We are still so sure we know what other people think, or what their true character is. We are convinced that certain people have all the bad qualities that we do not know in ourselves, or that they practice all those vices which could, of course, never be our own…. If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all these projections, then you get someone who is conscious of a considerable shadow…. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against.
→ C. G. Jung, “Psychology and Religion” in Collected Works, vol. 11
Serial Podcast producer, Dana Chivvis, is no Mr. Spock. As Sarah Koenig refers to her in episode 12, What We Know. Or else, she would have figured out what the “logical” cell data is proof of and the statistical likelihood that Jay killed Hae. (And here.)
Anyone who thinks Adnan guilty must rely on Jay’s telling the truth. Because there is nothing else to implicate Adnan without Jay’s testimony. Not even the cellphone records during critical events lead to Adnan’s guilt without Jay’s elaborations. And to a lesser extent, Jenn’s. So that other than Jay’s testimony, Adnan’s guilt can be assumed based only on conjecture and judgments about Adnan’s character, emotional state, motive and what one thinks Adnan should have done (or be saying or how he should be saying it) in a situation to which they themselves have never been a party…including being in the prison system for 15 years.
While for middling Doubters and Acquitters, they allow Jay may be lying…but not totally, not when it counts. Because otherwise, Adnan’s complete exoneration would have to rest atop too many uncomfortable, for them, absences. Absence of physical-forensic evidence implicating someone else — because the police never test it against anyone else, specifically Jay. Absence of a counter story to Jay’s — because Adnan wasn’t there. Along with an absence of memory as to what Adnan was doing the day of Hae’s murder — because he was drugged. Absence of reason for how Adnan could have let Jay use his car and cellphone, again, after Jay drops him off home for Mosque — rohypnol. Remember Kathy’s? Adnan was fine approx. 22 minutes earlier when he called Krista (5:38) from McDonald’s, where he must have drank something liquid. And Jay was at his connection Patrick’s just over an hour earlier (4:12 Forest Park ping). If you think this is too crazy, click here. And the big one: an absence, in their minds, of Jay’s having a satisfying motive for killing Hae; nor of how he would have gained access to her after school on his own; or how he could have committed the crime without help — disregarding any other plausible explanation for the excess amount of calls to and from Jenn. Even though there is evidentiary proof that Jay did have a motive and did gain access to her…because Hae is dead, her body found. And it is Jay who — for a fact — has the car and cellphone to accomplish this, with calls to his friends pinging all the right towers at all the right times. (“Serial: A Comparison of Adnan’s Cell Phone Records…“) Besides what Jay actually admits to, which is a lot…but also seemingly minimized in the absence of his having a satisfying motive. Additionally, due to these absences, Adnan becomes for some a blank slate onto which they can freely project their own personal beliefs, in general, about guilt.
As to Adnan’s motive, there was not a single warning sign that he had anything but love and respect for Hae, as he says (but whose Word is treated in inverse proportion to the deference accorded Jay’s). How many killers organize a Memorial Service for their victim, planting a tree in her honor? Or stares at his victim’s photograph openly in psychology class? Or cuts out a look-alike picture of the victim to send a friend from jail, where he is awaiting trial for her murder? Though we have to allow this is possible, but for someone who’d have to be very sick. So it’s about as possible as Jay being only the accomplice. That is, for Jay to be only the accomplice…Adnan would have to be very sick. Not just temporarily seized with a jealous, murderous rage…but serial-killer sick in which trophies are collected and prized. (Even if you’re fond of the amnesia theory, Adnan’s actions here diametrically oppose his supposed motive for killing Hae. Why would he be memorializing “that bitch” whom he hated enough to pre-meditatedly murder?)
All this is to say that the “reasons” for Adnan’s possible guilt, given by the Doubters and Acquitters, are referred to by Chivvis, to paraphrase, as “Sucky Coincidences.” And would seem to add up to an unlikely cluster-fuck that makes Adnan look bad.
