Guilty or Innocent?

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

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 ┬ámore, on the edge waiting to find out if Syed had really killed his ex girlfriend or not.

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

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.

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. ┬áHe 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.” 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.” 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.