Adnan Syed. A Murderer or A Victim?

Image result for adnan syed
On the left is Adnan Syed and on the right is Hae Min Lee. Both of these from when they were in high school.

In the year 1999 on January 13, Hae Min Lee disappears. She’s suppose to be picking up her cousin from school but she never picks them up and Hae never returns home that day. On February 9 her body was found at Leakin Park in Maryland. Her ex boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is the suspect and was charged with murder. About a year later, in 2000, when the trial comes to an end Adnan Syed is convicted of murder and is sentenced to life in prison.

A huge reason as to why this case has became so widely known in the past few years is because of the podcast Serial, narrated by Sarah Koenig. When listening to the podcast it is easy to get lost within all of the biased facts that Sarah talks about. It’s important to just look at the facts of the case and to remove all biased opinions from other sources, such as the podcast.

Here’s a list of the few, main facts of the case:

  1. Hae was last seen when school finished. There are witnesses who say both, that Hae did say she could give Adnan a ride after school and who say Hae told him she couldn’t give him a ride. Adnan then made contradicting statements to two different detectives about whether or not he asked Hae for a ride after school. At first, he said he did and then he said he didn’t because “he drives his own car to school,” except Jay had his car and phone during that part of the day so Adnan wouldn’t have had his car after school that day. 
  2. Jay is their main witness and says he knows for sure Adnan did it because he helped Adnan bury the body. He’s also the one to lead the cops to Hae’s car. Although Jay is thought to be a major piece of their evidence against Adnan, it’s important to know that Jay changed parts of his story almost every time he was questioned. Most of the time it is Jay’s story that doesn’t always match what other witnesses are saying.
  3. Asia McClain is also crucial to this. She’s considered to be Adnan’s biggest alibi but wasn’t contacted by Adnan’s defense attorney and didn’t testify at his trial. Asia says that she remembers seeing Adnan in the library on January 13 around the same time they say Hae was murdered.
  4. There is a call from Adnan’s cell phone to Nisha during the day on January 13. Nisha testified and says that she remembers this call and remembers Adnan putting Jay on the phone. The call takes place some time after Jay goes to pick up Adnan to help him bury the body.
  5. There is no physical evidence to prove it was Adnan.
More recently Adnan Syed in court. He was granted a retrial about 2 years ago but still remains in prison.


In the last episode of Serial season 1, Sarah Koenig included what a detective, who she hired to review the investigation, had to say about this case. Is this case similar to other murder cases? Is it expected to have so many inconsistencies, and so many unknown facts? To her questions, he said that most murder cases are actually quite the opposite of Adnan’s case. “Most cases, sure, they have some ambiguity but overall they’re fairly clear. This one is a mess,” he said. This is a much more complicated case than other cases, it’s hard to say if someone is guilty or innocent when it’s this complex. A lot of people argue that even if he is guilty that the state of Maryland didn’t even have enough evidence to prove it.

While I think that it’s difficult to come to a conclusion, I think that Adnan Syed is guilty. In my opinion there are just too many things that don’t make sense, and the stories aren’t consistent. When Adnan is interviewed in Serial he only remembers things or doesn’t remember things when it is beneficial to him. Maybe it’s just because it was a long time ago but then why can he remember other things that help his case. Also, why can’t more of his classmates say that they saw him in the library after school that day? Why is it that it’s only Asia McClain who is saying that she saw him? Asia wasn’t even called to be a witness at the trial and it doesn’t make sense for Adnan to not push his lawyer more on getting Asia to testify since she was his alibi and definitely could have had a huge affect on the jury at his trial.

Another thing to consider is Adnan’s reaction when he found out Hae was missing. From what is said in the podcast, it seems that Adnan isn’t as concerned about it as most would think he’d be. He didn’t even call her after a day or two went by when she disappeared. This is strange because even when he got his new cell phone, sometime after they broke up, she was still one of the first people he called so that he could give his new number to her. The fact that he called her right away even though they were broken up is also proof towards his motive. His motive is jealousy and anger from them breaking up. He was jealous, especially once Hae started talking to Don, who she started dating after they broke up. Direct proof of this is what Hae wrote in her diary, “The second thing is the possessiveness. Independence (indiscernible). I’m a very independent person. I rarely rely on my parents. Although I love him, it’s not like I need him. I know I’ll be just fine without him, and I need some time for myself and (indiscernible) other than him. How dare he get mad at me for planning to hang with Aisha?”(Awards Daily). From her diary entry it clearly shows that Adnan was possessive and controlling. He was even getting mad when she made plans to hang out with her friends instead of spending time with him.

It took me a while to come to this conclusion. Part of me wants him to be found innocent but I think a lot of that is because of listening to the podcast. Serial humanizes Adnan, it makes me feel more sympathy towards him than if I hadn’t listened to it. The podcast gave him a platform to portray himself a certain way, he makes himself as someone who you should feel bad for, and as the victim. He does a really good job at doing that, which is why it is essential to only look at the facts of the case and to not consider the way Adnan presents himself to be or the way other people present him to be.


Below is the link for Serial, along with some articles that I have used to ensure that the information is correct.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s