A judge in Baltimore has granted Adnan Syed—the subject of the podcast Serial’s debut season—a new trial for the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Syed, now 35, was convicted of first degree murder in 2000, at age 19, and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2014, the uber-hit podcast Serial launched the crime back into public consciousness and onto the national stage, drawing millions of listeners as it explored Syed’s case and the relatively small (and potentially unreliable) amount of evidence that put him in prison. When the season wrapped up at the end of 2014, it had an estimated 40 million downloads.
With the season over, fans of the podcast now have another chapter to watch closely. Retired Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed’s murder conviction today, The Baltimore Sun reports, writing that his attorney at the time “rendered ineffective assistance when she failed to cross-examine the state's expert regarding the reliability of cell tower location evidence,” referring to the evidence used to place Syed near where the body was found.
As for whether or not the podcast played a part in this new development, the judge admits he didn't listen to the series and added, "Regardless of the public interest surrounding this case, the court used its best efforts to address the merits of [Syed's] petition for post-conviction relief like it would in any other case that comes before the court, unfettered by sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion."
(Meanwhile, this is a good excuse to dive back into the myriad Serial-spawned conspiracy theories surrounding the crime.)
[h/t The Baltimore Sun]
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