In December 1999, Syed’s first trial resulted in a mistrial. He was convicted of murder during his second trial in February 2000 and given a life sentence. At this point, he had been in prison for almost 20 years, making him 41 years old. All along, he has insisted that he is blameless.
On Monday, he appeared in court while restrained, and the room quickly filled up. He sat beside his lawyer, dressed formally in a white shirt and a tie. Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney, was there, as were his mother and other family members.
When the first season of Serial cast doubt on certain previously accepted pieces of evidence, the case gained international attention in 2014.
The series creator, Sarah Koenig, is a radio producer and former reporter for the Baltimore Sun who spent over a year investigating and detailing the case in hour-long episodes. The podcast’s success led to it being recognized with a Peabody Award.
A judge in Maryland ruled in 2016 that Syed should be retried because of questions raised by the cellphone evidence that led to his conviction.
A lawyer and activist named Rabia Chaudry remarked back in the day, “Adnan is my younger brother’s greatest buddy and like a brother to me as well.” Since the early morning of February 26, 1999, when he was removed from his bed, he has maintained his innocence, and my family and I have always believed him.
Aside from that, Chaudry added, “Every piece of forensic evidence obtained led to Adnan’s innocence. Lee’s body hairs did not match Adnan’s, and the hundreds of soil samples obtained from his clothes, shoes, automobile, and room did not check the soil from Leakin Park.
There was a time when Lee’s family remarked, “It remains hard to witness so many runs to protect someone who perpetrated a heinous crime, which shattered our family, who refuses to accept responsibility when so few are prepared to speak out for Hae.”
They said, “Unlike individuals who read about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials — so many witnesses, so much evidence.”
In response to the retrial order, the state filed an appeal. At last, the Maryland Supreme Court ruled against Syed’s request for a new trial. After being asked to examine the case, the United States Supreme Court ultimately decided not to.
The prosecution submitted a request last week claiming fresh evidence that might cast doubt on Syed’s conviction was unearthed during a joint inquiry with the defense.
During the inquiry, the Mosby office “discovered secret and newly produced material involving two alternate suspects, as well as faulty mobile tower data,” as they put it.
Prosecutors stated they would not divulge information on the suspects because of the ongoing investigation, even though those individuals had been known at the first inquiry and should have been appropriately ruled out or disclosed to the defense.
Becky Feldman, an associate state attorney, presented information that cast doubt on the conviction, including questionable evidence from witnesses and a possibly biased investigation.
I know how tough this is,” Feldman added, “but we need to ensure we hold the right individual accountable.”
No one from Lee’s family spoke out on Monday.
Before deciding whether to seek a new trial or to toss out the case and “confirm [Syed’s] innocence,” investigators are waiting for the findings of “DNA analysis,” as Mosby put it.
The cost of seeking justice, she added, is always worthwhile.
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