DiscoverSerialS01 Episode 08: The Deal with Jay
S01 Episode 08: The Deal with Jay

S01 Episode 08: The Deal with Jay

Update: 2014-11-1379
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The state’s case against Adnan Syed hinged on Jay’s credibility; he was their star witness and also, because of his changing statements to police, their chief liability. Naturally, Adnan’s lawyer tried hard to make Jay look untrustworthy at trial. So, how did the jurors make sense of Jay? For that matter, how did the cops make sense of Jay? How are we supposed to make sense of Jay?

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

previously on cereal I didn't like the odds of you getting the charming sociopath you're just not that look in the game's most Ocala time I was kind of like maybe the discipline of up to this the one sure what all the were you willing to sell shows us or the very into the The The only thing taken from the inmate and the Maryland The The The The okay my name is Miss Stella on still felt little world and you were a juror on the line and say a case right yes I was from This American Life and WB easy Chicago it's cereal one story told week by week I'm Sarah Kane and I wanted to know from Stella Armstrong why she voted to convict a non sei ed she immediately talked about J that she believed him like this It's been awhile but I remember the one young man who was supposedly his frame and who had been able to Him to move the body right and that struck me that why would you admit to doing something that drastic if you haven't done it you know what it means for what reason what was going to gain from that he still had to go to jail actually he didn't go to Tao all he did and a friend didn't know he walked into a strange strange i aso the same thing as anyone has come in contact with Jai White is Jay's deal by that I don't mean his plea deal that he pled guilty to accessory after the fact in a first degree murder testified against an on and got no prison time as a result I'll talk more about that in another episode what I mean is what did you make of J which of course is code for one am I supposed to make of J how to come across sitting up there on the witness stand was his demeanor on the stand Michael kind of kid did he seem like he seem like he was from st was kinda hope that's the best way to put it he seemed like he you know got around or he was able to take care of itself he remind of he would be that friend if you get in trouble you would call you know what I mean um save hours back and ask when that and somebody was involved in the He Man of somebody's I would call to help me and I guess somebody was fighting me or so it was believable to you that he would be that guide for non Nike would be the guy that I normally turn tell yeh yeh that was my impression because we all have somebody in our life like that you know that you may know a cousin or relative who have something go wrong you think you can call to help you when you just said that I just did a very quick scan of my my contacts in my family I think I feel like I can think of one they're also useless I will say they also use lists the the the the the the day that Stella side trial he was wearing a tie sometimes a jacket he's handsome he's tall and thin you can see in the trial Video How is to bend over little each time he speaks into the microphone in front of them since J's credibility was the state's case in as attorney Christina terrorists tried to rip it to shreds that essentially it was her defense she uses the word truth and lie as often as possible under cross examination there are many exchanges like this one features ask them quote and now your second interview on tape that you are not telling the truth are you not J says everything in the the the the um the the the uh the day Gutierrez asked J about Best Buy about how Jen who's a Terry told him there were security cameras in the parking lot at the entrance J didn't kill hey why would Jay care whether there were cameras there she asks she puts it A J almost casually the uh the the the why stage formal course the moment when you were the attempted defense attorney tried to make him well basically she was trying to salvage a kilt and was blaming on that's what I remember nothing lead us to believe dat he had a motive to kill Miss Lee yeah that really stayed with me because she was so adamant that he was a lie right he just didn't buy that he was lying about it I didn't buy that it was a lie AB AB but the fact that he was telling the truth about what happened at that moment the judge took the stand on five different days during the second trial this must've been a harrowing nerve wracking stretch in his life but large swaths of the trial itself really boring not just the procedural stuff that's always boring but the cross examination is boring even of the star witness one defense attorney I talked to said that boring this can be a strategy she said lawyers know that people can only pay close attention for so long forty five minutes an hour before they start to flag so it's not the actress that gets people to crack its tedium which would explain so much of what to tears was doing if in fact that's what she was doing she spends a lot of time on streets for instance the trajectories of different roads whether they travel northeast or northwest with their names change as they cross from the city into the county on buildings how they are situated the eye in the seas sure the the the uh the tissue in the the the the eye The The The The The The World's Great the parking lot of security and more rack he doesn't crack though he's alert he's polite he stays whether he stays with her when she's calm and soothing and boring and he stays with her when she gets a little more shouting he sticks to the Yes ma'am No ma'am answers which I had to guess is probably seventy five percent of which it says in cross this apart were tears tries to suggest that J was cheating on his girlfriend Stephanie with Jen pituitary the the the the the is the week and the a step in the year or stay at the The The The The The The The and a day where the store we on the small yet worse yet he had the ah the the the uh the uh we won the all the human he gets irritated his civil