Adnan Syed first came to the public's attention when the podcast Serial featured his story and detailed the murder case against him. Syed was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 2000 and has spent 18 years in prison. But the podcast cast doubt on the conviction both by citing new evidence and by pointing out that Syed's defense attorney failed to call witnesses who could have confirmed his alibi. The podcast caused #freeAdnan to become a trending hashtag mainstay.
A Maryland appeals court vacated Syed's conviction on Thursday and ruled that he should be retried on all charges.
The New York Times reported:
In the ruling, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals said he had received ineffective legal counsel at his trial because his original lawyer had failed to call a witness whose testimony, if believed, 'would have made it impossible for Syed to have murdered Hae.'
An excerpt from the 138-page opinion read:
Many praised Syed's lawyer, who worked tirelessly on the case and brought it to Sarah Koenig, Serial's creator:
Thank you for your incredible work. You helped remind Americans across the country that justice is possible.— Jo Kaur (@SikhFeminist) March 29, 2018
Others were just thrilled the case would be retried:
Woooooooo Hooooooooo!!!! I can’t wait to hear a happy ending. He deserved it.— Holli (@holli) March 30, 2018
But not everyone was happy about the news:
But most people seemed shocked: