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Adnan Syed, Subject of Popular 'Serial' Podcast, Gets Murder Retrial

Image: Adnan Syed, Subject of Popular 'Serial' Podcast, Gets Murder Retrial
Convicted murderer Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. (Reuters/Carlos Barria/File Photo)

By    |   Friday, 01 Jul 2016 10:42 AM

Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular "Serial" podcast who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend many years ago, won a new trial from a Maryland judge on Thursday.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Syed, 35, has been serving a life sentence since 2000 in connection with the death of Hae Min Lee in 1999. The two were classmates at Woodlawn High School when her body was found buried at Leakin Park in Baltimore.

Pointing out that questions about cellphone tower evidence should have been raised during cross examination, retired Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed's conviction Thursday.

"We have been fighting for this day for, I think it's been about eight years now, and it's been a grueling fight, and there have been a lot of disappointments along the way, and there were times when it looked like we had lost," said Syed's attorney, C. Justin Brown. "But we made it. We got a new trial."

WBAL-TV wrote that Welch agreed with defense lawyers that Syed's first attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, provided "ineffective assistance for the failure to cross-examine the state's cell tower expert about the reliability of cell tower location evidence" that placed Syed near the burial site.

Brown charged that the cellphone tower testimony was just one of the reasons Syed did not get a fair trial.

"If you're aware of this fundamental problem with the cellphone records, as a criminal defense attorney you must cross-examine about those cellphone records, so it's a question we'll never know the answer to," Brown said.

Welch's decision came after a February hearing where an alibi witness who was featured in the "Serial" podcast — but never called at trial — testified.

"Serial," hosted by "This American Life" producer Sarah Koenig, was downloaded millions of times in 2014. The show's chronicling of the Syed case sparked renewed interest in the trial, wrote USA Today. That helped lead the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to host the hearing in February.

Koenig told The Baltimore Sun that she was surprised by Welch's decision and she was still processing the ruling and "the magnitude of the news."

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Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular "Serial" podcast who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend many years ago, won a new trial from a Maryland judge on Thursday.
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2016-42-01
Friday, 01 Jul 2016 10:42 AM
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