If you’re caught up on all of the Undisclosed episodes, you should be used to your mind getting blown repeatedly. I listened to episode 5 about five times myself, and heck, I’m actually in it.
Today’s Addendum will open with something amazing too -something you’ve never heard before. Another catch by Susan Simpson.
Now, going back to our previous episodes, some folks are having a hard time swallowing the dozens and dozens of inconsistencies and their implications, and their reaction is “oh come on, was nothing the State did right?”
Essentially, yes. It’s really not that hard to believe if you think about it this way: if Adnan is innocent, then naturally everything the State did was wrong, inaccurate, or contrived. Because that’s what it takes to convict an innocent person. Cops get it/do it wrong, prosecutors get it/do it wrong, defense attorneys get it/do it wrong, judges get it wrong, and juries get it wrong. It takes that many layers of screwing up to investigate, arrest, try, and convict an innocent person. And it happens all the time.
Worry not though, we aren’t done yet. Plenty more to come in the events of the State vs. Adnan Syed, lots more f’ing up by all the key players left to do.
For now, lets look closer at a few things.
TAKING A LEAK IN LEAKIN PARK
Hae’s body was found in Leakin Park on Feb 9, 1999 by Mr. S. in a manner unusual enough to warrant a polygraph test on February 18th. He failed it. The police then administered a new one on the 24th, and he passed with flying colors.
The tests were remarkably different, and asked different questions. The first one probed at whether Mr. S. had information about death of Hae whereas the second one pretty much repeated the same question over and over: did Mr. S. know how Hae was killed? Apparently not.
What to make of this? The polygraph expert Colin interviewed thought this was the police’s way to eliminate him as the murder suspect – after all that was the most important thing right? Well I always thought there was another reason they structured the test this way – they wanted to eliminate him from the investigation, regardless of whether or not he had heard something that led him to the burial site, because it would take the focus off of Adnan. And that would mess up their theory of the case.
To this day I am convinced that Mr. S went there because he heard something. I do not buy that he was back there to take a leak and stumbled across her. Not when 1) there is no natural path back there and you can’t walk directly back there from the road, its off to the left and 2) it was nearly impossible to actually see her body according to the officials that arrived on the scene, which we heard in Serial.
A couple of friends were in town for Adnan’s originally scheduled hearing, which was on June 9th but then cancelled and the case remanded down. But my friends already had their travel booked so it was great that they decided to come anyway. I took them to meet Adnan’s mom and Yusuf and we went to the case sites – the school, library, Best Buy, Leakin Park, the Park n Ride.
After seeing the places in person they understood some of what I’ve been saying. For example, the lot at Best Buy, an impossible place to move a body in daylight from the front to the trunk. Even the furthest corner of the back lot is not only visible from the front lot, it is even plainly visible from Security Blvd, an incredibly busy road that comes right off of the highway.
Then there’s Leakin Park, which we trekked through, now that it’s summer and very overgrown. The first time I went, with Susan and my brother and Yusuf, we went to the wrong log. In fact everyone who was visiting the place (we saw at least 5 or 6 cars of people come and go in the short time we were there) was going to the wrong log. Because the wrong log is a straight shot back from the road and makes more sense if you think someone just walked back to take a leak.
Sarah and Serial also got the wrong log. The reason I know that is that she visited the site with Baltimore Sun reporter Justin George, who in this recent video went back to examine the site. And again, he’s at the wrong log, which he says is pretty visible from the road.
But the correct log isn’t. You have to walk back from the road then veer to the left, no path going there, and its not visible from the road at all. Here’s a short video I made of us, and on the way we make a potentially weird discovery.
And this statement from Jay’s second police interview makes it clear that he had little idea where the body was, unless he was totally high or otherwise disoriented. The correct log was around 150 feet into the woods and off to the side, not straight back from the road.
Then there is the inclusion of snow in his narrative, which is just wrong. There was no snow on the ground the day Hae disappeared. It was 50 degrees, warm enough for track practice to be held outdoors and for her to wear heels and short skirt. It had snowed earlier in the month but that snow was long gone by January 13. It didn’t start snowing/icing until the wee hours of the night, in other words the early morning hours of January 14, 1999.
SHOVEL OR SHOVELS?
If we are nearing a conclusion that there were many details about crime scene (burial and car) that the cops fed to Jay or he knew them from public information and he coordinated with Jenn (because remember, from episode 3 we went over that the cops were already talking to Jay BEFORE Jenn’s first interview, who still managed to come up with a pretty different story anyway), then the weirdness around the burial implements makes sense.
Jay’s story about the burial and what they used to dig changed a number of times.
But you know what, its very likely there was no digging involved at all. It looks much more like the site where Hae was found was a natural depression under the log, and not one that had been dug out.
And here is what Detective MacGillavary had to say at trial.