But Spock would not see the points she makes as coincidences at all, and would be able to follow them to the rational conclusion that Adnan is not guilty. And Jay is. Because there is one rational mind, blogger-lawyer Susan Simpson, who has arrived at just this conclusion — though maybe because she is a Spock-like lawyer, she does not state it outright. She just strongly infers it. Simpson’s written a handful of posts that lead directly away from Adnan and to Jay being the murderer.
Dana Chivvis’ Sucky Coincidences and bits of Susan Simpson’s cool, precise, Spock-like rebuttals are below.
Mr. Spock knows that all beliefs are lies, and therefore does not alloy them with facts. And there are no facts that lead to a logical conclusion of Adnan’s guilt. The cellphone is in Leakin Park — that is the fact. But another tangential fact, or piece of exculpatory evidence, is that those two calls, only seven minutes apart, are from Jenn calling to Jay, as she states to police. Which places only Jay in Leakin Park with any certainty. And importantly but all too easily dismissed, there is testimony attesting to the fact that Adnan was at the Mosque shortly after these Leakin Park calls are received (14 minutes after). And the cell data only affirms this testimony. Of course, Jenn at first says Adnan answered. Then perhaps realizing how implausible it is that she’d actually recognize a person’s voice whom she barely knows, if she knows at all except for seeing him around school, Jenn backs down and says “some man” answered. Both are lies orchestrated by Jay the night before her police interview.
Transcript from Jenn’s lawyered-up 2/27/1999 police interview for which Jay had obviously prepped her the night before:
And say for a fact Adnan asked Hae for a ride after school that day. Doesn’t anyone who thinks this implicates Adnan remember? What Krista said Adnan’s response was when Hae comes back later and says she cannot give him a ride after all because something came up? Adnan says to the effect, “Okay, I’ll ask someone else.” What?…so he can murder them instead? As if that’s the only reason to ask for a ride. The only reason asking for a ride has ominous import is because “Jay said….” Jay who spent hours and hours with police workshopping a narrative that could frame Adnan. The only two things this fact makes very evident is that Jay definitely has Adnan’s car. And that Adnan is stranded at school until Track begins. “Nothing” includes not killing Hae. Because she’s driving away toward the “something” that came up and her death…without Adnan in the passenger seat. (Lest Asia’s very clear eye-witness affidavit also be dismissed for interfering with one’s belief that Jay didn’t do it, because that is the real issue). So whether or not Adnan asked Hae for a ride after school that day is really a moot point. And in fact, serves to bring forward Krista and Asia, whose statements remove Adnan from the time-frame and off-premise location (Best Buy?) in which Hae was murdered. However as concerns Jay, who did have the time and mobility of Adnan’s car…much more on this below, because it does get interesting.
The extreme irony is that if Hae had given Adnan a ride that day…she’d still be alive.
Serial Podcast has made it easy to see just how Jesus himself came to be crucified: too nice, too charming, refuses to place blame, has no counter story or at all, maintains his innocence, stands up for the little (chubby, nerdy) guy, has peace-making qualities (such as ascribed to Adnan), etc., etc. Jesus must have been the “superficially charming” sociopath of his day. When Jesus says on the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” he means people don’t even realize that they are projecting their own shadow shit on to others and the outside world. The negative stuff they don’t want to take responsibility for. According to Jung: The shadow — in being instinctive and irrational — is prone to psychological projection in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognized as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else.
Meanwhile, there are several key facts that lead to concluding Jay is the murderer, like it or not. Chief among them is the fact that Jay knew where Hae’s car was ditched. Also seemingly, Jay knew where her body was buried per one police report/visit to site. And Jay performed the unlawful act of destroying evidence in a capital murder case — his clothing, boots, and fingerprints. Then there’s the classic: Jay obtained the shovel used to bury Hae from his own house…at around 4:27 p.m., when Adnan is still at Track. (Incoming 4:27 and 4:58 calls ping cell tower nearest Jenn and Jay’s house, not the same tower as Woodlawn/Best Buy/Mosque.)
If this really were a game of Clue — devoid of human emotions per Spock — no one whomsoever would have any trouble seeing that Jay killed Hae. Instead we have: “No, Prof. Plum couldn’t have killed Mr. Boddy in the Library with the (red) Gloves because he said Col. Mustard did it.” “Oh, okay. That makes sense. Col. Mustard must be a manipulative psychopath, or have temporary amnesia (for 15 years and counting).”