excuse me Your Honor he says and the chairs gets loud could you ask her to stop feeling mature please the good years died a few years after this trial so I can ask her what I have to think nothing she's doing here is accidental she was a successful sought After defense attorney choose aggressive and obviously the courtroom is no place for pulling punches but you've got to wonder whether moments like this hurt in Ann's case rather than help because Jason's like the underdog its Baltimore half the jury is black seven of twelve actually J probably comes off as a nice young man and this white lady is yelling at them sometimes unwittingly Jay's testimony is almost poetic he says he told Jennifer to Terry to be honest with the detectives because quote the lies that we were telling to try to protect each other are clouding the truth when he's asked why he didn't warn hey that may not want to kill her he says it was because he didn't think a none was serious the vote I took it as a grain of sand instead of concrete was asked why the image of hay in the trunk of the car stuck with them he says quote I've never seen anyone dead before the first thing I thought was how fragile Stephanie was people lie in court under oath all the time witnesses lie lawyers lie police lie this should come as a shocker to no one and I'm not saying that's what happened here I'm just saying that I'm not assuming that everyone who participated in an honest trial told the truth but clearly the jury found a believable or believable enough after six week trial that convicted and nine in just two hours we talked to six jurors and none of them had any lingering doubts about the case none of them wondered if the investigation was shoddy none of them are much bothered by Hagee statements to police had shifted over time so am I wrong to be hung up on that I should be concerned about the inconsistency as I'm concerned about your guess as I've mentioned the detectives involved in this case didn't want to talk to me for the story so I turned to this guy you are Jim Trainor m James Joyce James Jim tram and we weave we hired you because unlike me your real detect I just play one on the radio gym training used to be a homicide detective in Washington D C jurisdiction not too different from Baltimore has now become something of an expert on false confessions and an advocate for better interrogation techniques because around the country doing presentations about it we gave train of everything we had on this case Files tapes transcripts and again I want to be clear that we paid him for his time it's a huge amount of material to go through I want to train him to weigh in on two things first just overall how would he rate the investigation into him in Lee's murder did the detectives do good job or do they screw it up and second how should I be thinking about J as a witness or the detective seeing that maybe I wasn't training said yes he thought the inconsistency is where a problem too but he also said don't forget the flip side but I'm also looking at some of the consistency is to write some of you know he took them to where the car was great and that's a huge thing right there J had a big piece of reliable information that the cops themselves did not know where his car was the stream said Jay story completes the circle for the cops they were suspicious of the Non from the beginning then from a non sell records they get to Jen who leads them to J who tells them it said non so their suspicions have now been borne out thanks to Jay through a man's own phone satisfying investigative circle a murder case on a silver platter says train him he puts on who they consider to be the logical suspect I mean yeah he's pretty much a dream case part of what training does is review investigations and he says this one is better than most of what he sees the detectives in this case were cautious and methodical they were rushing to grab suspects or to dismiss them either the evidence collection is well documented which I didn't expect to hear that even though it's basically a one witness case the cell records mostly don't match the statements there's no physical evidence linking Iran to the murder despite all that to an experienced detective like train and this looks like a pretty sound investigation Allah said This is better than average but what I'm saying is this the mechanics the documentation the steps they took and all that they look good okay I would probably follow the same route however were unsure of is what happened to change to a story from A to B and um we do not know what happened in the interest of those three hours or whatever like that and that will always result in an a question as to what the final outcome should have been here's what he's talking about both of Jay's taped statements before a period of time before the tape recorder is turned on when the cops first bring J N on for twenty eight they talk to him for about an hour before the tape went on then on March fifteen the second interview Jay signed his initials to an explanation of rights form at three fifteen pm then the tape starts they see the March approximately after six nine six twenty pm so from three fifteen to six twenty three hours have gone by since J sign up form this is what's called the pre interview and train him says that's where the mischief can happen the contamination necessarily intentionally but it happens the pre interview was when the cops in the win is kind of ironed out the statement so could be taped as a coherent thing and that was standard procedure back then now like a lot of jurisdictions Baltimore homicide detectives videotaped the entire interview from the moment the person steps in the interview room on March fifteenth we know the cops had shown J at least some photographs from the investigation they refer to that on the tape and race as a trial that he was confronted with the cell records during that interview as well we have to wonder says train him whether he was massaging his story to fit the cops wanted to hear the inconsistent season Jay statements that the cops are catching him and Graham says cops are used to that every confession has inconsistency is you just need to understand why they're happening is the minimizing his