Serial Alibi Witness Would Testify

21 Jan 2015

Serial Alibi Witness Would Testify

The real-time drama of the murder case portrayed in the Serial podcast continues to unfold as a key witness filed a new affidavit and is willing to testify in defense of an alibi for
Adnan Syed.

Serial Podcast Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed, who was convicted in 1999 for killing his ex-girlfriend.
Photograph: AP/Courtesy Yusef Syed

The wildly popular podcast follows the 1999 murder case of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of strangling her and was sentenced to life in prison. Although the case is closed, public interest spiked this past Fall when the case was highlighted in a new podcast called Serial, created by the producers of the praised This American Life podcast. Serial has been downloaded more than 5 million times and is considered the most successful podcast in the world.

Today’s newest juicy detail in the unraveling case is Asia McClain, a key witness who has a potential alibi for Syed. McClain was a fellow classmate with Lee and Syed at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore. McClain came forward Tuesday to stand by her testimony that she saw Syed at a public library at the proposed time of the murder and talked to him for 20 minutes. McClain did tell authorities and the defense legal team about her testimony, but the information never made it to court. Syed’s lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, never called her during the trial. Gutierrez was disbarred the following year and died from a heart attack in 2004. McClain also wrote to Syed in jail about the alibi.

Gutierrez’s inaction on the alibi was grounds for an appeal in 2010 but once again, McClain’s testimony was thrown out. This time it was due to prosecutor Kevin Urick’s testimony that McClain was under pressure from the Syed family to produce an alibi.

McClain now 33 years old, said she was never approached by the Syed family. In the most recent affidavit, she wrote that Urick manipulated her to not testify in person and that the case was already stacked against Syed with overwhelming evidence. At no point, she writes, did she say she was pressured into making up an alibi.

From the affidavit via The Blaze:

I never told Urick that I recanted my story or affidavit about January 13, 1999. In addition, I did not write the March 1999 letters or the affidavit because of pressure from Syed’s family. I did not write them to please Syed’s family or to get them off my back. What actually happened is that I wrote the affidavit because I wanted to provide the truth about what I remembered. My only goal has always been to provide the truth about what I remembered.

Syed’s defense attorney filed for an appeal that includes McClain’s new affidavit. McClain said she is willing to testify in an appeal with the alibi that would put Syed in the library at the time of the murder.

What do you think of the latest reveal in the ‘Serial’ saga? Do you think the case should be appealed? Do you think Syed is innocent or guilty?

photo credit: The Baltimore Sun

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