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"Serial" podcast convicted murderer granted request for an appeal

Adnan Syed made waves last year when he was featured on the wildly popular NPR podcast Serial. Now, 15 years after being convicted for the 1999 murder of his then-girlfriend Han Min Lee, Syed may be getting another chance to overturn the court’s decision.

On May 18, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted a request to let Syed submit a request to have the court reconsider the verdict, on the grounds that Syed was not given a fair trial in 2000.

Syed has maintained his innocence since being convicted, although in Serial it was clear that Syed had given up hope of clearing his name -- even though, according to Business Insider and TIME magazine, Syed’s lawyer failed to defend him properly because she did not call to the stand a witness who supposedly had an alibi for Syed during the time of the murder.

Without NPR’s podcast, it’s unlikely that Syed would have gotten this chance. Even though health and education experts tend to frown on the fact that Americans now spend nearly three hours per day on their smartphones and tablets, the buzz generated by so many angry Serial listeners seems to have translated directly into real-life results.

The witness, Asia McClain, claims to have been with Syed during the time when he supposedly strangled Lee to death. McClain attended high school with both Syed and Lee, and she even wrote a letter to Syed after his conviction stating that she remembered talking to him in the library during that time.

Syed’s lawyers have 45 days to file an appeal in the Baltimore Circuit Court in order to call McClain to the stand. Although her testimony may not prove Syed’s innocence in the murder of Lee, very much like the investigation documented inSerial, it’s expected that her testimony will call into question whether Syed can still be considered a likely suspect beyond a reasonable doubt.

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