(CN) – A Maryland appeals court dealt Adnan Syed, the subject of the hit podcast “Serial,” a significant victory Monday afternoon ruling the convicted murderer’s case should be remanded to the Baltimore City Circuit Court for further proceedings.
Syed, who was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, is seeking a new trial, and today’s ruling revolves around his argument that his lawyer, Christina Gutierrez, failed to present the testimony of Asia McClain, who has claimed for years that she saw the then-teen in a school library at the same time that he is alleged to have committed the murder.
Syed was 19 when his high school classmate and former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, was strangled to death in January 1999. After two trials — the first ending in a mistrial — he was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence in a Maryland state prison.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals remanded the case so that the circuit court can consider a new affidavit submitted by McClain.
McClain was a classmate of the victim and the man convicted of her murder. She claims Syed was with her in Woodlawn Public Library at the time the murder is believed to have occurred. Prosecutors said during the trial that McClain recanted that story, but she recently said that wasn’t the case and has said she will testify, if needed, during Syed’s appeal.
Syed’s previous attempt to receive post-conviction relief was denied by the very same Baltimore City Court that once again has his fate in its hands.
“We believe that a stay of this appeal and a limited remand to the circuit is in the interest of justice,” said the ruling by Chief Judge Peter Krauser, announcing the decision to remand the case.
The appeals court’s action doesn’t guarantee Syed will get a new trial, but it opens a door that has to date been closed to the convicted man.
“The purpose of the stay and the remand is to provide Syed with the opportunity to file with the circuit court a request … to re-open the previously concluded post-conviction proceeding in light of Ms. McClain’s January 13, 2015, affidavit, which has not heretofore been reviewed or considered by the circuit court,” Krauser wrote.
“Moreover, because the affidavit was not presented to the circuit court during Syed’s post-conviction proceedings, as it did not then exist, it is not a part of the record and, therefore, this Court may not properly consider it in addressing the merits of this appeal,” he continued. “This remand, among other things, will afford the parties the opportunity to supplement the record with relevant documents and even testimony pertinent to the issues raised by this appeal.”
If the circuit court does grant his request and begins hearing new evidence, that evidence would ultimately go back to the Court of Special Appeals for review.
As recounted in “Serial,” Syed was convicted without any eyewitnesses or physical evidence tying him to the murder. The prosecution’s case rested primarily on the testimony of another classmate, Jay Wilds, who claimed he helped Syed dispose of Lee’s body, which was found in a shallow grave in a Baltimore park a month after her murder.
- Insurance Headache After Chinese Baby Food Recall
- Label Investment Called a ‘Heartbreak Hotel’