Serial Update: Key Witness Jay Wilds Presents His Side of the Story for the First Time

The popular <em>This American Life</em> spin-off podcast <em>Serial</em> just ended. Now Jay Wilds is speaking out

The last chapter in Sarah Koenig’s tremendously successful feuilleton podcast Serial, which investigated the murder of a Baltimore high school student all the way back in 1999, has apparently not yet been written. First released in October, Serial is one of the most popular podcasts ever: the This American Life spin-off has been streamed or downloaded from iTunes more than 5 million times, which is unprecedented for such a short period of time. Its primary focus was a critical look at the state of Baltimore’s case against then-17-year-old Adnan Syed, who quickly became the prime suspect when the body of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, was found in a public park. Koenig has received praise as well criticism for her investigation, and now it seems new information will be added to the saga that captivated millions of listeners.

One of the key witnesses during the trial in 1999 was Adnan Syed’s friend Jay, who did not wish to appear on the podcast but has now decided to tell his side of the story in an interview with The Intercept. The interview contains several details which have thus far remained undisclosed: for instance, Jay, whose last name is Wilds (Koenig uses first names only), recounts that Syed allegedly first showed him Lee’s body while the two were parked in front of Jay’s grandmother’s house–not, as suggested on Serial, in the unlikely location of a Best Buy parking lot. Wilds also claims that inconsistencies in the story he told the police were the result of a strong, and, he argues, well-founded fear of the repercussions of admitting to selling marijuana. “I saw the ATF and DEA take down guys in my neighborhood for selling much less than I was at the time. […] 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,” he says.

The Intercept will be publishing the rest of the interview with Jay Wilds in the near future. Read the first part here.