My Serial Theories

WARNING: If you are still listening to Serial, this post contains SPOILERS!

Now that season one of Serial is over, here are my thoughts on the most likely scenarios:

Like Sarah Koenig, I agree that there isn’t currently enough evidence to convict Adnan from a legal perspective. There is just too much reasonable doubt about Adnan’s guilt. With that doubt, the jury should not have convicted him. That said, I’m leaning toward feeling that he is most likely guilty, but have my doubts and alternative theories.

Of all the possible suspects that Hae knew personally, no one had any real motive to kill her. From all accounts, Hae was pretty universally loved and wasn’t a girl with many enemies. No one in her circle had any reason to do her harm. That includes Adnan… a breakup just isn’t catastrophic enough to incite murder, even in the most extreme situations. We’ve all experienced heartbreak and it’s not easy on any of us; but Adnan would have had to be pretty crazy to turn a broken heart into motivation for murder. He just doesn’t seem that crazy. That said, lacking any possible motive from anyone else at all, Adnan is pretty much left as our only possible suspect. Jay’s recent interview does make Adnan’s motive seem a bit more plausible by implying that it may have been more of an unintended crime of passion rather than pre-meditated murder. If Adnan did it, Jay’s new retelling sounds like the most likely scenario.

I’ve heard a lot of “Jay did it” talk, but I don’t buy this at all. Jay had zero motivation to kill Hae and just doesn’t seem like a killer, especially with no motivation. After reading his recent interview, I’m pretty close to 100% sure it wasn’t Jay.

If not Adnan, I’m pretty convinced that we’re looking for a random serial killer such as Ronald Moore or one of the other un-named suspects the Innocence Project has identified. In the serial killer theory, Hae stopped for gas and was picked out by some psycho hunting for their next victim. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time… the victim of a more freak, random crime.

The trouble is that this still leaves the question of Jay’s motive. If neither he or Adnan had anything to do with the crime, why would he go to the trouble of turning on Adnan and implicating himself as an accessory? My answer to this is simply that false confessions are not uncommon under intense pressure during police interrogations. Jay could simply have cracked under some pressure and confessed to something that never happened.

Here’s how this scenario would have played out… The detectives were out of clues, but suspected Adnan. They found out that Jay had been with Adnan for much of the day Hae went missing. If Adnan did it, they suspected that Jay should know something. Jay wouldn’t have known much (if Adnan was innocent) but may have had some good reasons to want to please the police with a good story. Jay was a small-time drug dealer and made it clear that he often felt harassed by the police (his explanation as to why he didn’t notify them about the murder earlier). The police could have very easily threatened to make his life rough if he didn’t come clean about Adnan. He already had experience as a cooperative witness in a prior case. This experience would have made it clear to Jay that good things happen when you cooperate with the police and the prosecution… bad things happen when you don’t. Plus, it’s possible that Jay also suspected Adnan after hearing the detective’s theories. Jay was not with Adnan all day, so could have thought Adnan did commit the crime during the parts of the day that they were separated. So, it makes perfect sense to me that Jay would have filled in the gaps and concocted a story that implicated Adnan. It got the police off his back and he may have even believed the basic backbone of it. In Jay’s mind, better to be cooperative and be taken care of than be harassed as a drug dealer. So, he cooperated.

If this is the case, it explains why he knew where Hae’s car was. It’s very possible the police had already found the car and it would have been very easy for the police to leak this information to Jay. Keep in mind, I’m not implying there was any conspiracy going on here… merely that, in an attempt to solve a tough case, detectives employed pressure on Jay and helped feed him some information… and this worked out a bit too well. It would not be the first time something like this happened. False confessions are a reality.

So, if all of this is the case, it’s possible that we can throw out the more incriminating portions of Jay’s testimony, which are almost all of the tangible case against Adnan. If Jay’s testimony is indeed a false testimony under pressure, Adnan and Jay were just two teenage kids driving around the suburbs buying weed and getting high… nothing more sinister than that. This would leave the actual crime to someone else outside of the circle of suspects. Again, because Hae had so few enemies, I’m lead to believe the only motivation to kill her would have come from a random, sick, twisted individual. These types of murders aren’t as common as Dexter would have us believe, but it’s still a distinct possibility.

In Jay’s recent interview, he sticks pretty clearly to the narrative that Adnan did it and he was an accessory. This new telling seems significantly more clear and believable than any of his official testimonies, so doesn’t look good for Adnan at all. However, I don’t discount the possibility that the story he’s telling now is still a continuation of an earlier false confession. In any case, I’m pretty sure Jay genuinely believes Adnan did it. I must admit, I’m starting to find Jay more credible after hearing his new retelling of the story.

