There is enough evidence to identify the apparent killer, who is not the person in prison for the crime, but many people might not understand the motive, so this page will outline that.
First, what are the key pieces of evidence with respect to motive?
1 The girl was initially beaten by somebody she offended. She did something, or was perceived as doing something, that violated somebody else’s worldview, within a space that person considered theirs.
It was not a case of somebody defending themself against a physical attack from her. The killer was ‘defending’ himself from abstract threats, which might or might not have been legitimate.
2 She was initially injured, then left for a while, then ‘finished off’ by somebody who then complicated the murder scene by trying to ‘stage’ a different motive.
3 All of the people involved are used to that type of crime. It is a regular part of the Burmese ethnic landscape. If you Google ‘Burma, rape accusation, ethnic riot’ you will find a series of high profile events which were common knowledge among the people involved in this case.
An analogous motive was common up to several generations ago in the U.S. A white person would accuse a black person of a crime like that, for example, and people who didn’t know the ruse would instantly attack the black person.
In other words, the killer belongs to the same ethnic group as her, and injured her for one reason, then killed her and staged a different crime to give the appearance of her having been killed for a different reason by somebody from a different ethnic group.
The falsified crime scene, i.e., the staged sex crime, was not very sophisticated. The killer was not very educated and did the best he could, but it was crude by urban standards. In a rural village it would have easily worked. The villagers would have seen a dead child with something vaguely resembling rape injuries, and they would note that the body was found sort of in the living area of a competing ethnicity person, and that would be enough to kill the minority ethnicity person, along with as many others of that ethnic group as they could.
In this case the ‘rape’ scenario and ethnic motive were almost immediately disproven by simple circumstantial facts, as well as forensics. These facts were then distorted by authorities to hide numerous ‘mistakes’ made by police, FBI agents and others.
If a person wanted to lay blame, initial responsibility obviously would go to those who housed one weaker member of one ethnic group with four members of a competing group who were more established and secure in their new society. They had given jobs to the members of the stronger group, but did not give him a job, nor other useful assistance, which contributed to the appearance of guilt.
It’s like putting a mouse and a cat in a cage together. Unless the goal is to feed the cat, it makes no sense.
In other words, he was brought to the U.S. by them, not speaking any English, and was then left to languish in the basement of a house where four competing ethnic foes were not happy about his presence.
After the killing the public was told about ‘four roommates who had jobs and local friends’ and ‘one roommate who did not work and was not locally established’, but the general public was not given a more accurate picture.
So, at this point there is ‘a killer’ who had one motive for injuring the girl, then a second motive for killing her and staging a sex crime. Motive #1 and motive #2.
Motive #1, the initial injuring of the child, is not hard to figure out. In the Esar Met interview, he refers to being scolded by one of the younger roommates about various things neighbor children did at the apartment like taking food from the refrigerator, making prank calls on their telephone etc.
One of the the younger roommates was ‘translating’ to Esar Met some of the rules laid out by the older roommates. The older roommates were openly hostile to Esar Met, as evidenced by their police interviews, while the two younger roommates were a bit more cosmopolitan.
So Hser had offended one of the older roommates, he injured her for that offense, like hitting a child who talks back. The injury was somewhat serious, but not initially fatal.
Motive #2, the killing and staging of a sex crime, is a motive that all of the older Burmese people involved recognized immediately. This is evident in things they did and said.
Some or most of the Salt Lake City police may have been a bit confused about this, but the FBI agents were quick to realize what happened and what the implications were. They realized it would be difficult to tell the public that they got a confession from an innocent person, but there are worse reasons they had for the coverup. Those can be researched by anybody interested.
As mentioned earlier, the killer is a ‘rural’ person. Poorly educated, used to poverty and accustomed to addressing survival issues.
His actions might not have been appropriate for Salt Lake City in 2008, but they were useful tactics in the grittier environment where he lived most of his life.
More relevant though are the motives of the various people who helped convict Esar Met, knowing that he was not guilty.
A lot of the police, FBI agents, and others trying to prevent the public from learning certain details were mostly motivated by simple ambition i.e., they did not want to lose their jobs and be held liable for their mistakes. Most Americans understand that motive, it’s simple corruption, other motives for certain aspects of the coverup will be ignored for now.
Much more interesting though, if a person researches the case they learn that most of the older Burmese, even those on the periphery of the case, knew the truth early.
What was their motive, and why did they hide it from the younger Burmese?
There is a lot more that could be added to this page.
Anybody can research the case and flesh out details.