Adnan Syed: Innocent Until Proven Guilty


The Case

The podcast Serial, narrated by Sarah Koenig, examines the 1995 murder of Hae Min Lee and the prosecution of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for the crime. After listening to the podcast and doing other research on the case, I’m positive that Syed is innocent for a variety of reasons. I’ll share four of these reasons with you below, in no particular order of importance.

Reason One: Jay Wild’s Inconsistent Testimony

By listening to Serial, I learned that Jay, a former classmate and acquaintance of Syed, claims: Syed told Jay he was going to kill Hae; Jay picked up Syed after the murder, and that Jay helped Syed bury Hae’s body. Jay was a star witness for the prosecution at Syed’s trial. However, Jay’s testimony throughout his police interviews and Syed’s two trials was inconsistent. Jay’s inability to keep his story straight shows that Syed is innocent.

Reason Two: Failure to Produce Asia McLean asia-mclean

According to Serial, Syed’s defense lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to contact Asia McLean, a former classmate of Syed’s who says that he was in the school library with her on the afternoon of Hae’s murder. Follow this link to the Serial website to read Asia’s sworn statements that provide an alibi for Syed. This proves Syed’s innocence. If Syed was with Asia, he wasn’t off with Jay and plotting to kill Hae.

Reason Three: Syed’s Bad Memory

Koenig, during Serial, looks at how memory works and the role that it plays in Syed’s case. Much attention has been paid to the fact that Syed cannot clearly recall what he was up to the day that Hae was killed. Although some people find this a convenient lack of memory on Syed’s part, I consider it a sign of an innocent man. For Syed, the day was a normal, unremarkable day. He didn’t know he’d need to remember what he did that day, as he didn’t know Hae was going to be murdered. To me, this further supports the fact that Syed isn’t guilty of killing Hae.

Reason Four: The Cellphone Evidence

The podcast Undisclosed, which is put together by a legal team made up of Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson, and Colin Miller, does a convincing job dissecting the cellphone evidence used to convict Syed. What I found most damning is that a fax cover sheet sent by AT&T with the cell phone records clearly stated that incoming calls could not be used to determine location. The Undisclosed team does a great job explaining how Jay’s testimony about being with Syed in Leakin Park was backed up by incoming cellphone calls, and how if incoming calls can’t be used to determined location, Jay’s evidence is further called into question.


The fours reasons discussed above are the main reasons why I believe that Adnan Syed is innocent. To learn more about his case and so you can make up your own mind, here are some useful resources:

Season one of Serial

Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

Season one of Undisclosed

“Split the Moon” by Rabia Chaudry

Investigation Discovery’s Adnan Syed: Innocent or Guilty



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