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Old 11-24-2014, 04:41 AM
VarlosZ is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 6,552
Disclaimer: Adnan may well be guilty. I don't see anything so far that would tend to prove his innocence in any meaningful way. I wouldn't quibble with anyone who thinks he probably did it.

However, I think that people who are saying it's almost certain that he's guilty may be losing sight of what is actually meaningful evidence. There's a whole laundry list of accusations (that have mostly dominated this thread): Adnan stopped calling Hae after she went missing, Adnan can't remember specifically what he was doing on the day of the murder, someone said later that they thought Adnan was acting weird that night, etc.

Stop and look at what this stuff is actually capable of proving: if we didn't have Jay's story, how many facts such as these would it take to get us past reasonable doubt? 100? 1,000? You can't do it, because this is not real evidence. It doesn't tell us anything about what actually happened and/or is laughably unreliable. Now, some of the stuff on the list can help us evaluate the actual evidence, and I would consider a few of the things to be slightly damning on their own (like not calling after the disappearance). Mostly, though, I give almost no weight to this stuff.

Unless I've forgotten something (which is entirely possible), I see two pieces of real evidence:

1) Adnan's cell phone would seem to place him in the vicinity of the burial site on the night of the disappearance. It's a reasonably big vicinity, and we're not 100% certain that Hae was buried that day, but this is relevant, no doubt.

2) Jay says that Adnan showed him the body and told him he killed her. Obviously that's the big one, and ultimately the case comes down to whether (and to what extent) we believe him.

Jay's testimony has some things going for it:
-- He doesn't have an obvious reason to make up the story.
-- Jen says that he told her the same story shortly after the murder.
-- There's good evidence he was actually involved in the crime (he knew where Hae's car was), and during the time when we think the murder and/or disposal of the body was occurring, Adnan's cell phone was with him (which, of course, implies that Adnan was with him).

Now, I'm not too troubled by the fact that we'd need a reason for him to lie (which probably means a reason to kill Hae), in large part since we'd need to do the same thing for Adnan: construct a plausible motive (e.g. jealous rage, or violent argument) that's simply not in evidence. Yes, it's a shorter leap in Adnan's case, but I'm satisfied that he was not devastated and broken in the weeks leading up to the murder. Likewise, it helps that Jay told the story to someone else, but if he's lying then this is the story he's chosen to tell ... so how much does it really matter whether he tells it to one person, or two? I also certainly wouldn't discount the possibility that he could get his girlfriend to lie for him, either in whole or in part.

I'm only really impressed by the fact that he's travelling with Adnan's cell phone. Actually, I forget offhand what the rationale for supposedly loaning it to Jay was (little help?), but that's just not something I (or most others) would do casually. This tendency may well be less universal for a HS kid in 1999, but it's usually a safe assumption that Presence of Phone = Presence of Owner.

Ok, but then what are the reasons we might not find Jay credible? Well, first of all, he's Jay. At the risk of offending all the benevolent weirdos out there, Jay is clearly a weirdo, and sometimes weirdos do or say things that are (to us) inexplicable. More tangibly, he was "the criminal element" at the school (his words), he's been arrested for domestic violence since the murder, and he cultivated a widespread reputation as a liar. Of course, I wasn't there at that time and can't be certain how that came to pass, but I'm inclined to extrapolate from my own experience. I only knew one or two people in high school who my friends and I would describe as "liars," and do you know why they got that reputation? Because they lied all the damn time, about anything, for no apparent reason. Supposedly like Jay, they didn't lie about "big things," but only because they normally didn't have big things to lie about. Simply put, that multiple people would describe someone as a liar should make us much less likely to believe him.

Also, I kind of don't understand why Anand would involve Jay in this crime instead of someone else, but I really don't understand why Anand would involve a second person in this crime at all. Unless I'm misremembering the logistics of the thing (again, which is possible), it's just not believable to me that Anand would recruit Jay in anything like the manner he describes. What does he benefit from having an accomplice? He can dig a hole faster, and he doesn't have to take a cab to practice. Neither of those things really matter. Even leaving the car (with the body) unattended for a couple of hours is a much, much smaller risk than revealing evidence of your murder to an unwilling (and unnecessary) accomplice with a clumsy attempt to intimidate him. This is simply not believable to me.

Finally, of course, Jay's story changes from one telling to the next, and in any event the details don't seem to jibe with the available facts. The best way to square these issues to the point of plausibility is to hypothesize that he's lying about the details of the crime to hide the actual nature of his involvement. Ok, that's totally possible. But, then we're stuck arguing that Jay really is credible ... because he's lying.

This is longer than I planned. Look, I don't mean to undersell the real chance of Adnan's guilt, but with Jay and Jay's testimony being what they are, I'd need something more that ties him to the crime to vote to convict.

(If brickbacon or someone else decides to reply to this post, please don't chop it up into 17 quotes. I just don't feel like there's anywhere to go from there.)