The Supreme Court Has Denied “Serial” Subject Adnan Syed a New Murder Trial

Syed was convicted of strangling his ex-girlfriend in 1999

adnan syed
Adnan Syed has been serving a life sentence since 2000.
Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun

Adnan Syed, the subject of the 2014 podcast Serial, has been denied a retrial of his murder case by the Supreme Court, the Baltimore Sun reported Monday.

Syed has been serving a life sentence since 2000, after he was convicted in 1999 of strangling his ex-girlfriend, 17-year-old Hae Min Lee, to death in a Best Buy parking lot. The case became the subject of the 12-episode first season of Serial in 2014, in which new information that could potentially acquit Syed came to light.

The case was reopened a year later, with Syed’s lawyers arguing that the lawyer in the initial trial failed to question a witness who could have corroborated Syed’s alibi. The witness, Asia McClain, was interviewed for Serial, in which she said she had seen Syed in the high school library during the period of time when he was alleged to have murdered Lee. McClain was not asked to testify in Syed’s original trial, and Syed’s attorney at the time has since died.

Syed’s lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court in August, after the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Syed a new trial and reinstated his conviction in March.

Despite being denied by the Supreme Court, Syed’s lawyers said they will continue to fight on behalf of their client, though the defense team has declined to specify what options remain available.

“We’re deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court is not taking this case,” said Syed’s attorney, C. Justin Brown, “but by no means is this the end.”

Syed’s case was also the subject of the 2019 HBO documentary, The Case Against Adnan Syed.

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