UPDATE: The Maryland Office of the Attorney General has released a statement about Adnan Syed’s retrial: “It is the continued desire of the Attorney General to seek justice in the murder of Hae Min Lee. The court ruled in the State’s favor on a number of issues, but there does appear to be at least one ground that will need to be resolved by the appellate courts. The State’s responsibility remains to pursue justice, and to defend what it believes is a valid conviction.”
EARLIER: Adnan Syed has been given a second trial, 16 years after being convicted of murder, according to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.
“WE WON A NEW TRIAL FOR ADNAN SYED!!! #FreeAdnan” Syed’s attorney C. Justin Brown tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Syed was convicted in 2000 for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Serial dug into the case and its particulars during its wildly popular debut season, opening up the idea that a new trial should look into the case.
Those hearings were held last February, when Syed’s team sought a new trial based on two arguments. Brown asserted that in Syed’s original trial, jurors were not informed that cell phone evidence linking Syed to the area of Lee’s burial was inaccurate.
Second, Brown also argued that Syed’s first trial attorney, the late Cristina Gutierrez, was deemed “constitutionally ineffective” by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and never properly explored a potential alibi from Syed’s high school classmate Asia Chapman, née McClain.
Judge Martin P. Welch ruled Thursday the state’s expert witness on the cell phone towers should have been cross-examined by Gutierrez. However, Welch did not find Gutierrez erred by not reaching out to McClain.
Brown and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.