Adnan Syed, the focus of season one of the hit podcast Serial, has been granted a new trial in the 1999 murder of his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
Syed was found guilty in 2000 of killing Lee, a fellow student at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore, Maryland, and then dumping her body in the ciyt’s Leakin Park.
His attorneys tweeted the news Thursday afternoon:
Judge Martin P. Welch granted the new trial based on the ineffective assistance of Syed’s trial attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, according to the court order, released by the Baltimore City Court.
Welch said Syed’s attorneys in the appeal successfully argued that he received ineffective assistance when Gutierrez failed to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert about the reliability of cell tower location evidence. The conviction in the case has been vacated.
Welch rejected arguments that the trial counsel provided ineffective assistance when she failed to contact a potential alibi witness, Asia McClain.
He also rejected an argument of prosecutorial misconduct. Syed’s attorneys claimed potentially exculpatory evidence about the reliability of cell tower location evidence was withheld.
You can read the court order granting him a new trial below:
The judge’s full opinion in the case can be read below:
Syed was serving a sentence of life plus 30 years in prison. He was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment in 2000.
Serial brought worldwide attention to the case in 2014, with a 12-episode series about the case.
The state can appeal the judge’s most recent ruling, and Syed’s attorneys say they expect prosecutors to do so.