If you notice, the detective describes the natural depression and how you have to climb over the log to get to the other side because the creek is on one end, and this is the only log/fallen tree that is at the same angle as the one in the surveyors map and in which the creek hits one end like that. So not only is this definitely the correct tree, it is laying on a rock which is creating a depression.
In other words, she wasn’t buried. She was probably dumped and covered up. She was found with dirt, leaves and rocks on top of her. Though Jay never mentioned the rocks. Probably because the police forgot to tell him to.
The fact that she was probably not buried, and there were no shovel or shovels or picks, is significant for two reasons: 1) more indication that Jay didn’t know all the facts and 2) the profile of someone who would bury her versus dump her would be different. More on profiles later.
In case it wasn’t clear, the difference between Jay’s first and second “official” interviews on 2/27/99 and 3/15/99. The differences are fascinating but entirely explainable. At the first interview, the cops probably had already found the car and did an external inspection of it, so they knew things anyone would know from looking inside the windows. Like Hae’s shoes being in the backseat.
Now I’ve said it before and will say it again: I don’t think Jay led the cops to Hae’s car. I think they already knew where it was. This news report seems to confirm that as well.
But even though the cops knew where the car probably already was and had done an external inspection, at that point they hadn’t opened it up. They did that after Jay pretended to lead them to the car in the early morning hours of 2/28/99. Then Jay’s story changed to match, in the 3/15/99 interview, what they found in the car, ie the purse and jacket. Convenient.
Its worth noting that not only was the car nice and clean looking from the outside, and the grass under and in the wheel well was green, it was also parked in a place that makes it seem really really unlikely that it could have been there for SIX WEEKS and no one noticed it. Take a look.
We took these pictures about a week ago, and the lot actually has homes on all four sides of it. The entire neighborhood is set up similarly, with car lots surrounded on all four sides by rows of homes. Now look at the picture of Hae’s car the police took:
The car next to Hae’s has a club on the steering wheel – common in high crime or urban areas. But Hae’s car was untouched, unstripped, no theft of anything, and apparently in a neighborhood where everyone would most probably know who owned what car, and who was coming and going, it was left unquestioned for six weeks. The car was literally left in the backyard of four rows of homes.
I’m not buying it. I don’t think the car was there for six weeks. I think it was somewhere in an enclosed area, like a garage, and then moved here within a few days Jay “leading” the cops to it.
AUTOPSIES DON’T LIE
And the autopsy tells us that after being killed Hae was left face down, flat, for at least 8-10 hours before being buried because lividity is fixed and fully anterior – she wasn’t turned any which way in those hours because then the lividity would be mixed, ie the blood would have drifted to other parts of the body.
But it may be a mistake to assume the body was left in Leakin Park that same night. Although lividity was fixed, rigor mortis would have made her body completely stiff at that time. If she was in rigor and her body was straightened out, then how was she found in the burial site on her side? Only two explanations: 1) if someone dumped her late that night, they would literally have to “break” her rigor to get her into that position or 2) she wasn’t left there until after rigor had passed, which can take over 18 hours. Number two is seems much more likely and also would make it easier to transport her to the park.
Then there is this, and apologies for the morbidity of this, but it has to be thought out. If Hae was hit and knocked out cold, then strangled and left face down, we have to figure out how this happened.
Was she hit from behind, landed on her face and was strangled from the back? In that case it seems less likely that hands were used, and more likely that a rope was used. The medical examiner actually testified that strangulation by rope in this case could not be ruled out.
Or was she hit, knocked out, strangled while the perpetrator faced her, and then turned over and left for 8-10 hours (or longer I believe)?
I’m not a criminal profiler but I do think that an examination of these scenarios, the fact that she was probably dumped and not buried, that her car was kept hidden somewhere, all have to be taken into account when trying to figure out who killed Hae.
Jim Clemente, renowned FBI profiler, recently began poring through the documents in the case and will develop a profile at some point. I’m as anxious as anyone to read it.
THREE’S A CROWD
So whats the deal between Anne Benaroya, Urick, and Jay? I’m fairly certain they coordinated with the Intercept interviews, as they did 16 years ago, and also collaborated on what Jay was going to say. Again, as a lawyer I would never let a client talk to media unless I knew exactly what he or she would say. No way Benaroya didn’t know, and by extension Urick.
We can’t prove that they’re coordinating, but if there’s a new trial it could be proven. No reason their phone and emails couldn’t be subpoenaed to find out if Urick is trying to influence Jay to this day.
Which leads me to this: the fact is, as culpable as Jay is in putting an innocent person in prison, he’s never actually had independent counsel. His attorney has always been at the behest of Urick, he’s essentially done what the State of MD/Urick told him to. It may be time for him to seek a new attorney, one that is not connected to the State of Maryland and prosecutor, one who will truly advise him in his best interest independent of the State’s interest. One that may advise him that it’s time to come clean, this time for real.