The Supreme Court Just Denied Serial's Adnan Syed a New Murder Trial

He'll continue to serve his life sentence – for now.

by Alex Lubben
25 November 2019, 3:54pm

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

The Supreme Court just denied Adnan Syed’s appeal for a retrial after new information came to light in the hit podcast “Serial.”

Syed, who will continue to serve his life sentence, was convicted in 1999 — without any eyewitnesses — of strangling his high school classmate, 17-year-old Hae Min Lee, to death in the parking lot of a Best Buy. Though his case won’t go before the Supreme Court, his lawyers say they’re going to keep fighting for their client, who maintains his innocence.

Syed has now spent half his life in prison and will continue to serve a life sentence.

"We’re deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court is not taking this case,” C. Justin Brown, Syed’s attorney, told the Baltimore Sun. “But by no means is this the end."

A state court reopened Syed’s case in 2015, a year after “Serial” first aired. At the time, Syed’s lawyers argued that the lawyer in his first trial had been ineffective because she failed to question a witness to would’ve vouched for Syed’s alibi.

Season one of “Serial,” which was downloaded tens of millions of times, featured an interview with Asia McClain, who said she’d seen Syed in the high school library during the time that he was allegedly murdering Lee. McClain wasn’t asked to testify in Syed’s first trial — which Syed’s current lawyers argue constitutes a violation of his right to competent legal representation.

But the state successfully appealed Syed’s new trial, and Maryland’s Court of Appeals agreed earlier this year by just one vote. His lawyers then appealed to the Supreme Court in August.

Cover image: In a Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 file photo, Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun via AP, File)

Adnan Syed
Hae Min Lee