It is amazing how far Jay takes this charade of obliging accomplice and still manages to fool people, or to at least plant doubts about Adnan’s innocence. But really, they are fooling themselves. Perhaps as self-protection from the thought that a really nice, charming guy who is innocent can be convicted to life in prison based solely on the single testimony of an admitted liar who had much to gain from diverting police attention away from himself as the killer. And without a shred of physical-forensic evidence. This would mean the vaunted U.S. justice system does not always work the way people like to think. Indeed, may be corrupt in some places, like Baltimore. See this excellent explanation of how the BPD and the D.A. — particularly Det. Wm. Ritz — played fast and loose in those days, including funny business with Jay’s “sweet plea deal.” (The judge, Wanda K. Heard, really is a piece of work, and that’s the kindest way to put it — because she was supposed to be the one with no personal biases.) And look for Det. Wm. Ritz’ name here in fine print, citing only one example for which he was dismissed, or forced to resign, from the BPD. And so the same thing could happen to them if they were innocent. So rather than contemplate this frightening thought, it is more soothing to “defend” themselves by thinking Adnan guilty. That way, the same thing never could happen to them. And therefore, Adnan is getting what he deserves. Sometimes called psychological distancing.
West-End Hit Men
I would be willing to bet that if police did not so cravenly capitulate to Jay’s falsely accusing Adnan of Hae’s murder…. If detectives had called bullshit on Jay’s juggernaut of lies and inconsistencies…. Jay may have confessed very fast (although he’s got a very strong self-preservation ethos). He was already paranoid enough to think Adnan ordered a hit on him for killing his ex-girlfriend, using his own car and cellphone. So freaking scared that Jay calls police to come and pick him up at the porn video store where he was working rather than go outside to face an empty van in the parking lot across the street. And he’s already planting the seeds of his accomplice story in the minds of virtual strangers, like co-worker Josh. Who says how he found this weird. This shows how much Jay has to gain by painting himself as only the accomplice, early and often, or else he wouldn’t be telling people at all if this were his true role. (Serial Podcast episode 12, “What We Know,” transcript.)
Jay is the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” He hears the tick tick tick of Hae’s heart. Only in his case, it is the vision of Hae’s blue lips and pretzel form he stuffed into the trunk of her own car. Jay thinks everyone knows what he knows…that he killed Hae. At approximately 3:30 on the afternoon of January 13, 1999. That’s why he’s paranoid enough to think there are West-End Hit Men after him of Middle Eastern origin. This paranoia is also why Jay insists to police over and over that he was with Jenn until 3:40, despite cell data to the contrary. And also why he tells police Jenn picked him up at his house around 8:00 p.m., where Adnan dropped him off. When Jenn is clear she picked Jay up at a Mall at that time (adding the extra flourish that Adnan was with him). Whether that was actually Westview Mall, the 8:04 and 8:05 calls to Jenn’s Pager ping an Edmondson Avenue cell tower, very near to where Jay dumped Hae’s car on a side street.
The “rage” Jay says he is feeling when Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder drop in on him for a mere 20 minutes is consistent with his being reminded of and confronted with his act of murder. And the lies he told which put an innocent man in prison for life. Because Jay took two lives that day: Hae’s and subsequently Adnan’s. While Jennifer Pusateri can take credit for only one: Adnan’s.
But this was and is easy for Jay to do, without remorse, because he is the biggest Projectionist of all. Projecting what he did — strangle Hae, bury her body, dispose of her car — onto Adnan. (You don’t hear Adnan projecting onto Jay, quite the contrary.) Because Jay doesn’t see himself as the kind of guy who would kill someone. This belief is so powerful — and so split-off and compartmentalized — that Jay probably believes his own lies. And that power is then “respected” by anyone who thinks, even slightly, that Adnan is guilty. When Jay says in his recent interview for The Intercept that he just wants justice and closure for Hae’s mother…the “good” Jay probably believes it. But if anyone is a psychopath — suffers from a split personality — or has selective amnesia, it’s Prof. Plum.
