A Baltimore judge has denied bail for Serial subject Adnan Syed, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.
Adnan Syed’s request for bail has been denied by a Baltimore judge, stating that there’s still “compelling evidence” against him, even though he is awaiting a retrial. Syed had petitioned to be released on bail back in October.
In June, Syed’s conviction of murdering his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 2000 and sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison was vacated by Circuit Judge Martin P. Welch. Judge Welch ordered a new trial, a decision that the State of Maryland is continuing to fight, as the case is now in the Maryland Court of Appeals.
“This is obviously a setback, but in the bigger picture we are looking toward a new trial and proving his innocence,” Syed’s lead defense attorney, C. Justin Brown, tells PEOPLE.
“If the appeals court rules in our favor,” Brown says, “we will be revisiting the bail issue.” He adds that Syed has not been informed of the latest development in his case.
Syed and Lee were classmates at Woodlawn High School, and the details of this case reached international attention when it was featured on the Serial podcast launched in 2014.
Brown was an advocate for Syed’s release on bail, stating that the appeals process could take years and that he was a good candidate for release pending a new trial.
In his reasoning for a new trial, Judge Welch cited cell phone tower data in his ruling. He pinpointed Syed’s former attorney’s “failure to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert about the reliability of cell tower location evidence,” which was the prosecution’s main argument for his conviction.
But Welch denied his bail request, citing the seriousness of the crime, his popularity from the Serial podcast, and if he would be a danger to the community or flight risk. The judge also denied his request for a hearing on his petition to be released on bail.