Serial: Is Adnan Syed Innocent?


Like everyone else, I am now thoroughly interested in the podcast Serial and need to know more! I would not say I am addicted but, I definitely plan on watching it all after listening to a couple of episodes for English class. It was so interesting and the narrator, Sarah Koenig, keeps it real. She only reveals as much as she needs to in order to keep listeners coming back and it was produced in real time, which is so intriguing!

Throughout listening to Serial, my opinion has changed as I have found out more about the case. Originally my opinion was that Adnan Syed was guilty, since he did not have an alibi and Jay’s statement was pretty convincing that Adnan had murdered Hae, but now I think Adnan Syed is innocent. My opinion change based on new evidence being found or old evidence being found now useless. But also, unfortunately, my opinion may have changed a little due to bias.

First was the police interview with Jay. Jay, Adnan’s ‘friend’, told police he was with Adnan the day that Hae went missing and was murdered. From what I heard on the podcast, Jay said Adnan killed Hae and then Adnan got Jay to help dig a whole to bury Hae’s body at Leakin Park. This, along with a bunch of messy details about Adnan giving Jay his car and cell phone for the day, made Adnan seem very guilty. But like I said, it was messy. Jay was known to slightly change his story during the trial and investigation. Right from the beginning I felt, like many people, that someone was lying, but who was it?

Then, I completely changed my mind, possibly a little bias, when Adnan was described by his family and friends. Just like Sarah Koenig, I thought how could a seventeen year old scrawny boy kill his ex-girlfriend? I did not imagine that he could. His friends and family described him as polite, a devoted Muslim, good student, track star and athlete, friendly, and many more positive thoughts.

What more realistically changed my mind was Adnan’s new potential witness alibi, Asia McClain. Asia wrote letters to Adnan explaining how she was with him in the library the afternoon that Hae went missing. Asia could account that for the 21 minutes Adnan could not recall, she said Adnan was talking with her.

Here is the first letter Asia wrote to Adnan.

Here is the second letter Asia wrote to Adnan.

Pretty convincing eh? Adnan suddenly had a witness alibi, but was it too good to be true? From my perspective of listening to the first and last episode of Serial season one for this project, I think it is still undecided if Adnan was actually with Asia McClain that day or if she is just possibly covering for him. There was much debate about why she didn’t come forward sooner, that she was pressured into writing the letters and more.

More specifically, I think why I really believe Adnan is innocent is the hard core evidence, or lack of. There are many things known that point to Adnan’s innocence. Rabia  Choudry states that, “We know that every piece of forensic evidence collected pointed to Adnan’s innocence. From the hairs found Lee’s body, which did not match Adnan, to the dozens of soil samples taken from his clothing, shoes, car, and room, which returned negative results for matching soil from Leakin Park.” (The Guardian). It is also known that, “the crime scene pictures and autopsy reports, Lee’s body showed fixed frontal lividity, the phenomenon in which, after death, all the blood pools to the part of the body closest to the ground. Such lividity could only be present if, after being killed, Lee was left in a face down position, stretched out, for between eight and 10 hours. When Lee’s body was found in Leakin Park, Baltimore, it was twisted and resting mostly on her right side. This means after her body was moved to the burial site after lividity had become permanent. Hae was not dumped in Leakin Park around 7pm. Her body was kept somewhere where it could lay flat for around 10 hours before it was moved to the park. The killer had to both have the opportunity and means to intercept Hae by 3.30pm and to kill her, leave her body in a flat position somewhere private for eight to 10 hours, then move her later to Leakin Park. Adnan could not have done these things.” (The Guardian). This is more of the evidence I found from researching the case that helps me to form the conclusion that I think Adnan Syed is innocent.

Another interesting idea that is speculated on in the final episode of season one of Serial is that there may be a possibly connection between Hae’s murder and another criminal, Ronald Lee Moore, that was on the loose and was known for robbery and murder. This is a possible suspect that needs to be investigated. Who knows? Maybe this criminal’s DNA will match the DNA found on Hae’s body. My point is, this is starting to look good for Adnan and his innocence.

Did he do it? Law students have suggested Ronald Lee Moore could have killed Hae Min Lee in 1999

Pictured is potential suspect, Ronald Lee Moore. To learn more about the theory on Moore check this out. 
Here, celebrities share their opinions on the podcast and if they think Adnan is guilty or innocent.

Many people, including the celebrities of this above video believe that Adnan is innocent, mostly because there is not enough evidence to prove he is guilty. Overall, I agree that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that he is guilty. Adnan’s DNA was reported to have no connection to the crime scene or Hae’s body. I have formed the conclusion that I believe Adnan Syed is innocent, mainly based on the factual evidence of no DNA and such mentioned earlier, but also because from the podcast I have a gut feeling he is not guilty. Yes, this may be bias, I realize, but that it my opinion and how I formed it.

What are your opinions on Adnan Syed’s innocence or guilt? How did you come to these conclusions?


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.

Reporter, MailOnline. “Pictured: Potential suspect behind ‘Serial’ podcast murder is named by Innocence Project 15 years after victim’s ex-boyfriend was locked up for her death.” Daily Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 24 Dec. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

Rupp, Shannon. “‘Serial’ Podcast: True Crime Storytelling at Its Finest.” The Tyee. The Tyee, 18 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 July 2017.

“Season One.” Serial. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.



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