role is he protecting someone in Jay's case Yes and Yes but how do you make sense of the inconsistency is that don't seem to have a purpose like the one about going to the cliffs at the task a state park that afternoon drops out of the narrative a trial in from where I said I like it doesn't work because if your time and he can't get back to track in time if you went out and smoke enjoyed getting to know I'm like No you're not at all because I think that you know one of the biggest problems that we have with the way that the interview and interrogate here and the fact that we have excellent witness we've got somebody who's given us the whole case right here he broke it wide open force I want to ruin him you know we bought and sold oh how much do you want to push how much do you want to create quote unquote bad evidence like there's no such like this at the actual term called bad evidence right you don't want to do something if it's going to go against your theory of the case I get that I mean it's like my father so I say all facts are friendly action that be more true for cop in for anyone else like you can't cure you can pick and choose rather than trying to get to the truth what you trying to do is build her case to make it the strongest case possible but how can it be a strong case and how can he be a great witness if there's stuff that's so not true or unexplained and the comeback is is that there's always going to be things that are unexplainable I can say also remember verification bias is kicking in here as well I want to believe you because you're my witness and I think this is what happened and all that so the fact that you're giving me something that's inconsistent that doesn't fit my theory of the case what is verification bias cause you to do ignored pushed aside and that's what they're doing here with the same consistency is the kind of pushing them aside transit was curious to him that the cops never searched his house for instance that they never subjected him to a polygraph again so maybe that's because he was on their team now helping to push too hard he said the cops quote probably settled for what they thought was good enough to be the truth and quote he said he did have doubts about it non claim of innocence but that he definitely thought there was something couldn't quote off about this case that we still don't know what happened in this matter we still don't have the true story I don't believe Jayce version which I think that there has a lot more to it than that I feel that Stephanie minimizing his involvement due to either protect himself he stood for what we're for Greece to protect himself to protect somebody else or because I'm not that it was right there with them right away but I cannot prove that he's given to me without contamination right the real problem is is that how you prove it one with the other way chance has the answers we want probably live in those and recorded pre interview hours a black hole of crucial information since this stuff wasn't all video to You knowing their holes were never as are saying that we're never going to know the answer but for what things that I could know the answer to if you're me what's the biggest thing I need to figure out than to talk okay okay this has the weekly pass the city limits so my producer Julie Snyder and I went to CJ we do not warn J we were coming which is not the journalist reporter move I know but I thought we'd have the best chance of success if we met him face to face we can make our case for why we wanted to talk to him and he could have a better sense of who we were what we are about but because it's also sort of a dick move to show up at someone's door like that Julie and I were nervous I am so hyped up the thing back to the tape I wanted to give myself a Xanax I feel super excited to talk to him likes so excited to talk to him I can tell you like if this works and he I mean he knows he knows everything we want to every question we've had for the past eight months seven months he knows and whether I tell this is a different thing but uni like he's like there's a treasure chest of answers that we've been looking for this whole time and he hasn't he's at but whether or not are already home when or even over his home we arrived J was not home so we came back again many hours later knocked to answer the door tall and skinny and exhausted looking beard his hand was Friday probably the end of a long workday for whom he nevertheless invited to send gas to sit down we didn't record anything we stayed about twenty minutes maybe was a tense meeting an emotional meeting in fact afterwards Julian I felt like we'd walked into a stranger's house lobbed a grenade onto his living room carpet and then wave goodbye we debrief back in the car here's the first thing he said I mean he said that they're a lot of people who say they don't think he very forcefully settled in her dead that's right he said You Dad he was like I was there I saw like I know I know he was very forceful like I can't believe he won't even man up and admit it is totally scoffed at the idea that none would be claiming his innocence he was very calm the hell would you describe his demeanor be tired yet he seemed tired and it's a little and wary of but not actually very polite and actually start a very sweet and tired and but he also said I'm feeling like so much he said like any animal rage right now even you bringing this up right now but he does a good job of keeping it didn't seem like it was about to I mean actually you could come to seem about to hit something but in a more frustrated understandable way J was understandably skeptical of us and our motives when we left J said he think about an interview and get back to us he left a strong impression on Julie maybe even even just hearing him so forcefully than I know and so forcefully say I now lead at him you know it's your face to face is right there he's a person he sang and he seems like he really means it is not pleasant for him to talk about it so you know it sounds believable I totally saw the appeal of him as a as like a person and a friend of witness Jane I corresponded sporadically by email in the weeks following our meeting he said he wasn't afraid of the truth finally