BALTIMORE — The conviction of a Maryland man in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend has been vacated, and he been granted a new trial, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday.
Adnan Syed, who is at the center of the popular “Serial” podcast, has long maintained his innocence in the case.
Prosecutors say Adnan Syed strangled Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend, in 1999 and buried her body in a Baltimore park. He was found guilty and is serving a life sentence.
The case received widespread national attention when it became the subject of “Serial,” a podcast that’s been downloaded millions of times. The podcast examines the case against Syed in detail and questions whether his conviction is sound.
Syed’s case received renewed attention in February when the 35-year-old returned to a Baltimore court in the hopes of winning a new trial.
His attorneys argued that his previous criminal defense attorney at his 2000 trial was ineffective because she didn’t investigate a potential alibi witness who claims she saw Syed at a library at the same time prosecutors say he was killing Lee. They also claim much of the cell phone evidence used to prosecute him was unreliable.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch ruled Thursday that Syed deserves another trial because his attorney failed to cross-examine a cell tower expert about the reliability of data that placed Syed’s cellphone near the burial site.