The conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the first season of the podcast Serial, has been vacated by a judge in Baltimore, granting Syed a new trial. Syed's appeals lawyer, Justin Brown, tweeted about the decision on Thursday.
In 2015, Syed was granted leave to appeal. The case was sent to Superior Court to decide the admissibility of McClain's testimony, leading to a post-conviction relief hearing held in February 2016.
WE WON A NEW TRIAL FOR ADNAN SYED!!! #FreeAdnan— Justin Brown (@CJBrownLaw) June 30, 2016
Syed was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. The conviction hinged on the testimony of Syed's friend, Jay, who claimed to have helped Adnan bury Lee's body, but maintained that he did not participate in the actual murder.
Those close to Syed have maintained his innocence and reached out to Sarah Koenig of This American Life. Koenig used the case as the first story for her Serial podcast. Where This American Life routinely featured multiple stories linked only by a theme in each episode, Serial takes the opposite approach, diving deep into a single story over the course of several episodes.
Koenig and her team reviewed thousands of documents, listened to hours of original trial testimony and police interrogations, and interviewed Syed himself. Over the course of Serial's first season, which was released in 2014, she revealed that several complications in the prosecution's case had been overlooked. She also found that Syed may have received poor defense from his attorney, who chose to ignore a potential alibi witness, Asia McClain, and never forced the prosecution to address flaws in their timeline. The podcast brought international attention to the case.