Adnan Syed will get another chance to prove his innocence. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled on Thursday, March 29, that the subject of the 2014 podcast Serial should be granted a new trial.
Syed was convicted in 2000 of the first-degree murder and kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. The conviction was called into question in season 1 of Serial, the investigative podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig.
The appeals panel wrote in the ruling, which was posted on the Maryland court’s website, that Syed’s original attorney, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, had failed to investigate a potential alibi witness, Asia McClain, whose testimony could have “made it impossible for Syed to have murdered Hae.”
Syed’s new lawyer, Justin Brown, celebrated the news on Twitter, writing, “WE WON THE APPEAL #FreeAdnan.”
WE WON THE APPEAL. #FreeAdnan
— Justin Brown (@CJBrownLaw) March 29, 2018
McClain sent two letters to Syed after his 1999 arrest, stating that she had seen him at a public library at the time that Lee was killed. Gutierrez, who died in 2004, claimed she had contacted McClain, which was later disproved and played a key role in Syed’s argument that Gutierrez had been negligent in her defense.
Syed, who was given a life sentence for the crime, has maintained his innocence since the beginning.
Prosecutors did not immediately announce whether they plan to appeal Thursday’s ruling.
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