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SERIAL-Susan Simpson

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True Murder

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In 1999, the body of Hae Min Lee was found in a shallow grave in Baltimore's Leakin Park. Six weeks later, her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested and charged with her murder. The state's case against Syed hinged entirely on the testimony of Jay Wilds, who said that he had been with Syed on the day of the murder, and that he had assisted with the burial in Leakin Park. At trial, the prosecutor argued that although Wilds had repeatedly given false and inconsistent statements concerning the crime, his story was corroborated by Adnan's cell phone records. Syed was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison; Wilds pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact, and was released without serving a day in prison.

Last year, the creators of This American Life covered Syed's story in the popular podcast Serial. In order to better visualize the events that were being described on the show, Attorney Susan Simpson put together a series of maps comparing the location data from the cell records with the various witness statements concerning the location of the phone throughout the day on which Hae Lee was murdered. The result showed just how fragmented and incoherent the prosecution's case was, as none of Wilds' multiple stories can be reconciled with the cell phone data. It also highlighted many of the gaps in the prosecution's evidence, and showed how numerous witnesses who could potentially have confirmed or denied Jay's stories were never contacted by investigators. SERIAL-The On-Going Story-Susan Simpson

 

 
 
 
 

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