The Latest: "Serial" case draws spectators from far away

Published 11-29-2018

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Latest on appeals court hearing in high-profile case of Maryland man whose murder conviction chronicled in the "Serial" podcast (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

The high-profile case of a man whose murder conviction was chronicled in the hit "Serial" podcast has brought spectators from out of state to attend court arguments in Maryland's highest court.

Chris Hendrixson drove from Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend oral arguments in the case of Adnan Syed. The podcast has attracted millions of armchair detectives.

Hendrixson says he just wanted to see the court hearing for himself and meet some of the people that he follows on the podcast.

Maddy Corporan drove two hours from Lewes, Delaware, to attend. She says she has been fascinated by the case, which she says has raised questions about the legal process.

A Maryland court could reinstate Syed's conviction for the slaying of his high school sweetheart.


11:15 a.m.

The defense team for a Maryland man whose murder conviction was chronicled in a hit podcast says it's irrelevant why his late trial lawyer failed to contact a key alibi witness.

Attorney Catherine Stetson told Maryland's highest court on Thursday that Adnan Syed's original lawyer's failure to contact the witness were "objectively unreasonable" and any possible reasons don't matter. She says the late attorney Cristina Gutierrez "had an obligation to pursue that witness," among others.

A prosecutor had earlier asserted that Gutierrez understood the "gist" of what that witness might have told her.

A lower court ordered a retrial for Syed on grounds that Gutierrez didn't contact Asia McClain Chapman, an alibi witness who said she saw Syed at a library about the same time prosecutors say his high school sweetheart was killed in 1999.

By late Thursday morning, the Maryland Court of Appeals wrapped up the day's oral arguments in their review of the case.


12:01 a.m.

Maryland's highest court is set to hear arguments in the high-profile case of a man whose murder conviction was chronicled in a hit podcast.

The Maryland Court of Appeals on Thursday will hear oral arguments in Adnan Syed's case. He was convicted in 2000 of strangling his ex-girlfriend and burying her body in a Baltimore park. He's serving a life sentence.

But a judge vacated his conviction two years ago and a court ordered a new trial after concluding that his trial lawyer was ineffective. The state appealed. Earlier this year, the special appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling. The state appealed that decision, too.

Now, Maryland's top court is reviewing a decision to potentially reinstate Syed's conviction.

Syed's case was at the center of the "Serial" podcast's first season. Its 2014 debut shattered podcast-streaming and downloading records.

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