BALTIMORE, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Maryland's attorney general said Adnan Syed, the convicted killer featured in the hit podcast "Serial," should not be released from prison in advance of a new trial.
The state argued Syed is a convicted murder and has lost the presumption of innocence because his "conviction was then, and continues to be today, supported by overwhelming evidence of guilt." Assistant Attorney General Charlton Howard said Syed remains a threat to the community and a risk for fleeing to avoid further prison time.
"An intact conviction for murder should be enough to dispense with Syed's motion for release," Howard said in court documents.
"Syed is an exquisitely unsuitable candidate for parole since he refuses to accept responsibility for his brutal murder of a young girl, has never apologized for his horrifying actions during and after the murder, baselessly implicates others in pursuit of his appeals, and clings stubbornly to the fiction that he is the sympathetic victim of a string of coincidences or a coordinated ploy to frame him for a murder he did not commit," Howard said.
Syed's lead defense attorney said the legal team is anxious to prove he is neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk.
"Syed has spent 17 years in prison based on an unconstitutional conviction for a crime he did not commit. It is unconscionable that he is still in prison," attorney C. Justin Brown said.
In July, Syed was granted a new trial in the 1999 slaying of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, while they were in high school. Syed, who has served 17 years of a life sentence, has maintained his innocence in her death and had exhausted all appeals.
He contends his original attorney, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, made several missteps during his defense. That includes not questioning a state's expert about the reliability of cellphone tower evidence and not contacting a potential alibi witness, Asia McClain, who now goes by her married name Asia Chapman.
Syed's case, featured in the first season of the 12-part podcast "Serial," garnered national attention when it highlighted the intricacies of the case and possible flaws in Syed's defense. The show won a Peabody Award and was downloaded more than 100 million times.