Family of victim from "Serial" case reacts to new trial ruling

Family of Hae Min Lee, victim from "Serial" case, reacts to new trial ruling

The family of Hae Min Lee, the victim in the murder case investigated by the "Serial" podcast, reacted with frustration to Thursday's news that her accused killer has been granted a new trial.

In a statement issued Friday morning through the Office of the Attorney General, Lee's relatives said they continue to believe Adnan Syed is guilty of Lee's killing.

"We do not speak as often or as loudly as those who support Adnan Syed, but we care just as much about this case. We continue to grieve," the statement said. "We continue to believe justice was done when Mr. Syed was convicted of killing Hae."

"While we continue to put our faith in the courts and hope the decision will be reversed, we are very disappointed by the Judge's decision. We remain thankful to the many many people who have expressed their support for us, and to the State for standing by the true victims and for giving Hae Min Lee a voice."

On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed's conviction and ordered a new trial. He cited a piece of evidence flagged by a "Serial" blogger and co-host of the popular offshoot podcast "Undisclosed," which he said should have been addressed by Syed's trial counsel.

Lee was killed in 1999, and the 18-year-old's body was found buried in Leakin Park. Police arrested Syed, her ex-boyfriend, who was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in 2000. A friend testified that he helped Syed bury Lee's body, and cell phone tower evidence linked his phone to the area.

Syed has maintained his innoncence, and the case was profiled on the "Serial" podcast that was downloaded millions of times and caused listeners around the world to delve into the details of his trial.

Among those findings was a fax cover sheet from AT&T said that data regarding incoming calls was unreliable, and the cell phone technician who testified at Syed's trial now says he can't stand by his testimony.

An FBI cell phone expert testified for the state at Syed's February post-conviction hearing that the data was nevertheless reliable, but Welch said Syed's trial counsel should have pressed the issue and determined he received ineffective counsel.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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