Sue Witman

In last Thursday’s episode of Serial, listeners were briefly introduced to another young man represented by Christina Gutierrez, who also represented Adnan Syed in the now-famous trial for the murder of Hae Min Lee, Syed’s ex-girlfriend. In some ways the story of Adnan Syed and Zach Witman are not dissimilar: Both were accused of murder, both were represented by Christina Gutierrez, both were convicted, and both have maintained innocence for more than a decade. It was an aside in the main Serial story, meant to illustrate Gutierrez’s professional decline, but probably many listeners have already found the website for Zach Witman and read up on the details of another terrible murder. Two years ago, a man named Joe Lee made a short documentary on the Witman family for his senior thesis at Temple University. Whether this turns into Serial season two or just becomes haunting and heartbreaking ephemera to the other 15-plus-year murder that’s enthralling listeners, the documentary is still more testimony to the ways in which murder wreaks havoc on families. Although neither the documentary nor the Witmans’ website goes into any detail about Gutierrez, a March 2012 post says that Zach Witman’s case is before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and that he is asking for a new trial “based upon ineffective counsel.”

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The Witmans - 15:00 from Joe Lee on Vimeo.