- High school student Hae Min Lee disappeared and was later found murdered in Baltimore County in 1999.
- Lee’s former boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of these crimes and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in 2000.
- The first season of the NPR podcast “Serial” brought Syed’s case to international attention in 2014, shedding light on inconsistencies in the proceedings.
- On March 10, HBO will premiere the first part of the four-part documentary series called “The Case Against Adnan Syed” that will continue where “Serial” left off.
Ever since NPR’s “Serial” podcast introduced listeners to a not-so-simple case of love gone wrong, the true story of Adnan Syed – and what really happened to Hae Min Lee – has gripped everyone in the world who heard it.
So it should come as no surprise that seasoned documentarian Amy Berg is teaming up with legendary musicians Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – three of the team who also brought true crime fans 2012’s “West of Memphis” – for a new HBO docu-series called “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”
Earlier this year, HBO dropped the trailer for the docu-series entitled “The Case Against Adnan Syed.” The network recently announced that the first part of the four-part series will premiere on March 10 at 9 p.m.
A lot has happened in Syed’s case since NPR’s Sarah Koenig wrapped that first season of “Serial.” Here’s a look back at all the major events.
In 2016, a Baltimore judge granted Syed a retrial based on Syed’s cell phone tower records
The first season of the NPR podcast “Serial” revolved around the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who in the year 2000 was convicted on first-degree murder and kidnapping charges in the death of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in 2000.
NPR presenter Sarah Koenig and her team spent the series revealing all the things about the case that didn’t quite add up. One thing they brought up was potential Syed alibi witness Asia McClain – whom Syed’s trial attorney never called to testify.
Shortly after the final episode of “Serial” went live, Judge Martin P. Welch ordered a new trial for Syed based on cell phone records that called the reliability of location data into question. Judge Welch at that time also rejected McClain’s testimony.
The state immediately appealed Judge Welch’s decision, and among other things cited testimony from two of McClain’s classmates that alleged that McClain had said she would lie to help Syed.
In March 2018, Adnan Syed’s conviction was vacated by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals
On March 29, 2018, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals vacated Syed’s conviction on the basis that Syed had received ineffective legal counsel based on her not having called McClain to testify.
Syed’s original trial lawyer from 2000 has passed away since his conviction, but Syed’s current lawyer, Justin Brown, credited “Serial” with helping him and his team to locate McClain.
After this ruling, the state was given 30 days to appeal this decision – which they did.
In May 2018, Maryland prosecutors appealed
Unsurprisingly, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office did not agree with the decision to grant Syed a new trial. On May 14, 2018, they appealed.
In their argument, they said that McClain’s testimony would not have affected the original outcome of the case.
Murder victim Lee’s friend has publicly cast doubt on the reliability of Syed’s new alibi witness
After Syed’s conviction was vacated, A&E reached out to a friend of Hae Min Lee’s who identified herself only as “Debbie” when appearing on an episode of “Grace vs. Abrams.”
Debbie said that she thinks McClain – who was friends with Syed at the time of the murder – does want to remember what happened. But Debbie doesn’t believe that McClain’s memory is accurate.
“I think that she is riding the publicity at this point and that’s what she is interested in so she is sticking by her story for that purpose,” Debbie told A&E.
In November 2018, the Maryland Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in their review for Syed’s case
The hearing occurred on November 29, 2018.
“A few years ago, Adnan thought that he has to come to terms with maybe dying in prison, and now he feels like there’s a chance that he’s going to come home. He feels good. We all feel good,” Rabia Chaudry, a supporter of Syed who initially brought his case to “Serial,” told Associated Press in November 2018.
In January, Syed’s lawyers filed a new brief pertaining to his alibi
According to the website of the law firm that is representing Syed, “there is no precise timetable” for when the court will announce its final ruling.
In March, the Maryland Court of Appeals announced that it had reinstated Syed’s conviction
Following months of deliberation, the court announced that it ruled that “Debbie’s” alibi testimony would likely not have been enough to cause the jury to reach a different verdict in the original case. Syed’s conviction was reinstated on March 8, just days before the first part of HBO’s “The Case Against Adnan Syed” was set to premiere.
For his part, Syed has consistently claimed he is innocent for the entire 20 years since the crimes took place.