March 8 (UPI) -- Maryland's highest court on Friday reinstated Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed's 20-year-old murder conviction, denying him a new trial for the death of his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
The Maryland Court of Appeals' ruling reverses last year's decision by a lower court. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals voted 2-1 in favor of a new trial for Syed in March 2018 because his lawyer during his initial trial, Cristina Gutierrez, provided insufficient counsel by failing to call an alibi witness, Asia McClain Chapman.
The Court of Appeals said that though it agreed Syed's counsel was deficient, it did not influence the outcome of his trial because the evidence against him was strong.
"Given the totality of the evidence the jury heard, we conclude that there is not a significant or substantial possibility that the verdict would have been different had trial counsel presented the alibi witness," Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote in the majority opinion.
In 2000, a jury convicted Syed of the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend, Lee, who was 18 at the time. The case drew national attention in 2014 when it became the subject of a podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig.