adnan syed alibi witness Testifies At Hearing For New Trial
Adnan Syed alibi witness, Asia McClain, has testified for a second day at his hearing for a new trial.
As Popdust previously reported, Syed, 34, was 19-years old when he was convicted of murdering his ex girlfriend, and fellow student Hae Min Lee, back in 1999, and he has always maintained his innocence.
The case sparked national attention last year when NPR reporter and This American Life producer Sarah Koenig made it the focus of her hugely successful podcast, Serial, which attracted over 5 million listeners.
There were a number of serious flaws in the investigation and Serial raised legitimate questions to be answered by Baltimore PD regarding their treatment of the case.
In addition, Syed has argued that his trial attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, made a series of mistakes, including failing to speak McClain, who maintains she saw Syed in the library at the time he is accused of murdering Lee.
Adnan Syed alibi witness
McClain testified yesterday and today, as part of a three-day hearing at Baltimore Circuit Court, and stood firmly by her alibi.
According to the Baltimore Sun, McClain told the packed court that defense attorneys never spoke to her about her claim that she saw Syed at the Woodlawn library on January 13, 1999, for 20 minutes at around 2:15 p.m.
That’s the time that prosecutors maintain Syed was strangling Lee to death, in a Best Buy car park across town. So, it was no surprise that McClain also testified to a prosecutor having dismissed her potential alibi as “irrelevant.”
McClain wrote a letter to Syed, following his arrest, offering to testify to his whereabouts at the time of Hae's murder, but never heard back from any of his defense team.
In court today, Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah grilled McClain about the letter, claiming a friend of McClain's told cops that Syed had actually written it himself, then sent it to McClain to type up and send back to him.
McClain denied the claim, insisting she was the original author of the letter, and that Vignarajah’s information was based on classroom gossip.
Cristina Gutierrez's defense of Adnan Syed
The majority of Wednesday’s testimony centered on the competence of Gutierrez, who died in 2004.
Two of the attorney’s former associates claimed Gutierrez was falling apart both mentally and physically at the time of Syed’s trial, and that her work standards, and judgement, had dropped significantly—testimony that Vignarajah worked hard to shoot down.
Vignarajah told retired Judge Martin P. Welch, who is residing over the hearing, that in addition to proving Gutierrez made questionable decisions—such as not following up on McClain’s potential alibi—the defense also need to prove that she acted incompetently, and provided her client with a level of service that was ”constitutionally deficient" and "below the standard of conduct."
He urged Welch to deny the request for a retrial, claiming, "Mr. Syed was convicted on the basis of overwhelming evidence.
“Mr. Syed was convicted because he did it, and the state proved it."
The hearing continues tomorrow.
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