Jay Wilds, Key Witness in Serial Podcast, Breaks His Silence For First Time Since Adnan Syed’s Arrest: Graphic Details

Jay Wilds
Jay Wilds, the key witness detailed in hit podcast Serial, broke his silence in an interview with The Intercept  Courtesy of Natasha Cooper-Vargas for The Intercept

If you’ve been listening to hit podcast Serial this holiday season, then you’re likely dying to hear from Jay Wilds, the key witness in the 2000 murder trial against Adnan Syed. After denying Serial host Sarah Koenig an interview, Wilds has finally broken his silence to The Intercept.

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In case you’ve missed it, Wilds testified against Syed in 2000, claiming that Syed murdered his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. In the 12 episodes of Serial, Koenig set out to challenge Wilds’ account of events which ultimately landed Syed in prison for life. 

The former weed dealer explained to The Intercept when he first met Syed in 1998 at the age of 16, he didn’t “trust him at first” and he seemed “a little pompous” and “arrogant.” Wilds, who testified that he was with Syed the day he allegedly murdered Lee and helped dig her grave, also said he was never really friends with the now convicted murderer.

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“There was never a real friendship,” Wilds told The Intercept. “I only smoked with him two or three times. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we’re down in the park, come on down.’ We were friendly, we were cool. I might have sat next to him in a class, and joked or something. But he didn’t call me unless he needed something.”

Adnan Syed yearbook photo
Adnan Syed Courtesy of Serial

During the trial, and as detailed by Serial, Wilds testified that Syed informed him he was going to murder Lee. When asked by The Intercept, Wilds recalled that Syed told him he was going to kill Lee “at least a week before she died, when he found out she was either cheating on him or leaving him,” and that it came up “just normal conversation like, ‘I think she’s f—king around. I’m gonna kill that bitch, man.'”

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“I thought he was just blowing off steam and bullshitting,” Wilds said. “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.”

Wilds, sticking to his testimony, told the site he didn’t know that Syed was going to kill Lee the day he dropped him off after school and borrowed his car. “I didn’t know that he planned to murder her that day,” he said. “I didn’t think he was going to go kill her.” Wilds, who recalled when he picked up Syed that day he told him, “‘Oh shit, I did it. I killed Hae,’” went on to explain why he then helped bury her body. 

The former pot dealer explained he was nervous if he didn’t help Syed get rid of Lee’s body that he’d get busted by the police for selling drugs. “Syed said, ‘You’ve gotta help me, or I’m gonna tell the cops about you and the weed and all that shit,’” he recalled, adding that is when he saw Lee’s dead body which looked “kinda purple [and] blue” in Syed’s trunk.

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“[He said] ‘Just help me dig the hole.’ And I’m still thinking, ‘Inner-city black guy, selling pot to high school kids.’ The cops are going to fry me. They’re gonna pin me to the f–king wall. I had cops show up and harass me before at my house. I told [Syed] that I wouldn’t touch her car, or any of her possessions, and I say, ‘F–k it. I’ll help you dig the hole’…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…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.’”

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According to The Intercept, this was only part one of Wilds interview. Upcoming part two will address “Jay’s theory on the anonymous caller, why he agreed to testify in the state’s case against Adnan, and how Serial showed up at his front door.” Click here to read part one in full.

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