Adnan Syed – subject of the popular podcast Serial – has been awarded a new trial, after his murder conviction was vacated on Thursday.
Speaking to PEOPLE, Adnan’s younger brother Yusef said that another chance in court is something the family has been waiting on for some time now.
“We are happy and in shock still,” Yusef said. “We have waited 20 years for justice.”
Adnan was convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 30 years for the 1999 death of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in what was thought to be an open-and-shut case. But when Sarah Koenig, host of the 12-part NPR podcast, followed the happenings of the killing, combed through testimony and re-interviewed witnesses, new questions were raised about Adnan’s case.
“For me it was like the police were sweeping everything under the carpet, and Sarah went and took out everything,” Adnan’s mother, Shamim Rahman, told PEOPLE last January.
A large part of the state’s case revolved around their star witness, Jay Wilds, who was friends with Adnan at the time of the homicide. On the stand, he stated that he received a call from Adnan and at his request, the pair met up in a Best Buy parking lot.
Wilds added that once he arrived he saw Lee’s body in the trunk of Adnan’s car and agreed to help dump it. Following the end of Serial, Wilds – who pleaded guilty to being an accessory and was sentenced to two years probation – changed his story, saying that he saw Lee’s body in front of his grandmother’s home.
“I know it sounds bad, but I was really happy [about Wilds’ interview],” Yusef told PEOPLE at the time. “This is the thing about Jay – I believe he’s scared of the truth. I think Jay knows what happened.”
Last year, Adnan filed an appeal on the basis that he did not receive effective counsel at trial. He again requested a new trial in February, when an alibi witness said they saw Adnan at the library at the time that the murder took place.
Now with his conviction thrown out and another trial on the way, the family remains hopeful.
“Every day I’m waiting for Adnan to walk through the door and say, ‘Mom, I’m home,'” Rahman said during an interview at her home last year. “I just want him to come home.”