Adnan Syed, who millions of fans came to know on the wildly popular podcast Serial, just had his conviction for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, overturned because he wasn't provided with adequate legal representation. He has been serving a life sentence since 2000. While his attorneys try and get him out of jail, there are reports of three specific pieces of evidence that could free Adnan Syed in a new trial for the murder.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Syed's attorney for the past seven years, C. Justin Brown, just brought on some legal heavy hitters to the defense team from the firm Hogan Lovells who have offered to do the work pro bono.
"If the state elects to proceed with a retrial, we intend to tap into our extensive trial experience and many years of handling innocence cases to work to ensure that Adnan receives the best legal defense possible," Steve Barley, managing partner of Hogan Lovells' Baltimore office, told the Sun.
Following the news of Syed's conviction being thrown out, Brown talked about the years of work that went into getting a new trial and the fact that he was struggling to get in touch with Syed in prison to tell him the good news. Here's the press conference.
In addition to a beefed up defense squad, Syed's childhood friend and advocate, Rabia Chaudry, clearly laid out the evidence of his innocence that will be used in a new trial — including a new development that hadn't been made public — in an article for The Guardian.
1. A New Witness
Asia McClain was never contacted by Syed's defense attorney, according to Chaudry, but McClain said she was with Syed at the library until 2:40 p.m., when he said he had to leave to change for track practice. Chaudry said Lee was last seen at school on Jan. 13, 1999 at 2:15 p.m. and was missing by the time she was supposed to pick up her cousin from school at 3:30 p.m.
2. Track Practice
This is the bit of evidence Chaudry says is new: there is proof Syed arrived for a track practice at 3:30 p.m., and witnesses who saw him on his way there, meaning there was no time his whereabouts were unaccounted for while the murder was reportedly taking place.
3. Full Frontal Lividity
According to Colin Miller a law professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, the prosecution said Lee was strangled and placed in the trunk of her car. But the medical examiner found evidence of fixed frontal lividity, which indicated Lee laid flat for several hours after her death, rather than being folded up in the trunk of her 1998 Nissan Sentra. Miller goes into deep detail on the particulars of lividity as it relates to Syed's case.
While Syed and his supporters welcome the news, the Lee family released this statement about the decision in the case of the murder of their 17-year-old daughter.
"We continue to believe justice was done when Mr. Syed was convicted of killing Hae," the family said in a statement released by the Office of the Attorney General, according to WHAM Baltimore. "We are very disappointed by the Judge's decision."
Regardless of the outcome for Syed, this family said it will "continue to grieve."