The 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee captivated the nation in 2014 thanks to the podcast Serial, and now Adnan Syed, the man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that slaying, will be allowed to submit new evidence regarding his case, a Baltimore judge ruled Friday. Much of the new evidence was first revealed on the popular podcast, like circumstantial cell tower evidence and a witness that provides a potential alibi for Syed, the BBC reports.
While Syed’s lawyer in his initial murder trial failed to bring up this evidence to court – a point of contention on Serial – his new legal team will be allowed to at a new hearing. In February, Syed was first granted an appeal after a court agreed that his original lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to submit key evidence during his trail. The date for Syed’s appeal, which would now include the new evidence, has not yet been scheduled.
As Serial revealed to the podcast’s 5 million listeners, a witness – Syed and Lee’s classmate Asia McClain – saw Syed at the school library roughly around the time investigators believe Lee was killed; McClain never testified at the original murder trail. Following the success of the podcast, McClain wrote a new affidavit in January supporting Syed.
Syed’s conviction also hinged on strong cell tower data that planted him in the vicinity of the Baltimore-area park where Lee’s body was eventually discovered on the night of her death. However, a motion filed in August called to question the “misleading” nature of that cell tower data, adding that it never should have been admitted as evidence in the first place.
However, while the new evidence casts further reasonable doubt over an already muddied murder case, it doesn’t negate the testimony of the prosecution’s chief witness, Syed’s former friend Jay Wilds. On the stand and in police interviews, Wilds said that Syed showed him Lee’s body in the trunk of his car before assisting him in hiding her body. While Wilds did not cooperate with Serial, he stuck to his story when interviewed by The Intercept in December.