Adnan Syed was sentenced in 2000 to life in prison for the 1999 kidnapping and murder of his 18-year-old Baltimore high school classmate and ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
Now, as Syed remains behind bars despite the fact that a court overturned his conviction, HBO is unveiling a new four-part documentary about the controversial trial, titled The Case Against Adnan Syed.
In a clip from Sunday night’s episode, Adnan’s attorney Susan Simpson recounts sorting through the files from the trial to get everything in order. That’s how she found a document that outlines how to read the cell reception findings, which were used during the trial to pinpoint Syed’s location.
“It also says, ‘Outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will not be considered liable information for location,’ ” Simpson recalls. “I ask Rabia [Chaudry], ‘Hey, it turns out those calls aren’t reliable.’ And she goes, ‘Oh yeah, no one’s ever seen that before.’ “
“This is a piece of evidence no one ever realized existed for all these years,” echoes Chaudry, an attorney and friend of Syed’s who advocates for him.
“Every call that they use to show something incriminating is an incoming call. The only calls linking Adnan to the burial site are the incoming calls. The only calls linking Adnan to Kristi’s place are the incoming calls,” Simpson explains.
Efforts by Syed’s supporters to free him from prison were jumpstarted when Serial, hosted by former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig, came out in 2014.
The podcast interviewed Syed’s high school classmate Asia McClain, who provided an alibi for him by saying she was with him at the time prosecutors claimed he had killed Lee.
However, McClain was not interviewed or called at trial by Syed’s original attorney, who has since died. Syed’s conviction was vacated and he was granted a new trial in 2016 when a judge agreed with the contention of Syed’s new attorney that he received deficient representation during his murder trial because McClain wasn’t called.
The Lee family has previously said Syed’s efforts to be freed were painful and that they believed he was her killer.
McClain tweeted before the third episode on Sunday asking supporters to tune in for shocking news.
“I want to know your thoughts tonight. I’ve been warning you for wks about tonight’s episode. There is literally an ‘oh s–t moment’ coming. It made my heart sink into my stomach & it’s been there ever since. I’m sick just thinking about it. God help us for whatever is in episode 4,” McClain wrote.
The four-part HBO documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed is currently airing on HBO.