Jay from podcast ‘Serial’: ‘I was convinced that I would be going to jail for a long time’
Jay Wilds has spoken out for the first time about his involvement in the 1999 murder case at the center of the popular podcast, Serial
The main witness in the murder case that was the subject of the wildly popular podcast Serial has given his version of events in his first interview.
Jay Wilds spoke to The Intercept about the case for an article published Monday. He’d previously refused to take part in Sarah Koening’s podcast, which attempted to retrace the steps taken in the murder case of Hae Min Lee, which led to the conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed.
Wilds, who was the prosecution’s main witness, has changed elements of his story – including where he first saw Lee’s body. On taped interviews with police used in the podcast he stated that he first saw the body in the car park of a Best Buy. But when asked about it by The Intercept, he said he first saw it in front of his grandmother’s house.
“I didn’t tell the cops it was in front of my house because I didn’t want to involve my grandmother,” he said.
“I believe I told them it was in front of ‘Cathy’s [not her real name] house, but it was in front of my grandmother’s house. I know it didn’t happen anywhere other than my grandmother’s house. I remember the highway traffic to my right, and I remember standing there on the curb. I remember Adnan standing next to me.”
In the interview – the first of a multi-part series – Wilds talks about the first time he met Syed, and why he agreed to help him bury Lee’s body.
“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,” he said. “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 fucked up with homicide.”
He also spoke about why he cooperated with the police after initially refusing to, saying that he was worried about criminal consequences for selling marijuana, and that he was concerned because Baltimore was notorious as a place where people who informed could be subject to retribution.
“They had to chase me around before they could corner me to talk to me, and there came a point where I was just sick of talking to them,” he said.
“I stonewalled them that way. No — until they told me they weren’t trying to prosecute me for selling weed, or trying to get any of my friends in trouble. People had lives and were trying to get into college and stuff like that. Getting them in trouble for anything that they knew or that I had told them — I couldn’t have that.”
The interview comes after writer Kelly Oxford tweeted a Facebook post, apparently from Wilds, in which he stated he was willing to participate in one interview.
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(Image via Flickr user Casey Fiesler)