‘Serial’ case alibi witness denies she was willing to lie
‘Serial’ podcast attracted millions of listeners who became armchair detectives as the series analyzed the case for weeks
An alibi witness for a man whose murder conviction was re-examined in the popular “Serial” podcast is disputing claims in a court filing that she expressed willingness to lie to protect Adnan Syed.
The witness, Asia McClain Chapman, wrote on her website that the allegations from two sisters she knew in high school are “entirely false.”
“It has been with great dismay that I read these entirely false allegations from these two sisters and it is with great sadness that I am now forced to question the true purpose and motivations behind these awful and untrue allegations,” Chapman wrote.
A retired Baltimore judge ordered a retrial for Syed in June, and the attorney general is appealing the judge’s order.
A court filing this week by the Maryland attorney general says one of the sisters reached out to the attorney general’s office on her own in July, a week after a judge ordered a new trial for Syed. Both sisters have given sworn statements, saying they got into a 1999 argument with the witness.
“I very much remember, as does (my sister) having a conversation with Asia in our co op class about Asia saying she believed so much in Adnan’s innocence she would make up a lie to prove he couldn’t have done it,” one sister wrote in the email.
The sisters were not identified in the court filing.
Chapman has said she saw Syed at the Woodlawn library about the same time Hae Min Lee was murdered in 1999.
“I have never wavered in my recollection of the events surrounding the murder of Ms. Lee,” Chapman wrote on her website this week.
The attorney general’s office is asking that the sisters’ affidavits be used in court, if Chapman’s alibi claim is introduced.
In his ruling for a new trial, now-retired Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch said he disagreed that Syed’s lawyer erred when she failed to contact McClain. He ruled that Syed’s lawyers were deficient, because they failed to note the unreliability of cellphone tracking evidence cited by prosecutors to place Syed’s phone near the site where Lee was buried.
The “Serial” podcast attracted millions of listeners who became armchair detectives as the series analyzed the case for weeks in the winter of 2014.
Syed was convicted by a jury in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison for the death of Lee, his former girlfriend.