Sucky Coincidences and Spock-Like Responses
Chivvis Assertion: “So, that’s pretty crappy luck that you loaned this guy, who ends up pointing the finger at you for the murder. That you loaned him your car and cell phone the day your ex-girlfriend goes missing.”
Spock-like Response: It is no coincidence that the ex-girlfriend goes missing when “this guy” is in possession of the car and cellphone. The car and cellphone are what make it possible for Jay to commit the murder. Because that day, he had the mobility to agree to meeting with Hae somewhere private. And the ability to call Jenn and Patrick for help getting rides in disposing of Hae’s car, twice. As for pointing the finger at Adnan, Jay had no alternative after the cellphone records made their advent. Adnan is the “logical” choice as it’s his cellphone that led to Jay in the first place. Though fingering Adnan was not the original plan. The 3:40 alibi Jay had worked out with Jenn was supposed to take care of Jay’s un-involvement. Which is why he insists on the 3:40 alibi time in all four of his police interviews.
Chivvis Assertion: “The next thing is that it seems pretty clear to me that Adnan asked Hae for a ride after school, because we’ve got at least two of their friends saying they overheard him ask for a ride from Hae.”
Spock-like Response: Invariably overlooked in this assertion is that one of those friends, Krista, testifies in court that Hae returns to Adnan later in the day to tell him that she cannot give him a ride after school because something came up. The logical thing to do is find out what that something is. Because Hae is dead within 45 minutes after leaving the premises. So there must be a connection. Also, it is far more statistically likely to ask someone for a ride after school to get something to eat before running Track than it is to implement her murder. When you’re stranded without a car and have an hour- and-a-half to idle away before Track begins. (Though there is no published statistical data on this phenomenon.)
As a post script, it may have been during that casual conversation when Adnan asked Hae for a ride that he happened to mention how he’d lent Jay his car…sparking in Hae the idea that this was her opportunity to confront Jay about cheating on Stephanie, or whatever. Because she realizes Jay has a car so can meet her somewhere. And there is that phone call that Jay was waiting for at Jenn’s that came in on her house telephone (it’s not Adnan who’d call the cellphone)…after which Jay immediately leaves. Of course Jenn says, several times, this call came in between 3:30 and 4:00, in keeping with their alibi time — but Jay is calling to Jenn’s house at 3:21, so…. She also says the call came in on the house or cell phone, but there are no calls at all on the cellphone between 12:43 and 2:36. So it’s the house phone. She tells police Jay left between 2:30 and 4:15, directly following this call to the house. But as there is an incoming cellphone call at 2:36 that pings the Woodlawn cell tower…2:30 is the accurate time. And Hae is strangled not long thereafter.
Hae’s “something” that came up after school and Jay’s receiving a telephone call at Jenn’s house — leaving the house immediately afterwards at around 2:30 — is no coincidence.
Page 8 of Jenn’s police transcript.
Susan Simpson also discusses the reliability of this overheard, second-hand information supplied by these two friends, Becky and Krista, in her blog post Serial: An Examination of the Prosecution’s Evidence Against Adnan Syed.
Chivvis Assertion: “In Jay’s first interview with the detectives, he says to them: ‘Adnan’s plan was to get in Hae’s car by telling her that his car was broken down and asking her for a ride’.”
Spock-like Response: See lawyer Susan Simpson’s…Why Jay’s Testimony is Not Credible Evidence of Adnan’s Guilt.
Chivvis Assertion: “Then the next piece of bad luck is the Nisha call. I mean, even if the Nisha call could potentially be a butt dial, in the realm of possibility, maybe it was a butt dial, but what are the chances?”
Spock-like Response: The chances are around 5%, as Susan Simpson discovered. Not an insignificant percentage. And given the model Nokia phone Adnan carried, it was ridiculously easy to make a butt dial by pressing only one pre-programmed number on the keypad. For more explanation, see Susan Simpsons blog post, Serial: Why the Nisha Call Shows Hae was Murdered at 3:32.
