Convicted killer in 'Serial' case gets new trial

Convicted killer in 'Serial' case gets new trial

The decision issued Thursday by the Court of Special Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that Syed's counsel in his original murder trial was deficient and ineffective.

In 2000, he was sentenced to life after being convicted of killing Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend and classmate.

A Maryland appeals court on Thursday granted a new trial on all charges for Adnan Syed, whose case was the subject of the popular podcast "Serial".

A lower court judge vacated Syed's conviction in 2016, citing his attorney's failure to ask key witness Asia McClain Chapman about her claim she saw Syed at the time when prosecutors said Lee was killed.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch had ruled that Syed's original lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, should have cross-examined a witness about the reliability of cellphone tower evidence. Prosecutors appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate appeals court.

Syed has spent the past 18 years in prison.

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Syed's story was widely publicized in the 2014 "Serial" podcast, which cast doubt on his guilt and inspired armchair investigators to unearth new information.

Koenig's telling of Syed's case questioned the state's evidence against him and focused several episodes on Chapman, who said she had seen Syed at the library at the time Lee's murder was said to have taken place - giving him an alibi. In a statement to the Sun, the office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said it was "currently reviewing today's decision to determine next steps".

In the meantime, Syed's current attorney, Justin Brown, has celebrated the decision, tweeting in all-caps: "WE WON THE APPEAL".

Serial became one of the most popular podcasts to have ever been released and the fastest in iTunes history to reach 5 million downloads and streams.

"In addition to being incredibly entertaining, it was a great piece of reporting by [producer] Sarah Koening", Brown said. "We think we're going to win a trial".

This story is developing.

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