If you were one of the many privy to the details involving the case of Adnan Syed, explored in the mega popular podcast Serial, then you’ll know that he’s still locked up, with a very uncertain future ahead of him. If you’re not up to date, or are completely unaware, allow us to provide a very swift primer.
Essentially, back in 1999, a 19-year-old called Hae Min Lee was murdered and her body found strangled to death in a park in Baltimore. Before the body was discovered, police received an anonymous phonecall saying that Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, had murdered her and buried the body. So he was arrested. From there, a peculiar number of trials occurred, and he was eventually sentenced to life in prison, plus 30 years. Only thing is, lots of people think he’s innocent, mostly as a result of Serial’s investigation in the case, which raised quite a few questions regarding Syed’s ‘guilt’.
So fast-forward to today, and the current Baltimore State attorney race. Currently elected is Marilyn Mosby, who is keeping schtum on her opinions on the case. But facing her are two Democratic candidates who have completely opposing views on Syed - first up is Thiru Vignarajah, who has spent a good three years battling to keep him in jail, but the other, Ivan Bates, is big-time behind him, saying that if he wins, he’ll drop the case straight away. A very bold move just because he listened to a podcast once on the bus.
He told Rolling Stone:
“The two pieces of evidence that the case relied on have been shown to not be reliable in any way, shape or form.
“There’s not enough information to proceed.”
Thing is, regardless of the hilariously impetuous comment we made above about the bus, he’s actually been involved with the case since the beginning, even sitting in the courtroom on the day of Syed’s bail hearing. He said, of the day:
“I just remember seeing the courtroom divided [between] the Asian community and the Muslim community.
“I remember seeing hurt on both sides. Then this young kid comes in and I just remember his eyes, because they looked like [he] was so afraid, like [he] didn’t know what was going on.”
“I remember them talking about the bail, and how they put their houses up, and how it was wrong, that [Syed] was a young man who’s never been in trouble.
“[The court] was like, ‘Oh, the simple fact that he can put all this together just shows me that he’s a flight risk.’ I remember thinking, ‘Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose? ‘Because that would mean that he was going to run out on his entire community. The fact that he had all of them believing in him, that to me was pretty special. I’d never seen anything like that and I don’t really remember seeing anything like that since then.”
He even admits that he never listened to Serial (he probably should, just a hunch), but is very familiar with the evidence on both sides of the case:
“To me, there’s no doubt whatsoever that a jury could easily find a new outcome.
“The strongest piece of evidence to corroborate him was the cell phone tower information, which we now know is not credible. So there’s nothing to corroborate it at all.”
“On the defense side, there’s an alibi witness [Asia McClain] who places herself at the library with the defendant. That, to me, is huge. The evidence that [the state] had is nonexistent.
“The star witness is absolutely terrible and has a number of credibility issues, and the witness that the defense has, who wasn’t at the original trial, doesn’t have those same issues and is very believable.”
He concludes by promising to look at the case from a different angle:
“I would explain to [Lee’s family] that we have a better chance of trying to find your daughter’s killer by starting all over.
“You always have an opportunity if you get new information to recharge and retry [Syed] – but from what I see now, there’s not enough information to proceed.
“Why would you waste that opportunity? Why would you go after a person if you don’t have enough information to find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Why would you put their family through that?”