Award-winning journalist Sarah Koenig brought Adnan Syed to our attention when she explored his case — he was convicted of murder by manual strangulation of an 18-year-old high school student, Hae Min Lee in 1999 — in her hugely popular podcast, Serial; and there has now been a massive new development in the case.
On Thursday, a Baltimore judge ordered a new trial for Syed, who has been serving a life sentence since 2000, The Baltimore Sun reports. According to the publication, retired Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed's conviction on Thursday, saying that there were questions about cellphone tower evidence that should have been raised by his trial team.
The ruling comes just four months after a hearing that included testimony from an alibi witness who had also been featured on Serial.
Many believe that Syed should not be behind bars — although he was found guilty by a jury, there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, instead, the prosecution relied heavily on the testimony of Jay Wilds, an acquaintance (who avoided prison time by working with investigators) who claims he helped bury Lee's body in Leakin Park.
Syed remains in prison in Western Maryland, but the work of Serial blogger and attorney Susan Simpson is credited with helping to produce the evidence that judge Welch cited in granting a new trial.
"We have been fighting for this day for, I think it's been about eight years now, and it's been a grueling fight, and there have been a lot of disappointments along the way, and there were times when it looked like we had lost," attorney C. Justin Brown said, The Baltimore Sun reports. "But we made it. We got a new trial."
Serial's coverage of Syed's case attracted worldwide attention, and led many interested listeners to scrutinize the case in detail, but what does co-producer and host Koenig think about Welch's ruling?
According to the publication she said she was still processing the ruling and the magnitude of the news and declined to comment further. However, the official Twitter page for Serial did share information on the ruling for a new trial.
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