Reexamining the Adnan Syed Case: Why Wasn’t Justice Served?

Hae Min Lee, a popular, bright, and beautiful 18-year-old Korean American student, was last seen alive on January 13, 1999. Four weeks later, Lee’s body was discovered in Leakin Park in Gwynn Oak, Maryland. She had been killed by manual strangulation.

Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, a young Muslim student, was arrested and later convicted of first-degree murder and given a sentence of life imprisonment plus 30 years.

In 2019, Serial (a popular podcast) brought Syed’s case into the limelight. It exposed numerous weaknesses in the case against him, suggesting that he was innocent. As the case was reexamined by top lawyers, true crime enthusiasts, and investigators, it became apparent that something may have been amiss.

In this blog, we’ll look at Syed’s case. Was he guilty? Was he innocent? Was justice served? Or did Lee’s death also result in an innocent man losing his freedom?

1. Jay Wilds

Syed was convicted based mostly on the testimony of his friend Jay Wilds. Wilds revealed that Syed had called him up and asked him for help with burying Lee’s body.

However, Wilds’ story was not consistent. When he was questioned repeatedly during the investigation, he would change his story each time. In fact, he would often change the narrative entirely.

At one point, he said that he didn’t help Syed bury Lee’s body; he simply drove him to Leakin Park. At another point, Wilds admitted that he physically helped Syed bury the body. These contradictions make Wilds’ story sound unconvincing and him an unreliable witness.

2. Lack of Evidence

There was absolutely no concrete physical evidence to prove Syed had committed the murder: The cell tower records were inaccurate and the blood samples taken from the crime scene didn’t test positive for his DNA, for example. Despite the overwhelming lack of evidence, the state relied on Wilds’ story and kept pushing a false narrative with weak evidence, hoping to succeed in getting a conviction.

Recommended Read: What Should I Do if I’m Wrongfully Accused of and Arrested for Homicide?

3. Asia McClain

Asia McClain was one of the prime witnesses in the case. She had seen Syed in the library at the same time he was supposed to have murdered Lee, as outlined by the police. McClain’s testimony was never presented in court.

This seems suspicious and intentional on the part of the prosecution, and many believe that this is one of the biggest reasons why justice wasn’t served. Had McClain’s testimony been presented in court, the jury would have felt differently about the case since it would have provided Syed a verifiable alibi for the time of the murder.

Syed, now 40, still maintains his innocence. He’s hoping to be exonerated and has filed several appeals over the years. However, all of them have been overturned. As Syed fights for justice, millions of people have joined him because of Serial’s popularity.

If you’ve been wrongly charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer in the Greater Houston area who will protect your rights. Attorney JL Carpenter is recognized throughout Houston for building aggressive and thoughtful cases on behalf of her clients.

Whether you were recently arrested for DWI, BWI, drug possession, domestic violence, family violence, or any other related crime, call JL today. She practices in Friendswood, Clear Lake, League City, Galveston, and the neighboring areas.