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Lawyer: 'Serial' Defense Crippled By Omission Of Witness

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Explosive evidence, as a convicted killer fights for a new trial. Adnan Syed's case drew worldwide attention when it became the subject of the hit podcast, "Serial."

Now his family is speaking about their fight.

WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren examining all the evidence being presented.

We've heard a lot of evidence about the reliability of the cell phone signals that put Adnan Syed at the scene of the crime. We've also heard from a defense investigator who says Syed's previous lawyer may not have interviewed dozens of alibi witnesses.

Adnan Syed's family has been fighting more than 15 years for his freedom. A jury convicted Syed in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 2000.

The honor student was strangled and dumped in Leakin Park in Baltimore.

"You know, he was 17 when they took him. When I see him in the court, it's like, you know... a grown man, 35 years old. So there's 17 years," said Shamim Rahmam, Syed's mother.

The case gained momentum and worldwide exposure from the blockbuster podcast "Serial." It's drawn spectators to court from thousands of miles away.

"Are you asking me who's innocent and who's guilty? No, I can't tell you," one man said.

Now Syed is pinning his hopes for a new trial on Asia McClain, an alibi witness he claims his old lawyer ignored.

"We learn that there's support for Asia McClain's testimony, that there was a surveillance at the library. That was put into question," said Doug Colbert, University of Maryland law professor.

McClain claims she was with Syed at the Woodlawn Library at the time of the killing.

His defense brought in the librarian at the time, who says security video was never checked.

The prosecutors say the failure of Syed's legal team to put McClain on the stand was tactical, and not a mistake.

The victim's family said this at the beginning of the first trial: "I just want to see justice done."

They're not here now--in a statement, calling the new hearing reliving a nightmare.

But for Syed's family, a new trial will be the justice they've long demanded.

"It's become more and more evident that he never belonged in jail and that he was never responsible for what happened," said Yusef Syed, Syed's brother.

The hearing was supposed to wrap up on Friday. It will now continue into next week, when the judge may make his decision.

Syed is currently serving a life sentence.

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