The Case Against Adnan Syed – new Sky Atlantic series could finally prove innocence of 17-year-old jailed in 1999 for prom date’s murder

A BOMBSHELL new Sky documentary could prove the innocence of a teen jailed in 1999 for the murder of his high-school sweetheart.

Hae-min Lee, 18, was found buried in a shallow grave in Baltimore, Maryland in January 1999 – and ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was jailed for life a year later.

He was locked up on the inconsistent testimony of best mate Jay Wilds – who claimed he helped Adnan bury the body.

But no physical evidence linked Adnan to the crime – and Sky Atlantic’s The Case Against Adnan Syed could prove his innocence after 19 years in jail.

Three days after Hae’s body was found, the Baltimore City Police Homicide Division received an anonymous phone call suggesting that Syed was responsible for her murder.

Hae and Adnan had tried to keep their school romance secret from their parents because of the families’ cultural differences – she being South Korea and he from Pakistan.

But that did not stop them from proudly posing for photos in April 1998 for their prom – at which Syed was voted the title of “prom prince”.

However, by December that year, they had broken up.

Pals of the pair say the two remained friends, but the prosecution in Syed’s trial would argue that he was harbouring hidden rage and jealousy.

Hae was last seen alive on January 13, 1999 – and her body was discovered a month later in Baltimore’s Leakin Park.

Syed quickly became the prime suspect and was arrested within days of the discovery.

Syed was convicted of first degree murder in February 2000 and also found guilty of robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Jay’s testimony was crucial to sending Adnan down – but the hit podcast Serial in 2014 poked holes in his case and sparked calls for a retrial.

Millions of listeners became armchair detectives as the cult podcast became the fastest ever to pass five million downloads.

The prosecution argued that Syed, a gifted and popular student, had strangled Hae in a fit of rage because he was annoyed she’d dumped him.

However, now aged 38, he has always maintained his innocence.

He was handed a life term plus 30 years in February 2000 – a year after he was first arrested.

But his lawyer was criticised for not calling key witness, Hae’s friend Asia McClain, to give evidence during his initial murder trial.

She allegedly saw him in the library at the time of the murder.

And cops were accused of failing to properly probe other suspects – including Hae’s new boyfriend.

The new documentary will be directed by Oscar-nominated Amy Berg – who claims there are thousands of dodgy convictions like Adnan’s.

She said: “There are hundreds, maybe thousands.

“There’s no number that you can kind of extrapolate of how many wrongful convictions there could be in the country.

“I mean, the thing that’s I guess unique to the American justice system especially compared to the UK is that it takes about 15 years before you even start your appeals process.”

Rabia Chaudry, Adnan’s lawyer and a family friend, also appears in the documentary – and claims cops were desperate to pin it on Adnan.

She said: “They [police] had already arrested Adnan; they knew who they wanted.

“What I have been told by former law enforcement officers is that this kind of thing happens when they want to prevent collection of bad evidence, meaning evidence that will not support their case.”

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She added: “Her boyfriend, who was kind of an anomaly to everyone in her life – he was three years older than her and had a different history – and he wasn’t interviewed at all until three weeks after she was missing.

“Her boyfriend, he wasn’t interviewed, but not only was he not interviewed, they didn’t take DNA from him, fingerprint him or anybody other than Adnan and his friend Jay.

“There were fingerprints that didn’t match these guys. They never tried to pursue those leads. They just are shocking. It’s really really, really shoddy police work.”

The Case against Adnan Syed will air from 1 April on Sky Atlantic

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