'We Are Devastated': Adnan Syed Dealt Legal Blow

Maryland Court of Appeals denies him a new trial in 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2019 6:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – Maryland’s highest court doesn't believe Asia McClain could have changed the outcome of Adnan Syed's trial. In a 4-3 ruling, the state's Court of Appeals on Friday reversed a lower court's decision that Syed's murder conviction should be vacated, denying him a new trial. Syed, whose case catapulted to national attention thanks to the Serial podcast, is serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of former high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Asia McClain was a classmate of Syed's who claimed to have seen him at the library during the time Lee disappeared; she was not called to testify. The Court of Appeals agreed Syed's lawyer, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, was "deficient" in not calling McClain.

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But the majority opinion found that "given the totality of the evidence the jury heard, we conclude that there is not a significant or substantial possibility that the verdict would have been different had trial counsel presented" McClain, reports the Baltimore Sun. Though Syed’s lead attorney, C. Justin Brown, says "we are devastated" by the outcome, he added that his team thinks there are "at least three other avenues of relief" they can seek. He did not elaborate. KREM reports that McClain, now Asia McClain Chapman, called the ruling "not acceptable" during a 15-minute interview posted to Twitter Friday. The New York Times notes that Gutierrez died in 2004. The four-part documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed premieres Sunday night on HBO. (Read more Adnan Syed stories.)

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