocent, and I definitely want to listen to the rest of her work.

 

Works Cited

“Asia McClain Chapman -.” Asia McClain Chapman. 24 Aug. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

Chaudry, Rabia. “Serial Catch-up: What Happened next in the Case of Adnan Syed?” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Sept. 2015. Web. 21 July 2017.

George, Justin. “‘Serial’ Brings Healing to Syed Family.” Baltimoresun.com. 20 June 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Having Trouble Remembering Things…time to Take Admenta.” HealthKartRxcom Blog An Ultimate Health Guide. Web. 21 July 2017.

Herbst, Diane. “Hae Min Lee: Family of Serial Murder Victim Speaks Out.” PEOPLE.com. Time Inc, 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 July 2017.

“Serial: This American Life Podcast’s Sarah Koenig Talks the Crime.” Time. Time. Web. 21 July 2017.