Adnan Syed was a high school student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of seventeen he was arrested and tried as an adult for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, an eighteen-year-old student also at Woodlawn High School. Hae Min Lee disappeared without a trace on January 13th, 1999, twenty-seven days after her body was found at Leakin Park buried in a shallow grave. Her cause of death was determined as manual strangulation. Adnan claims innocent, yet he was never fully proven guilty. There were many mistakes made not only by the detectives but by Adnan’s lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, as well. Among these mistakes is the mishandling of evidence, not taking account of multiple witness testimonies, and most importantly basing a whole case on a sole witness, one which is not even a trustworthy criminal one who in the eyes of the law is also seen as a criminal of sorts, but a criminal nonetheless.
The reason for Adnan’s trial to be considered a mistrial is the fact that it was solely based on the testimony of Jay Wilds. Jay was a friend of Adnan’s he sold Adnan drugs every now and then. When Adnan was arrested, he was arrested due to the testimony provided by Jay, who according to Sarah Koneig claimed that Adnan called him and told him “he needed help burying Hae’s body”(Koenig 2015). This part of Jay’s story never changed, but many other little details did. His testimony alone was not enough to send a man to prison for life. There had to be more at least there should have been, but that is just the thing, there was not. Looking back at Jay’s testimony anyone can conclude that the officer’s kind of paved the way for Jay’s testimony too is kind of like as if they were suggesting things for Jay to say, which is a critical interrogation technique, but something that seems dirty and not right at all. Additionally, in Jay’s first testimony he also claimed that he picked up Adnan at Best Buy and that is where he first saw Hae’s body but then later during another interview claims he did not see her body until way after he picked up Adnan at Best Buy. Jay’s testimony put’s Hae’s time of death at around 2:15 to 2:35 p.m., yet other witnesses put Adnan at the school during this time, disproving Jay’s testimony. During his first interview with the detective Jay says he helped dig the hole, then he says he refused to dig the hole, once again changing up and disproving his testimonies. What is being showed here is that the state could not have based Adnan’s whole case on the testimony of Jay Wilds, it is sloppy inconsistent and like mentioned before coming from a petty drug dealer. If the state had more evidence or even concrete evidence the argument would be a whole lot different, and the scale would not be tipping towards Adnan, but they do not, and a man’s freedom hangs in the balance.
Another thing is the person who found Hae’s body, they refer to him as “Mr. S”, he said he was going into the woods to relieve himself; the thing about this though is that Mr. S had a record, he was a streakier, the reason as to why this is mentioned is that it brings up the question: Why would a streakier go so far into the woods, about 127 ft., to relieve himself? In the podcast it is mentioned that the Leakin Park is known for the discoveries of bodies in that area, but that Hae’s body blended in with its surroundings that the body would have never been found unless someone was looking for it. These two facts brought up a lot of suspicion towards Mr. S a streaker who wants to hide and found a body that blended in with its surroundings so well that it would not have been found unless one was looking for, it just all point to guilty for Mr. S.
As this story develops it is brought back to Jay the sole witness to this case the man responsible for the wrongful incarceration of Adnan Syed. The inconsistencies of his testimony, this time around disproved by Jen a friend of Adnan, Jen says that she was told by Jay he did not know where the body was buried, when in his first interview he said he helped dig the hole in which Hae was buried. Jay’s testimony is also undermined by Asia McClain who was a friend of Adnan as well and claimed she was talking to Adnan during the time of which the murder took place. Asia wrote a letter to Adnan explaining to him how she could help prove his innocence. The thing about this is that Asia was never called on to testify in the trial of Adnan Syed V. Baltimore. This was a mistake of Cristina Gutierrez Adnan’s lawyer who was hired by his family. Cristina was disbarred because she was physically unable to practice law. Following her disbarment, it was found that she was given large sums of money for work that she never carried through. Thanks to the mistakes of Cristina Gutierrez Adnan’s new lawyer Justin Brown appealed to Adnan’s case based on mistakes made Cristina Gutierrez.
Of course, all the blame as to Adnan’s wrongful conviction cannot go to Cristina alone this was more of a group effort at the site of Hae’s burial was also found a bottle, which was never tested for possible DNA this is now a mistake of the detectives yet again. Possible DNA evidence could have led to another suspect which while on the matter it was said that during the time of Hae’s death Ronald Lee Moore a criminal who was responsible for the death of a Korean woman eleven months after Hae’s death could have been involved, whilst a long shot, it was very foolish of the detectives not to follow up on this lead. The detectives did not test hair found on Hae’s body and DNA found under Hae’s finger nails. Something like this may have proven Adnan guilty or innocent, since there was no test there is no way to know for sure and it just goes back to the wrongful conviction of Adnan.
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