Chivvis Assertion: “Then the last thing that I think really sucks for him if he’s innocent is that Jay’s story and the cell phone records match up from about six o’clock to about eight o’clock which is when Jay is saying you are burying the body, and that’s the time of the day you just have no memory of where you were. You have your dad saying you were at the Mosque, and maybe Bilal your youth leader….”
Spock-like Response: Adnan makes a call at 6:59 to Yaser that pings the cell tower nearest his house/the Mosque, where there are witnesses testifying to the fact that he was with them from 7:30 onward. (How these two testimonies could be viewed any less credibly than Jay’s…shows how deceptive the human mind can be, to itself). But Adnan has always said that he needed to walk food over to his father at the Mosque for the end of Ramadan ritual fast. Which means he would have had to stop at home for awhile first. So the 6:59 Yaser telephone call is consistent with this happening. Adnan does not use his cellphone again until 9:01. But Jay is using the phone immediately at 7:00 p.m. Jenn tells police he called and left a message saying he did not need her to meet him at the park after all. The park she described to police is a three-minute walk through Adnan’s backyard. Because obviously, Jay has the unexpected use of Adnan’s car and cellphone once again to go bury Hae’s body in Leakin Park and ditch her car a second time — by himself — so he cancels this arrangement with Jenn. See Susan Simpsons blog post, An Examination of the Prosecutions’ Evidence Against Adnan Syed.
Jay calls Jenn at 7:00 p.m. to tell her that she doesn’t need to meet him at the park. The park she described to police is a 3-minute walk through Adnan’s backyard. Jay is canceling this arrangement because he has the unexpected use of Adnan’s car and cellphone again. So doesn’t need Jenn to take him to the Park-and-Go to get Hae’s car and then on to Leakin Park to bury her body. He can do it himself.
Chivvis Assertion: Finally, Chivvis posits in episode 12 of Serial Podcast (transcript) that the reality may be only sinking in around the time of the murder, i.e., for Adnan that he would not be getting back with Hae. The problem with this is that Adnan had already met Don when Hae’s car broke down on December 23rd. And Don says they were sizing each other up. So having met Don face-to-face, Adnan is well aware that Don is taking over Hae’s affections. In fact, this could be one reason why Adnan does not page Hae. He understands perfectly that it’s Don’s problem now (Hae not showing up at home because she could be with Don).
In a study done between 1994 and 1998 in ten U.S. cities (Baltimore, Houston, Texas, Kansas City (KS), Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, St. Petersburg/Tampa, and Wichita) the domestic violence murder of a female was preceded by:
- 67% of femicide victims had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
- 89% of femicide victims who had been physically abused had also been stalked in the 12 months before the murder.
- 79% of abused femicide victims reported stalking during the same period that they reported abuse.
- 85% of attempted femicide cases involved at least one episode of stalking within 12 months prior to the attempted murder.
- 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
Serial: More Details About Jay’s Transcripts Than You Ever Need to Know
(an excerpt from Susan Simpson’s blog post)
“Second, while it is true, like I mentioned earlier, that one witness’s fabricated testimony cannot be used to prove Adnan’s innocence, by the same token that fabricated testimony cannot be used to prove Adnan’s guilt, either. Because once you agree that Jay’s story is unreliable, inconsistent, and manufactured, then the only way to conclude that Adnan is guilty is to discard everything in Jay’s statements that is inconsistent with the theory that Adnan and Jay worked together to kill Hae (which is a lot of things to discard), and to also assume the existence of a whole host of additional facts that were not contained in Jay’s testimony, or anywhere else.
But once your theory of the case is based on accepting only those parts of Jay’s testimony that are consistent with Adnan’s guilt, and by speculating about the existence of additional sets of facts to which Jay has never testified — well, how is that any different from simply writing a piece of fiction? By using that approach to Jay’s testimony, it’s possible to invent a narrative that supports the guilt of just about any individual connected to Woodlawn.”
And for comic relief, don’t miss: Plotting the Coordinates of Jay’s Dream.
For anyone still nursing doubts, be sure to read: Serial Podcast: Cell Data Shows How Jay Acted Alone.