Key 'Serial' witness fears for his family's safety

Jay Wilds says he feels 'demonized' in 'Serial' podcast.

Update2: "Serial" fans -- now's your chance to decide who you believe. The third and final part of "The Intercept's" interview with Jay Wilds finally was made available to curious readers everywhere on New Year's Day.

Wilds, the key witness against convicted murderer Adnan Syed, said that the revival of interest in the 15-year-old murder of Hae Min Lee has resulted in a "scary" focus of attention on him and his family.

Wilds told reporter Natasha Vargas-Cooper that since the 12-part broadcast begain airing this fall, he and his wife no longer allow their children to walk to school. People have videotaped his house and strangers have posted comments indicating that they plan to confront him. He also thinks that the blitz of media attention since "Serial" began might have caused him to lose a construction job.

Wilds said that series producer and former Sun reporter Sarah Koenig "created an evil archetype of me and sensationalized my motives."

As he put it:

"It helped fan the flames of this story that people had already moved on from."

You can read the full interview at https://firstlook.org/theintercept.

 

Update: Hey, all you "Serial" fanatics -- part 2 of "The Intercept's" three-part interview with Jay Wilds has hit the web.

In it, Wilds expresses his anger at series creator and former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig, whom he accuses of "demonizing" him in addition to harassing his friends.

Wilds also told reporter Natasha Vargas-Cooper that he feels guilty for helping Adnan Syed bury the body of Adnan's former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

"I felt quite ashamed and embarrassed," Wilds says. "My girlfriend’s mother learned about it [Wilds' involvement in the burial], 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."

You can read the full interview here. And don't forget to check in tomorrow for Part 3.

Jay Wilds has broken his long silence.

The prosecution's star witness against Adnan Syed, the former Baltimore teen convicted of murdering his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee in 1999, spoke publicly for the first time in decades to the online publication "The Intercept."

The 15-year-old murder case has become an Internet sensation based on the 12-part podcast, "Serial" a spinoff of the radio show "This American Life." The podcast raises questions about Wilds' previous testimony; Wilds previously declined to be interviewed over the air by the show's creator, former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig.

But in a long interview published Monday on The Intercept, Wilds provided a detailed description of the aftermath of the slaying as he recalls it 15 years after the fact.

Wilds' interview with Natasha Vargas-Cooper contradicts not just the podcast but some details of his own previous testimony. For instance, Wilds says that he didn't know that Syed planned to kill Lee until he was blackmailed into helping to bury her body in a shallow grave in Leakin Park.

At the time, Wilds was dealing drugs. He said that Syed threatened to go to police, and he feared both that he would face a long prison term and that he would get family members in trouble.

"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," Wilds says in the interview. "I was also running [drug] operations from my grandmother’s house. So that would ruin her life too."

Once police persuaded Wilds that they weren't interested in prosecuting him for dealing drugs, he says, he became more cooperative.

Previously, "The Intercept," which was founded in February by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar, has been best known for publishing classified documents leaked by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

This latest scoop is certain to generate a quite different buzz.

 

 

 

 

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