in so many words J declined an interview room the the the the or the Who the so what is the deal which I talked to dozens of people mostly his friends and classmates afternoon from Woodlawn High School they range of opinions about whether he was a good guy or not a good guy but they all agreed that he defied categorization he was different he was like the Rodman of our social world he was like the one wif us like a little rainy and listen so I raise Shih and you know what I hear different colors and one red and blonde but blonde lasted a long time haven't been to blunt the shore BMX topical and Annabel Park who of us felt awful like to practice Friday if he was at my house my mom came home he left you like Who's that and why's he here they will be the weirdo at the three black that it all in the big thing in my head again with low fairly lengthy bird legs really the predominant note seventeen anything different from you is we're the OJ didn't look like the other kids at school he also didn't act like the other kids at school he loved animals one spot a giant rat eating frog he love the outdoors fishing hiking swimming rode BMX bikes and all skate park played lacrosse for Christ sakes was actually pretty good across the tall wire dude can run for days there was no training needed for that kid could just run forever which the good things he wasn't the type to put on training him right because he wasn't a jock is more of a stoner people said they didn't seem to care whether if a ten dollars for a very honest with who he was in this beautifully unconventional die Jae didn't come from the same kind of household is a lot of the other kids he hung around with he lived with his grandparents his mom but his friends say it seems like he was more or less taking care of himself he was had a job his mother depended on M J was in the magnet program at Woodlawn he was Jen pop their term not mine like general population prison anyway he hung out with some of the many kids because his girlfriend Stephanie was in the program people told me contradictory things about J three women who knew him from Woodlawn including one teacher told me unflattering things about him nothing terrible just that he was mean or intimidating some kids thought of him as quote unquote shady that you would want to push em he got the sense that if you cross J He come after you but then I also heard descriptions of Jet included the word goofy or stoner or that the thuggish five was just oppose something Jay put on to seem tough he is now full he's definitely an alpha male this is Chris he says use one of J's best friends around this time he said Jay might say slug us are walking down the hallway at school he wasn't matter anything is just messing around boys will be boys kind of stuff Chris remember this one story it seems to me all the different versions of J I'd heard the goofy and the scary were contained in a We have weird argument sometimes I remember outside a lot of my cousins houses each August at me because I hadn't been stabbed before so we got into a fight over actually I gave him a knife is that I would get a nice show though I gave him a knife to stab me what you are literally fighting outside of my cousins house and his Lego of Douglas TBD if we need to know what it's like you'll never let you stab the the the er the the I talked to three people who said they knew J Well hung out with them around the time of the crime as him if he ever told them about what happened went to Chris' first because when Jay spoke to detectives that first night during his first interview Jay mention Chris by name the cops asked J if he told anyone else about it non committing this murder and J said he told Chris Christie on the police never questioned am not that he could remember anyway he thought he remembers something like that there are no notes in their files about an interview with Chris but Chris it was true J did tell him about what happened but his version the building blocks are the same but this running details are unfamiliar of course giant caveat it's fifteen years later that I'm asking Chris to tell me but for comparison purposes here goes Chris says Jay told him he was at a pool hall out on Route forty in kittens fell when he got a call from an on the pool hall was either VIP or Blue Jays Chris as they were across the street from each other at the time he told you that none came to get him when he was at a poor shooting to add color to use Iowa girl I got to talk to you busy so where are you told her it was a Nacho another while at Talk Tuesday and is was a little tug of war for wow I don't eventually convinced him to come outside with him and his car or I don't know who's driving his car Haley's in this version trying pop happens at the pool hall Chris AJ told a nine he wanted nothing to do with that but none for stem told him he was in it now he was an accessory and he knew Jay couldn't go to the cops because of his own illegal activities today was stuck help bury the body Chris figured Lincoln Park was likely J's idea rather than an ons as information about the crime itself doesn't quite match the state's version he said Jay told him that none confronted hay about flirting with another guy car salesman and when she called a non crazy he snapped and strangled her and Chris said he heard this happened in the parking lot of the Woodland Public Library or that someone that's right there on campus where Asia said she sighed in on that day Chris says Jay told him that a non threatened to kill Stephanie J didn't keep his this is not the first I'd heard about something J told the cops that he worried not heard Stephanie too he also testified at trial that Nonna made it clear he could get to stuff me anytime he wanted since they were such good friends Stephanie herself tells the cops this is in their notes from their conversation with her that J told her to stay away from a non Christmas Jay told him at non showed up at J's house with Stephanie not long after the crime and made a gesture to indicate a herder if you're not careful so Stephanie goes your insight as Cheney
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S01 Episode 08: The Deal with Jay

S01 Episode 08: The Deal with Jay

This American Life