Adnan Syed is seeking a new trial. Syed, now 35, was 17 when he was convicted of killing his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Adnan, who was interviewed on the extremely popular podcast, Serial, was back in court earlier today, claiming he deserved another trial to prove his innocence.
In 2012, Adnan Syed also petitioned the court for a new trial in the Hae Min Lee murder case and was denied. The Baltimore courtroom was expected to be filled to capacity during the today’s hearing. Relatives, supporters, and a massive media presence from around the country was reportedly converging upon the downtown government building to hear the outcome to the request, NPR reports.
C. Justin Brown, Adnan Syed‘s attorney, is asking for a retrial in circuit court based upon questions raised about cellphone evidence which linked his client to the victim, MSN reports. The cellphone concerns reportedly relate to the stated whereabouts of Syed, which were said to have linked him to the burial site of his Woodland High School former girlfriend. Brown is also expected to present testimony from multiple alibi witnesses who support his client’s claim of innocence.
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— Serial (@serial) February 4, 2016
“We are confident that when the court hears all of the evidence it will do the right thing: grant Adnan Syed a new trial,” Brown noted.
Adnan Syed, with ‘Serial’ followers in tow, arrives in Baltimore courtroom: The attorney for Adnan Syed, the m… https://t.co/S8EgAl5dTA
— Baltimore News (@charmcitynews) February 3, 2016
The attorney general’s office has deemed Syed’s request for a new trial “meritless” and not in the interest of justice. William R. Martin, a renowned attorney, will be called by the prosecutor’s office to refute defense claims that Adnan did not have sufficient counsel during the murder trial. During the trial, the defense attorney attached to the case did not call any alibi witnesses to support the teenager’s claims of innocence. Syed’s original defense attorney, M. Christina Guiterrez, died 14 years ago. An FBI agent, who worked the Boston Marathon bombing case, is being called as an expert witness to debunk claims that the cellphone-based location evidence is inaccurate.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) February 3, 2016
The Baltimore prosecutor originally assigned to the murder case, Kevin Urick, may also be called to testify by the prosecutor’s office.
Yusuf Syed, Adnan’s brother, told local reporters that he and his family are both excited and nervous about the hearing for a new trial.
“The last time we were there, our hearts dropped. We thought it was over,” Yusuf said. “I could never imagine that we could’ve gotten this far. It’s impossible for him to stay in prison after everything we’ve [found].”
During the Hae Min Lee trial, an acquaintance of Syed, Jay Wilds, said that he helped the convicted murder bury the girl’s body in Leakin Park. Cellphone records reportedly link Adnan to the Baltimore park. Asia McClain, a former Woodland High School classmate, wrote letters to Syed after he was behind bars and said that she remembered seeing him at at the library the day Lee was brutally murdered.
— People Magazine (@people) February 3, 2016
When speaking to Baltimore Sun reporters, Asia McClain said that there was no doubt in her mind that it was Adnan Syed she saw at the library. She said that she could not speak to either his guilt or innocence, only to the sighting.
“I know that across offices and homes in America, and beyond, people have been discussing Adnan’s guilt or innocence. I can only tell you what it is I know. Whether this information means that Adnan is innocent, or deserves a new trial, is a decision for others to make.”
During a post-conviction hearing in 2012, Urick testified that McClain has informed him that she had written the alibi affidavit because she was feeling “pressure” by Syed’s family to do so. The young woman now maintains that she did not appear at the hearing because the then prosecutor “discussed the evidence of the case in a manner that seemed designed” to make her believe that the accused was guilty and that she “should not bother” participating in the trial.
The Serial podcast interview with Syad reportedly raised questions about an alleged overzealous mindset by the prosecuting attorney and a lack of skill by the defense attorney.
[Image via AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]