Adnan Syed is the subject of the popular podcast “Serial” that captured the audience of millions in 2014. He was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. A retrial was called in 2016 because of a potential mistrial. Although Syed eventually confessed to killing Lee, the evidence for and against Syed’s innocence is still debatable.
Evidence Against Syed’s Innocence
Well, confessing to a murder doesn’t really help your case. Although he asserts his innocence to this day, he did confess during the original trial.
Jay Wilds’ Testimony
Jay Wilds, one of Syed’s friends, testified that Syed borrowed Wilds’ car, and when he returned it, he had Lee’s body in the trunk and asked for help. Wilds also testified that Syed told him that he intended on killing Lee.
Cell Phone Tower Records
Prosecutors used cell phone tower records to track Syed’s whereabouts to back up Wilds’ testimony. Well, his final version of his testimony. It changed multiple times throughout the trial.
Jennifer Pusateri’s Testimony
Pusteri testified that Wilds had told her about seeing Lee’s body and Syed confessing to her murder. I mean, if I had just seen a dead body, I feel like I’d tell someone else right away too.
Evidence For Syed’s Innocence
Asia McClain’s Story
Asia McClain was one of Asia’s friends who claimed that she was with Syed at the library at the time of the murder. Her story matched up with Syed’s story and provide an alibi. However, McClain never got to testify, which could have potentially changed the course of the trial.
The Key Evidence In The Trial Was A Little Shaky
As mentioned, Wilds’ story had several inconsistencies between his original statements and subsequent testimonies. Additionally, the credibility of cell phone tower records could not be as reliable as the prosecutors made it seem to be.
There Is More Than One Incidence Of Ineffective Counsel
DNA evidence that could have absolved Syed of any guilt was never tested, and Syed’s lawyer Maria Cristina Gutierrez never told him about the evidence despite knowing about it. In addition, McClain wrote letters to Syed when he was in jail. Syed asked Gutierrez to reach out to McClain to help his case. Gutierrez claimed to have done so and that nothing came of it. It was later revealed to be untrue. She died in 2004, so there is no way of knowing why she never disclosed this information.
The Supreme Court declined to review Syed’s case. However, there is a lot of support for providing Syed with a fair trial that he did not receive in 1999.