Review of Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice after Serial by Rabia Chaudry
Like anyone who paid any attention to the news a few years back, I heard about the podcast Serial. The podcast was downloaded over 150,000,000 times. The podcast told the story of a murder, conviction, and possible wrongful conviction. While it was on my radar back then, I did not listen to the podcast. To be honest, I wasn’t listening to any podcasts back then. I did, however, purchase Rabia Chaudry’s excellent book about the case. I have had many instances where I would read a book and then a day or two after finishing the book I would watch a documentary or film about the same story. I’ve also done the same in reverse – see a documentary and film and then went out and bought the book. That was the case for Getting Life by Michael Morton. For this story, I decided to read the book and then listen to the podcast. More on that later.
Unlike many wrongful conviction stories, there is no DNA evidence that can be used to exonerate Adnan Syed, or at least none that has been tested. My understanding is that there was some possible DNA evidence collected but not tested. So the whole case boils down to two different stories from two individuals. The prosecution’s case was based primarily on the statements of one individual – Jay Wilds. Jay claims to have first hand knowledge of the murder, who did it, why, and how. The individual Jay fingers, Adnan Syed, claims to have no knowledge of the crime and no involvement. So who do you believe?
Considering that Jay leads detectives to the victim’s car, there’s no way that you can toss out his statements. He obviously knew something. But there are holes in Jay’s story. His timeline is off. Details he provides don’t add up. There are mistakes made by Adnan’s defense attorney. And there were problems with some of the state’s circumstantial evidence such as the cell phone records. All of these inconsistencies, errors, and outright misconduct are covered in Rabia’s book. I read and listened to the book. The Kindle version contained a lot of evidence in the form of notes and letters that were not readable on the Kindle. The book presents a compelling case that Adnan is innocent. One of the more convincing pieces of evidence of innocence is an alibi witness – Asia. Her story and how she slipped through the cracks on more than one occasion deserves a closer look.
The author paints a very clear picture of the people involved, especially Adnan. So I thought I would listen to the first episode of the podcast now that I know more about the story and the people involved. That was when I felt certain that Adnan was innocent. I heard Adan speak about that day. He came across as sincere and honest. Then I heard Jay’s interview. As soon as I heard Jay make the comment that he heard Adnan say “I’m going to kill that bitch,” It sounded insincere and phony. The prosecution may have tried to present Adnan as a vengeful person capable of killing someone, but they presented no evidence to support that claim. If you look at Adnan before this crime and after, there is nothing to suggest that he is capable of murdering anyone. But as I listened to Jay talk without empathy about the events he was describing, I couldn’t help but feel that he was telling the police a story that was either fed to him or one he made up from watching too many law and order episodes.