Maryland Judge Grants New Trial for ‘Serial’ Podcast’s Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed’s trial became focus of a podcast that captured the attention of millions.

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World
1 min read
In a file photo, Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing. (Photo: AP)

After spending 16 years in prison for the killing of his former high school girlfriend, a man at the center of popular podcast “Serial” has a chance at freedom.

Retired Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch ruled Thursday that Adnan Syed, 35, deserved a new trial because his lawyer didn’t challenge testimony in the case that became the focus of the podcast, which captivated millions of listeners around the world.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering Hae Min Lee a year earlier and burying her in a shallow grave in a park in northwest Baltimore. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Syed’s attorney, Justin Brown, trumpeted the news in a tweet Thursday afternoon:

He planned to discuss the case in a news conference Thursday evening with reporters at his downtown Baltimore office.

This was Syed’s second attempt at a new trial. Asia McClain Chapman, an alibi witness who said she saw Syed at the Woodlawn library about the same time prosecutors say Lee was murdered Chapman, testified at the most recent hearing that Syed’s original prosecutor, Kevin Urick, misled her and mischaracterized their conversation. She said she didn’t learn of Urick’s statements until she listened to “Serial.” Afterward, Chapman reached out to Brown and offered to testify.

The podcast, which debuted in the winter of 2014, attracted millions of listeners and shattered records for the number of times a podcast has been streamed and downloaded.

The loyal army of listeners often acted as armchair detectives, uncovering new evidence and raising new questions about the case.

(With agency inputs.)

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