Adnan Syed of 'Serial' has been granted a new trial

Adjust Comment Print

Adnan Syed, known to many as a subject of the popular podcast "Serial", has been granted a new trial 18 years after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend and sentenced to a life in prison.

In the meantime, Syed's current attorney, Justin Brown, has celebrated the decision, tweeting in all-caps: "WE WON THE APPEAL". The Wayne County District Attorney's Office declined to re-prosecute him after a judge vacated his original sentence, concluding that a key witness in his 1971 trial had lied on the stand. But it remains a possibility that prosecutors will appeal Thursday's decision to Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

His story was the subject of the first season of "Serial", which examined the events leading up to and after the murder of Lee. Prosecutors at trial matched Wilds' version of events to incoming and outgoing calls on Syed's cell phone, claiming that cell tower "pings" showed that Syed was at Leakin Park in West Baltimore, where Lee's body was later found.

Syed maintained his innocence, and in 2014 his case attracted global attention when it was featured on the "Serial" podcast, which was downloaded millions of times and prompted legions of listeners to scrutinize the case online. The ruling can still be appealed to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, which means Syed's conviction could be upheld.

Convicted murderer Adnan Syed arrives at the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016.

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff disagreed with the majority, saying Syed had failed to overcome the presumption that his trial lawyer's failure to contact McClain was based on reasonable trial strategy.

Prosecutors appealed that decision, only to lose that appeal Thursday in a 2-1 ruling.

"In addition to being incredibly entertaining, it was a great piece of reporting by [producer] Sarah Koening", Brown said.

A new trial is not yet written in stone. But the state appealed that ruling. We're thrilled. It's been a really long wait.