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Adnan Syed from 'Serial' Is Getting a New Trial

An appeals court ruled that his attorney's failure to call up an alibi witness in 2000 warrants Syed another shot at proving his innocence in his girlfriend's murder.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
March 29, 2018, 6:41pm
Photo by Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images

Back in 2016, a Maryland judge granted Adnan Syed—the man at the heart of Serial's first season—a new trial after the podcast threw his murder conviction into question. Prosecutors appealed the decision, hoping to get it thrown out—but now it looks like Syed is officially going back into the courtroom.

On Thursday, an appeals court upheld the lower court's decision, finding that Syed had ineffective representation at his original murder trial in 2000, CBS News reports. The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that his attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, had failed to call up a critical alibi witness: Asia McClain, who claims she was with Syed at the time prosecutors said his high school sweetheart, Hae Min Lee, was murdered, BuzzFeed News reports.


"Trial counsel's deficient performance prejudiced Syed’s defense, because, but for trial counsel’s failure to investigate, there is a reasonable probability that McClain’s alibi testimony would have raised a reasonable doubt in the mind of at least one juror about Syed’s involvement Hae's murder,” the opinion reads.

Syed's murder conviction has now been vacated. His case is headed back to a lower Maryland court, where he'll be tried by jury on his original charges of murder, robbery, kidnapping, and false imprisonment.

Someone cue the Serial theme song.

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Related: Serial Podcaster