The only thing we can do now is wait on the Innocence Project‘s findings of the physical evidence to see if this sheds any new light on the situation. If Jay’s retelling is correct, Adnan’s DNA should have been left at the scene (an eyelash, hair, etc.). Only time will tell.

I’d like to close with these three thoughts that all Serial fans should keep in mind while we theorize. It can be fun to try to solve the mystery, but we should not forget that this is a real story with real people; not fiction.

  • Hae Min Lee is a real human being who lost her life. We should have respect for her (and her family) and find out who did harm to her so they can be brought to justice.
  • Adnan Syed is a real human being who may be falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. If he did and it can be proven, he deserves to be where he is. However, if he’s innocent, he deserves to be released from prison to live his life.
  • Jay Wilds is a real human being trying to live his life. We shouldn’t drag his name through the mud with wild theories that aren’t backed up with solid evidence. We have nothing to suspect he was more involved than he admits to, so let’s not ruin his life over this story.

So, let’s theorize, but remember to tread lightly and have respect for the real human beings involved.

Happy Holidays!

Friends and family,

Happy holidays! I hope everyone is doing well. Tis the season that I reach out to those I care about and give them a quick update about what’s going on in my life. So, here it goes…

2014 has been a great year for me, both personally and professionally. I discovered a lot about myself and what I want out of life… and have grown as a result. I made a few big leaps; one of which was becoming a homeowner. I bought a condo in northwest Austin in March and have been adapting well to the experience.

I ran the Austin Marathon in February and got a new personal record (03:36:24). I am not training for the 2015 marathon, but I’m still doing a lot of running. I will do my first 3M Half-Marathon in January.

Professionally, I celebrated my second year with Dell, doing marketing and product development for the rugged computing division. We’ve been very busy launching new products and promoting them.

So, as the year draws to a close, I’m very thankful for everything this year has brought. I sincerely hope all of you have had great years as well. I’m looking forward to a great 2015 with new challenges, adventures and growth. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year! Thank you for being part of my life and for your friendship and support!

cheers,
Justin

…and a classic Calvin and Hobbes for your enjoyment!

Top 10 Albums of 2014

Inspired by Sound Opinions and their count-down of best albums of 2014, I wanted to start the tradition of creating my own list. So, here it goes…

best_of_2014

Honorable Mentions

The List

  1. Broken Bells – After the DiscoYou can’t beat the pairing of James Mercer and Danger Mouse. Their first album was a favorite and I think I like this one is a bit better. The beats are catchy and it’s simultaneously retro and modern.
  2. Tricky – Adrian ThawsTricky is ALWAYS unique and unlike anything else out there. This isn’t his best work, but it’s good.
  3. Damon Albarn – Everyday RobotsDamon’s first solo effort isn’t quite as adventurous as his work with the Gorillaz or Blur, but it’s no less interesting. This is much more slow-burn and introspective. However, it’s masterfully crafted and innovative with a bit of trip-hop influence.
  4. Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded FantasyDamien Rice is a classic singer-songwriter and I’ve always admired his work. This new album is no let-down. Great heartfelt lyrics, great melodies… great album.
  5. James – La Petite MortJames has long been one of my all-time favorite bands. Their new album doesn’t live up to their best (Laid, Whiplash, Millionaires), but it’s evidence that they are still making great music after all these years and trying new things.
  6. Spoon – They Want My SoulSpoon does what Spoon does best and even adds a few new ingredients into the mix. This is just a classic Spoon album that goes right up there with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and Gimme Fiction.
  7. Little Dragon – Nabuma RubberbandAlternative rock, pop and a bit of trip-hop come together beautifully in Little Dragon’s latest. I’ve liked Little Dragon from collaborations with the Gorillaz and Big Boi, but this is the first time I’ve listened to one of their albums in full and I was well rewarded.
  8. alt-J – This Is All Yoursalt-J’s freshman album was a favorite from a few years back and it has only grown on me since. So, I was excited to listen to their follow-up effort. This Is All Yours isn’t as immediately likable as An Awesome Wave, but it grows on you. It’s slow-burn music and takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, you love it. Like their first, it’s quirky and cool, but this new album adds more haunting atmosphere to the mix.
  9. TV On The Radio – SeedsTV On The Radio is a consistently great band and Seeds continues the tradition of great albums. Like Nine Types of Light, it’s a nice mix of alternative rock and danceable pop. I still like Nine Types of Light better as an album and no individual song on here is quite as good as “Wolf Like Me”, but this still ranks up there with their best work.
  10. Warpaint (Self-titled)This is one of the first new albums I listened to in 2014 and it’s been my clear favorite ever since. I’ve liked, but never loved Warpaint’s previous work. This one is a masterpiece. Catchy, infectious, haunting… this is music you can work to or put on late at night but is also great for more active listening. Needless to say, a clear winner.

All of these are compiled on my Spotify playlist (direct Spotify link). Enjoy!