Adnan Syed case reopened nearly two decades later

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Adnan Syed case reopened nearly two decades later

Khalila Firestone, Staff Writer

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Adnan Syed has been granted a new trial, as of March of this year.

Many freshmen at Renton High spent a large part of their last quarter pouring over his case. They went through the entirety of the first season of the famous podcast, “Serial.”

Serial was started by Sarah Koenig, an ex- reporter and producer for NPR. It followed the entirety of Adnan’s case and dove into everything that happened that year in 1999. The podcast was a powerful influence in getting the case reopened, as it pushed the case into the public eye, where it became an infatuation.

Adnan was arrested and convicted for the murder of Hae Min Lee, his ex girlfriend at the time. They were both in high school when the crime occurred, and their lives were forever changed.

Adnan and Hae had a relationship, but that eventually came to an end. Hae got into a new relationship, and Adnan started hanging out with other girls. According to their peers, Hae and Adnan were still friends.

Right before winter break, Hae went missing. Many of her friends had assumed she had just ran off to California to be with her father. When she didn’t call or come home, they grew worried. A few weeks later, her body was found, and all hopes for her safe return were lost.

The prime suspects in the case, or rather, in Serial’s case investigation, were Adnan, Jay Wilds, Don Clinedinst, and a man who the podcast calls ‘Mr. S.”

What is the deal with Jay?

Although Adnan was convicted for the crime, Jay, his pot-smoking friend, admitted to helping Adnan bury Hae’s body, which was found in the infamous Leakin Park. Jay’s story was consistently inconsistent, originally telling the police he hadn’t even seen the body, then switching his story. Many believe that Jay wrongfully threw his friend, Adnan, under the bus for reasons that are unknown but widely speculated.

The body was found by Mr. “S”.

Mr. S worked in maintenance at a local school and was driving to the school from his home, when he pulled over at Leakin Park because he needed to pee. He walked less than 200 feet into the woods before looking down and seeing Hae’s body, hidden well but in a shallow grave. He told the police but has been intensively scrutinized for the circumstances under which he found the body, and for the fact that he was a frequent streaker.

Don was Hae’s boyfriend during the time she was murdered.

He was older than the tight group of friends that surround the case and had already graduated. He met Hae at their work, and Hae almost immediately fell for him, which was part of the reason she broke up with Adnan. Don was not a suspect for very long in the original police case, although many argue that he definitely should have been. Hae’s friends reportedly never liked the man, and neither did his co-workers. Besides this, Don originally did not have an alibi from his store. When the alibi came in later, it was for a completely different store than the one he usually worked at. It was then later discovered that the person who managed Don was in fact his own mother.

Adnan himself was known as a great kid.

He did sports and was in their school’s version of Honors, along with most of his friends with whom he was close. He also frequented mosque with his family. Adnan was, however, also a normal 90’s teen. He was drinking and having sex, getting high with Jay and his buddies after school. To all of the people who knew him, he was a genuinely good person and friend–which is part of why everyone was so shocked when he was arrested. Many of them still stick with the idea of his innocence.

During trial, his lawyer was the well esteemed and sought out Cristina Gutierrez.

Gutierrez, however, seemed to be in a spiral at the time. Colleagues reported her somewhat erratic behavior, and clients were disappointed with her work ethic and demanding more payment than was agreed upon, and in cash. Gutierrez also failed to call an individual who is now recognized as critical witness to the stand, Adnan’s friend, Asia McClain.

McClain claimed she, her boyfriend, and his friend all saw Adnan in the local library the day Hae disappeared. At the exact time, the case’s timeline placed Adnan killing Hae. She even wrote to him after he was incarcerated, explaining what happened and telling him. Adnan also sent a letter to his lawyer, who never went to see Asia. Adnan had trusted that Gutierrez had done her job and questioned everyone critical, so he didn’t push it. Asia eventually retracted her claim, saying she was pushed by the family of Adnan to write it, but later told the police that was a lie. She does, to this day, publicly stand by her claim that she spoke to Adnan in the library during the alleged time of the murder.

Gutierrez’s failure to even speak to Asia were the grounds for Adnan’s recent hearing, which lasted a few days with multiple people giving testimonies. Asia was one of them.

In the end, Adnan was found to be misrepresented and is to be given a new trial on all charges regarding Hae Min Lee.