On Thursday, February 4, the famous alibi witness for Adnan Syed completed her testimony in a Baltimore court. Asia McClain is one of the lynchpins in the defence’s case for a new trial.
McClain says she saw Syed in the library at the time Hae Min Lee was killed. However, she was never contacted by his lawyer and her alibi for him was never presented at his original trial in 1999. He was subsequently convicted of murder and Syed’s lawyer claims that the trial could have ended completely differently had she presented her knowledge of that day in January.
According to McClain’s testimony, the Baltimore Sun reports:
Defense attorneys never asked about her account, she said, and a prosecutor later dismissed the potential alibi as irrelevant. But before a packed courtroom on Wednesday, McClain described how a popular podcast about the case had persuaded her that she needed to speak up.
Syed’s lawyers are also trying to prove his counsel was inept by not calling McClain to testify back during the original trial while the state is arguing that the action of not calling her was a strategic move by Cristina Gutierrez.
Attorneys for the state urged retired Judge Martin P. Welch to deny the request. Deputy Maryland Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah said Syed received sufficient representation during his trial in 2000 and that any decision by his attorneys not to follow up on McClain’s account then was strategic.
Gutierrez determined that the “pursuit of Ms. McClain would not be a worthwhile endeavor,” Vignarajah said, countering the contention that Gutierrez was not of sound mind.
However, McClain says she was never contacted to begin with so how Gutierrez would assume she was a worthless alibi witness is just another example of her incompetence as Syed’s lawyer.
The state also attacked McClain’s credibility of memory attempting to get her to think she was remembering a different day or in the very least that her memory of those events 15 years ago were not as clear as she says. McClain continues to stick by her memory saying that she remembers everything clearly because of school being closed the next day after she saw Syed due to an intense whether event.
The post conviction appeal hearing continued through friday and is reopening for a fourth day on Monday.