If you were one of the over 175 million people who downloaded and listened to the podcast “Serial,” you’re familiar with Adnan Syed. In 2000, he was found guilty on charges of kidnapping and murdering his then-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and was sentenced to prison for life, plus 30 years. On March 29, 2018, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that he should be granted a new trial on all charges.
Syed has been in prison for 18 years now and his case got international attention in 2014 because of the true crime podcast “Serial.” Created by the team behind NPR‘s “The American Life” and hosted by Sarah Koenig, it won a Pulitzer and a Peabody award. In fact, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the co-creators of FOX comedy “The Last Man on Earth” were trying to adapt the podcast as a potential TV drama.
The first season of “Serial” chronicled the entire case of how Syed was arrested and convicted after his ex-girlfriend Lee’s body was found a month after she disappeared. He pleaded non-guilty and continues to maintain his innocence. A few weeks after the season finale, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals made a decision to allow Syed to repeal his conviction. His original lawyer Maria Cristina Gutierrez did not do a sufficient job of getting a plea deal and she also failed to bring to court a key witness, Syed’s classmate Asia McClean, who could provide an alibi for him at the time of the murder. The most recent decision is filed around the same claims.
Syed’s lawyer Justin Brown is hoping the State doesn’t appeal to the court to overthrow this ruling.
It was a good day today. Thank you all for your support. Glad you’re on our side. Good night and #FreeAdnan
— Justin Brown (@CJBrownLaw) March 30, 2018
Similarly, Syed’s longtime family friend and lawyer Rabia Chaudhry, who appeared frequently on “Serial” season 1, considers this ruling a victory of sorts, something Syed has been waiting for for years.
WE WON WE WON WE WON WE WON!!!!!!!!!#FreeAdnan
— rabia O’chaudry (@rabiasquared) March 29, 2018
In detailing what might happen next, PBS maps out the three possible options, the most likely being a plea deal offered to Syed, one that might be good for both sides involved.
We will keep updating this with more details as they unravel.