Formerly silent Serial podcast witness Jay Wilds interview highlights

Serial podcast Jay Wilds interview

It’s been less than two weeks since host Sarah Koenig wrapped up the last episode of the hugely popular Serial podcast, and now the main witness in the case against Adnan Syed is finally speaking out! Jay Wilds, whose testimony was pretty much the prosecution’s entire case against Adnan in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, spoke with Natasha Vargas-Cooper from The Interceptor in a lengthy interview in which he explains some of the inconsistencies in his testimony.

At the crux of Jay’s reasons for all of his wishy-washy testimony and questionable behavior (Why would he help someone he didn’t know that well bury a body?!?) is the fact that he was a drug dealer and he had serious concerns about what was going to happen to him and those he cared about. “At the time, this was Maryland in the ’90s, the drug laws were extremely serious,” Jay explains. “I saw the ATF and DEA take down guys in my neighborhood for selling much less than I was at the time. And they were getting sentenced to three and five years. I also ran the operation out of my grandmother’s house and that also put my family at risk. I had a lot more on the line than just a few bags of weed.”

Serial Adnan Syed trial witness Jay Wilds photo

Jay Wilds

Jay (above) says he and Adnan were only casual acquaintances and that their relationship was pretty much solely that of a weed seller and a weed buyer who didn’t mind getting high together. “I only smoked with him two or three times,” he says. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we’re down in the park, come on down.’ Jay then adds, “I might have sat next to him in a class, and joked or something. But he didn’t call me unless he needed something.”

When asked about his take on Adnan prior to the day of Hae’s murder, Jay says “He seemed under a lot of pressure to please. I got the feeling the few times of interacting with Adnan that there was this enormous pressure from somewhere trying to make him into something he didn’t want to be.”

Jay then offers up his take on Adnan and Hae’s relationship, saying that Hae took the break up much better than Adnan because “I think that was his first real girlfriend.” Jay later expounded on his observation:

From the way [Adnan] carried himself, at least, it looked like he had never lost anything before. And it was really hard for him to deal with being on the losing end. In that situation, he was the loser. And people were starting to find out he was a loser, ‘Oh, you and Hae aren’t together anymore. She got a new boyfriend?’ And he didn’t know how to deal with that.

Jay says Adnan first mentioned that he might hurt Hae at least a week prior to her death, but Jay says the comments were “just normal conversation like, ‘I think she’s f***ing around. I’m gonna kill that b!tch, man.’” He says he thought Adnan was just venting like some people do after a breakup, and he points out that Adnan never said anything “real pointed or anything” that caused any real concern that he might be serious about hurting Hae. “I thought he was just blowing off steam and bulls**tting,” Jay says. “I thought at worst he’d throw a rock through her window or something. Normal high school ‘I’m mad at her and I’ll scratch her car’ sort of stuff.”

At this point in the interview Jay seems to have a Sarah Koenig moment and takes a step back to offer up his take on his take:

But look, if we start speculating what he was thinking that far ahead – I don’t know. He might really have just been bulls**tting at the time. I don’t know what happened, what occurred between them that day. I don’t know if she said something he couldn’t handle, and he went off the edge or if he had been seriously speculating about it. I don’t feel comfortable drawing conclusions like that. You can’t start drawing conclusions like that.

Rust Cohle True Detective Serial podcast

Jay then runs through his timeline that listeners of Serial are surely familiar with: Adnan loaning his car (and his cell phone) to Jay so he could get his girlfriend Stephanie a birthday present. Jay then goes to his friend Jenn’s house to smoke weed and Adnan later calls him from a pay phone at Best Buy. Jay arrives at Best Buy to pick Adnan up and Adnan reveals that he has killed Hae.

In perhaps the most revealing bit of new information contained in the first interview, Jay confesses that he lied under oath when he testified when he first saw Hae’s body in the trunk of her car. “I saw her body later, in front of my grandmother’s house where I was living. I didn’t tell the cops it was in front of my house because I didn’t want to involve my grandmother.”

OK, back to his timeline…

After meeting up at Best Buy, Jay and Adnan head to Cathy’s house to smoke weed. Adnan receives a call from the police and tells Jay they need to split up. Jay, who is pretty freaked out at this point, returns home to his grandmother’s house. Adnan later shows up at Jay’s grandmother’s house in Hae’s car and that is when he reveals her body in the trunk.

Why did you agree to help Adnan bury Hae?

Because at the time I was convinced that I would be going to jail for a long time if he turned me in for drug dealing, especially to high school kids. I was also running [drug] operations from my grandmother’s house. So that would ruin her life too. I was also around a bunch of people earlier the day [at Cathy’s], and I didn’t want them to get f***ed up with homicide. So I said, ‘Look man, I’m not touching [Hae]. You’re in this on your own. I’m being manipulated into what’s being done right now.’

Jay later admitted that his story fluctuated often when talking with the police at the time, but that he became more honest once he realized they weren’t looking to persecute him for dealing drugs. “That’s the best way I can account for the inconsistencies,” Jay explains. “Once the police made it clear that my drug dealing wasn’t gonna affect the outcome of what was going on, I became a little bit more transparent.”

Well there you go! It’s essentially like a whole new bonus episode of Serial! Be sure to head over to The Interceptor for the entire interview because there is A LOT more! And Part 2 is apparently going to be posted any minute now:

Stay tuned…

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