A judge for the Baltimore City Circuit Court ruled on Thursday that Adnan Syed, the man imprisoned more than 15 years ago for the murder of high-schooler Hae Min Lee, will be granted a new trial.
Syed became a household name thanks to Serial, a world-entrancing podcast put together by the team behind This American Life; the show heaped serious doubt on the competence of Syed’s then-defense attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, and unearthed new evidence to suggest that he may have been in the Woodlawn High library at the time of Lee’s slaying.
In February 2016, a five-day hearing for post conviction relief saw key alibi witness Asia McClain step forward to vouch for Syed. Members of the defendant’s new legal team also criticized Gutierrez for failing to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert effectively. (The prosecution’s case rested in large part on Syed’s cellphone records and what they appeared to reveal about his location.) These two factors seem to have swayed judge Martin P. Welch, who today vacated the 35-year-old prisoner’s convictions and approved his request for a retrial.