After Jay Wilds, the key witness in Adnan Syed’s 2000 murder trial and This American Life spinoff Serial, confessed to police he helped Syed bury his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, he told The Intercept in part two of his interview he contemplated taking his own life.
“I felt quite ashamed and embarrassed,” Wilds said after admitting that he not only knew that Syed had murdered Lee but that he had helped dig her grave. “My girlfriend’s mother learned about it, and spit in my face and called me a murderer. She cussed me out, said how could I let that girl lay out there in the snow for all that time when I knew where she was? I felt ashamed. Damn near got suicidal at one point. I had a lot of feelings, like, I should have done something better or listened better.”
Wilds, whose account of events 15 years ago was challenged by Serial host Sarah Koenig in the 12-part podcast, went on to admit he doesn’t think he could’ve done anything different to have saved Lee.
“I don’t know if me not moving in Adnan’s circle of people would have saved her life,” he said. “Like, I don’t know if I sold more weed or less weed that Hae would still be alive. You know what I’m saying? I don’t know if there’s anything else I could have done. Maybe I could have listened better, and taken what I heard more seriously.” (As previously reported by Us, Wilds testified in 2000 and told The Intercept in part one of his interview that Syed confronted him about murdering Lee a week before her death.)
Serial podcast host Sarah Koenig was denied an interview by Wilds, because, he says, it would’ve been too painful. “Earlier this summer I got some phone calls from people back in Baltimore that a reporter was asking about me and the case…But it didn’t stick with me, and I didn’t look into it much further…[then] I heard from a few people that [Koenig] was harassing people at their jobs, making countless phone calls [to people] who kept saying they did not want to speak with her. I was talking to one of my friends, who had just recently gotten over a drug addiction, who she tried to talk to about this case. He told me it was really painful for him, and he didn’t want to go back and revisit this crap.”
One person he would’ve talked for, however, was Lee’s mom. “I told Sarah that the only one who deserves any type of closure from any of this is her mom. If [Hae's mother] had some unanswered questions, and she needs to know what happened here, then I’d say, ‘I’ll walk [you] through all that.’ That’s the only person I’m going through all that s—t for.”
As for why Wilds (who said he has yet to listen to Serial) decided to give an interview to The Intercept then, he explained he wants to “clear his name” and he fears for his family. “I’m worried for the safety of my family,” he told the site. “I think the truth is important, and I’m trying to tell it — not for entertainment value.”
Click here to read the entire transcript of part two of Wilds interview.