BY MOLLY KASSEL The final episode Serial was largely devoted to revisiting old facts with fresh eyes. One piece of hard evidence against Adnan was a call made from his phone, to a girl he was flirting with at the time, named Neesha. The call is two minutes long and took place at 3:30pm on the day that Hae went missing. This call connects Adnan with his cell phone at a time when he says he did not have it. It also puts Adnan and Jay together that afternoon, given that Jay did not know Neesha and would not have had cause to call her.
Neesha says that she remembers talking to Adnan and Jay at the same time on the phone, which doesn’t look too good for Adnan. However, Neesha remembers this conversation taking place at night, and at the video store where Jay worked, which is a job Jay did not have until late January. AT&T told the Serial team that the call would have been included in Adnan’s monthly bill even if it was a butt dial that never got picked up. Therefore, it’s possible that Adnan’s story still checks out — that he did not have his phone that day as he insisted all along — and Neesha is recalling a different night.
Koenig discusses a conversation she had with Don, Hae’s boyfriend at the time of the murder. Don recalls the day Hae went missing and says he was afraid the police would suspect him. But unlike Adnan, he had a solid alibi for the 13th: He was at work and his timecard proves that. Don says when something bad happens, you remember what you were doing and where you were. Friends of both Hae and Adnan have pointed to Adnan’s inability to recall his exact whereabouts as cause to question his innocence, but Koenig cuts him some slack, asserting that the fact he was smoking weed could account for his inability to remember.
Curiously, after Hae went missing, Adnan never tried to contact, call, or page Hae. Was it because Adnan knew she was dead, or because he figured Hae probably wouldn’t respond? Don says that he, too, did not try to contact Hae after she went missing. Like Adnan, Don said he was concerned but just assumed she went to California like she sometimes talked about.
Don also talks about the one time he met Adnan. This was when Hae got in a car accident and both Don and Adnan inspected her car, and told her it wasn’t safe to drive. Adnan and Don got along, and Don even said that Adnan seemed like a nice guy, like someone he would have been friends with in high school. In court, Don was questioned about this interaction. Prosecutor Ulrich, the same prosecutor who set Jay up with the pro-bono lawyer, chewed out Don for not making Adnan seem “creepy.” Don says Ulrich was “irate” after court because Ulrich wanted Don to make Adnan out as a bad guy, but in fact Don didn’t think Adnan was a bad guy.
Another new interviewee this week was Josh, a friend of Jays from the adult video store where they both worked. The information Josh added was consistent with the version told by another friend of Jay’s, Chris. They both said that the story Jay told the cops didn’t much resemble the original story Jay told them, which did not include Best Buy, and had the murder happening later in the day.
Koenig considers the findings of the The Innocence Project team from the University of Virginia that looked into the Hae’s murder. Their conclusions are vastly different from the theories of the Serial team. In late 1999, there was another unsolved strangulation of a girl in Baltimore County. DNA recovered from the corpse matched a man with a long criminal record named Ronald Lee Moore. Moore was out of jail at the time of Hae’s murder, but later arrested and jailed for an unrelated robbery and rape. DNA testing has since connected him to two other rapes and an unsolved murder. The Innocence Project wants to test DNA from Hae’s body to see if it matches Ronald Lee Moore. This theory sounds a bit too convenient for Koenig’s team, plus it’s unlikely there’s any usable DNA left to be tested.
Towards the end of the podcast, and in the moment many have anticipated, Koenig states that she does not think Adnan murdered Hae. She says based on talking to and listening to Adnan over the past year, and based on facts, she does not think he did it. Even if he did do it, she adds, the only concrete evidence that connects Adnan to Jay and the crime, is that Jay knew where Hae’s car was. That alone should not be enough to convict and imprison a 17 year old. Besides, Koenig adds, why would a guilty man agree to let her do this story?
After talking to Adnan’s family friend, Rabia, Koenig initially thought that this case would be a simple collection of reports, data, and facts. Koenig says now, after a year, she feels the frustration of Rabia, of Adnan, and of everyone involved. This isn’t about personalities or opinions, this is about facts, and still, she says, there are no facts. Koenig said when she started this, the truth, “certainty seemed attainable” but after a year of searching, interviewing, and prying, the murder remains painfully unsolved.