Friend of 'Serial' Murder Victim Claims Adnan Syed's Alibi Witness Is Unreliable: 'She's Riding the Publicity'

A friend of slaying victim Hae Min Lee speaks out about the case

A friend of the slain victim at the center of the hit podcast Serial says Adnan Syed‘s alibi witness at his upcoming murder retrial is unreliable, accusing her of “riding the publicity” she has garnered from the case.

A woman who identified herself only as Debbie, a friend of victim Hae Min Lee‘s, speaks about the case on Thursday’s episode of A&E’s Grace vs. Abrams, hosted by legal analysts Nancy Grace and Dan Abrams. PEOPLE obtained an exclusive clip of the episode, which will air on A&E on Thursday, April 26 at 11pm ET/PT.

Abrams asks Debbie if she thinks former high school classmate Asia McClain Chapman, who has said she was in the library with Syed when prosecutors say he murdered Lee, will be a “blockbuster witness” for the defense after not testifying at his original 2000 murder trial. In response, Debbie says, “I certainly hope not. I don’t believe her.”

Debbie adds: “I think that she is riding the publicity at this point and that’s what she is interested in so she is sticking by her story for that purpose.”

In 2000, Syed was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder in Lee’s 1999 slaying. Lee, 18, was Syed’s Woodlawn High School classmate and ex-girlfriend, who was found strangled in a city park in Baltimore County after disappearing from school a month earlier.

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Adnan Syed. Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty

Syed’s circumstances changed after he was featured in 2014 in the first season of NPR’s hit true-crime podcast Serial, which triggered widespread scrutiny of his arrest and prosecution.

In March 2018, an appeals panel vacated Syed’s conviction and ruled he should be granted a new trial.


Alibi Witness Says She Was in Library With Syed During Alleged Time of Killing

Following his conviction and sentence, Syed’s new defense attorneys argued that he was found guilty as a result of the incompetence of his then-lawyer, the now-deceased Cristina Gutierrez.

His attorneys pointed to McClain Chapman’s failure to testify as evidence that Gutierrez was negligent, and in 2016, a judge agreed that Gutierrez fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgement.

Despite this, Debbie asks, “Where was Asia back in 1999?” She adds, “I don’t believe that she recollects it at all.”

The episode also features exclusive interviews with Judge William Quarles, who presided over the original trial.

The Adnan Syed episode of Grace vs. Abrams will air on A&E on Thursday, April 26 at 11pm ET/PT.

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