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'Serial' case: Alibi witness for Adnan Syed questioned on the stand

By Amy R. Connolly
'Serial' case: Alibi witness for Adnan Syed questioned on the stand
An alibi witness for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer featured in the "Serial" podcast, told the court she saw him at a public library the day Hae Min Lee was killed. Screenshot from NBC News

BALTIMORE, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Prosecutors sought to poke holes in testimony from an alibi witness for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer featured in the Serial podcast, drawing parallels between the witness's inability to remember the weather some 16 years ago to her memory of a chance meeting with Syed at a public library.

Asia McClain, who now goes by her married name Asia Chapman, was asked Thursday by Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah to detail her recollection of Jan. 13, 1999, the day Hae Min Lee was killed. Chapman said she chatted with Syed at the Woodlawn library branch at the same time prosecutors said Lee, 19, was killed. During the popular podcast, Chapman said it possibly snowed that day.

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Vignarajah asked Chapman if it would surprise her "if it didn't snow at all that day."

"Is it possible you're misremembering?" Vignarajah said.

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Chapman, on her second day on the witness stand, continues to say defense attorneys never asked for her account of the day, and prosecutors dismissed the possible alibi as irrelevant. The three-day hearing will determine if Syed should receive a new trial.

On Wednesday, Chapman said she didn't realize how important her information was to the case until after she was contacted by Serial producer and narrator Sarah Koenig.

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"In order for justice to be served, all information has to be out on the table," McClain said in the packed courtroom. Koenig is releasing podcasts about the hearing.

Syed, now 35, was convicted of strangling Lee and burying her body at Leakin Park, a few miles from Woodlawn High School, where they both attended. Two witnesses testified Wednesday Syed's defense attorney suffered from multiple health conditions, raising questions about her ability to provide a proper defense.

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