The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the appeal of Adnan Syed, the Maryland man convicted in 2000 for the murder of his girlfriend whose case was spotlighted by the groundbreaking “Serial” podcast.
“Serial” launched in 2014 as a spinoff of NPR’s “This American Life” and became an overnight podcasting hit. In the first season, Sarah Koenig investigated Syed’s murder conviction for the death of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore. “Serial” raised questions about the evidence against him, including an account of Asia McClain, who claimed she saw Syed at a public library during the time of Lee’s murder. That led to a 2016 ruling granting Syed a retrial; last year the Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that Syed had received ineffective legal counsel for not calling McClain as a witness and that his conviction should be vacated.
In March of this year, the state’s highest court denied Syed a retrial and he appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
“We’re deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court is not taking this case,” C. Justin Brown, Syed’s attorney, told the Baltimore Sun. “But by no means is this the end.”
Syed, now 39, has been serving a life sentence in prison since 2000. He has maintained his innocence.
Syed’s case also was the subject of a four-part HBO docu-series by director Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”) called “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” for which the filmmaker hired private investigators and reached out to new allies following the release of the “Serial” podcast.