June 30, 2016

Adnan Syed, the convicted murderer whose case was central to the storyline of the hit podcast “Serial,” is getting another trial 16 years after being imprisoned for killing a Baltimore-area teenager.

Earlier Thursday, Maryland judge Martin Welch granted the retrial on the grounds that Adnan’s trial lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, “rendered ineffective assistance when she failed to cross-examine the state’s expert regarding the reliability of cell tower location evidence,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

Lingering questions surrounding Syed’s trial for the murder of Hae Min Lee, a classmate at Woodlawn High School, occupied latter parts of the first season of “Serial,” Sarah Koenig’s multi-part podcast that recently concluded its second season.

Syed’s lawyer, Justin Brown, tweeted out the news Thursday.

The retrial comes after testimony on Syed’s behalf by Asia McClain, a former schoolmate who said she saw and talked to Syed at the time Lee was being killed, according to The New York Times. Also called into question was the validity of testimony from an AT&T engineer:

In February, Mr. Syed’s defense challenged the testimony of an AT&T engineer whose sworn statements on cellphone data were used to link Mr. Syed to the park where Ms. Lee’s body was buried. The engineer, Abraham Waranowitz, said he was not shown a crucial disclaimer about cell tower data that would have affected his testimony in the murder trial.

“Serial” was a breakthrough hit that raised the profile of podcasting as the medium was beginning to go through a renaissance. In the wake of its first season, several news organization began investing in podcasting, including Gimlet Media, Slate, BuzzFeed, The New York Times, New York and NPR, to name a few.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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