Asia McClain of ‘Serial’ reveals why she’s choosing now to speak out
As fans of the podcast Serial know, one of the key pieces of testimony that could point to Adnan Syed’s innocence in the 1999 murder of ex-girlfriend Hai Min Lee is that of Asia McClain, a former classmate who says she saw Syed in the library on the day Lee was strangled and left in a Baltimore park.
Mclain, who now goes by her married name Chapman, never testified in court during the original trial, insisting that she was never approached by Syed’s defense attorney.
In 2010, when she was contacted by Adnan’s new legal defense team, she declined to testify. Chapman is speaking out now, however, on behalf of Syed in his quest for a retrial. Chapman revealed her reasons for coming forward 17 years later in an interview withABC.
“I was compelled by my children. Keeping that legacy, integrity, and stepping up to tell the truth was very important to me,” she said. “I want my kids to know their mom was strong.”
When asked what she would say to Syed if she could talk to him, she expressed regret for not speaking up sooner.
“I would just personally apologize that I didn’t come forward in 2010,” she said. During her testimony, which was delivered last Wednesday, Chapman avoided eye contact with Syed and later said she was nervous.
Good to get it out. Never done criminal court b4. I was more scared because I didn’t know what to expect. #garyproctor rocks
— Asia Chapman (@AsiaRChapman) February 5, 2016
The judge presiding over the hearing for a retrial will deliver a written ruling Wednesday. If granted, Chapman will be expected to testify again during the new trial about what she remembers from the day Lee was murdered. Hanging in the balance is the dismissal of Syed’s life sentence plus 30 years.
“I just happened to be at a specific place at a specific time,” she said. “…I was sitting in the library bored to tears and someone walked in that I knew. I asked him about his breakup with Hae…[He said] she was dating someone else, but that he just wanted her to be happy. He didn’t seem to be disturbed or angry with her.”
Despite her testimony, Chapman said she recognizes the decision to grant a retrial is out of her control.
“I hope that enough information was presented to the judge for him to be able to make a rational decision,” she said. “Whatever that might be, is in his hands.”
To see a portion of ABC’s interview with Chapman, check out the video below.
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