iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Adnan Syed, a convicted killer who gained international fame from the podcast “Serial,” is getting a new trial after spending 17 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit.

A retired Baltimore City Circuit Court judge issued his ruling Thursday after reviewing new evidence, including the testimony from an alibi witness that was presented during a second post-conviction hearing earlier this year. Syed was convicted of killing his former high school classmate Hae Min Lee. Lee was found strangled in Leakin Park in 1999. The pair had dated.

During a press conference Thursday, Syed’s attorney Justin Brown said his next goal is to get Syed out of prison.

“The conviction is vacated, so the conviction is erased, it’s gone. As of this day he’s not convicted anymore,” Brown said. “One of the first things we’re going to be looking at is whether we can get him out on bail,” but that it’s up to the state whether they are going to appeal the judge’s ruling or go forward with a new trial.

Late Thursday evening, the Maryland Office of the Attorney General released a statement, confirming they will continue to seek justice in the murder of Lee.

“The court ruled in the State’s favor on a number of issues, but there does appear to be at least one ground that will need to be resolved by the appellate courts The State’s responsibility remains to pursue justice, and to defend what it believes is a valid conviction,” the statement said.

Syed’s lawyers, Brown and Christopher Nieto, called seven witness during the hearing earlier this year. They argued for a new trial for Syed on two points: Asia McClain Chapman, an alibi witness who said she saw Syed at the Woodlawn Public Library at the same time the state says he killed Lee was never sought out for her testimony in Syed’s 2000 trial, and cellphone location data that was deemed “unreliable” by AT&T that was used against him during his trial, pinpointing him near the wooded area where Lee was buried.

Both of these issues, Syed’s lawyers argued, are due to “failures” of Syed’s 2000 trial lawyer Cristina Gutierrez.

Judge Martin Welch in his issued opinion wrote that he found Syed’s trial attorney “rendered ineffective assistance when she failed to cross-examine the state’s expert regarding the reliability of cell tower location evidence,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News. But on the issue of failing to contact McClain, the judge found that Syed’s lawyer’s performance “fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgement,” but that this error did not prejudice Syed’s defense.

Welch wrote that “trial counsel’s failure to investigate McClain’s alibi did not prejudice the defense because the crux of the State’s case did not rest on the time of the murder,” adding later, “The potential alibi witness, however, would not have undermined the crux of the State’s case: that Petitioner buried the victim’s body in Leakin Park at approximately 7 p.m. on January 13, 1999,” the documents read.

Chapman tweeted on Thursday, “Wow…I’m speechless. New Baby, New Trial.” Chapman, who was pregnant when she testified during the post-conviction relief hearing in February of this year, gave birth Wednesday.

Brown celebrated the judge’s decision Thursday afternoon, saying “I’m feeling pretty confident right now. This was the biggest hurdle. It’s really hard to get a new trial.”

When asked why Gutierrez was ineffective during cross examination of the cell evidence, Brown said: “She is deceased right now. We can’t ask her. There’s no explanation for not cross-examining the cell tower expert.”

Syed’s best friend, 35-year-old Saad Chaudry, said he’s “feeling good” about the judge’s decision.

“It’s amazing. And I mean the timing is just awesome that it’s this month during the month of Ramadan, so many prayers from all over the world,” the businessman said.

Chaudry added that “hope has been restored” and that he thinks his friend is “appreciative” of Thursday’s outcome, calling it “balanced and fair.”

In the state’s closing arguments earlier this year, Maryland Deputy Attorney General Thiruvendran Vignarajah called Gutierrez a “meticulous” and “tenacious” lawyer, saying she did everything she could do to “vigorously advocate” for Syed, “pouring every ounce of her great talent” into defending him.

“To have her name smeared as it is, as a vehicle to make this case … it is not fair,” Vignarajah said.

The state called only two witnesses of its own to testify against Syed: a former Woodlawn Public Library security guard, and FBI Special Agent Chad Fitzgerald, who corroborated the testimony of a cellphone expert who placed Syed at the scene of the burial.

The security guard was called to verify that there were not security cameras in the library. However during testimony he said “it’s possible” there were.

Perhaps the most notable part of the hearing was when Brown called McClain (now Campbell) to testify as the alibi witness or “missing piece of the puzzle.”

McClain testified that she was with Syed at the time of the killing, but she says she didn’t call the police initially to divulge her story because of fear.

“I started to call the police and then I chickened out. I think I hung up ’cause I got scared.”

She didn’t make herself known to Gutierrez, but she wrote letters to Syed. Syed told Gutierrez, but she didn’t pursue the angle.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Anthem of the Seas Cruise ship was forced to turn around off the coast of New York Thursday when a child needed medical help after being found in one of the craft’s pools, according to the cruise line.

The 8-year-old child was found Thursday afternoon and the Coast Guard was notified just before 7 p.m., officials said.

The child’s condition was unknown, the Coast Guard said.

The ship left Bayonne, NJ Thursday afternoon and was set to embark on a 9-day cruise to Bermuda and the Caribbean.

According to Royal Caribbean, the boy was treated by the ship’s medical team “after an accident in one of the ship’s swimming pools, but required additional medical attention.”

“The ship altered its course and sailed back towards Bayonne, New Jersey for a medical evacuation. Royal Caribbean’s Care Team is providing support to the guest’s family,” Royal Caribbean added in its statement.

This is a developing story. Please check back in for updates.

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Courtesy Treat Family(WEST GLACIER, Mont.) — The family of a 38-year-old Montana man who was fatally attacked by a grizzly bear while mountain biking has spoken out, saying the Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer “put his life on the line every day.”

Brad Treat, 38, was mountain biking with a friend on a trail in West Glacier just after 2 p.m. Wednesday when the grizzly attacked, pulling him off his bike. The pair likely surprised the bear as they rode by, said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry.

Treat’s companion was able to exit the area and summon help and was not injured in the attack, Curry said.

Treat’s sister-in-law, Melissa Treat, told ABC News he was “amazing man, an all around stand up guy, a devoted husband, amazing brother, loving son and loyal friend.”

“He would go above and beyond to help those in need,” Melissa said.

Melissa said her brother-in-law loved the outdoors and enjoyed hiking, kayaking, running and biking.

“It was hard to find him indoors,” she said. “He loved being outside and enjoying nature.”

The incident is under investigation by the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office. The area has been closed by the Forest Service for public safety pending the completion of the investigation, Curry said.

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Laura Harrell/Facebook(NEW YORK) — Researchers reeled in an 11-foot, 7-inch tiger shark while fishing at a beach in North Carolina Wednesday night.

Laura Harrell, who posted the encounter between the group of researchers and the tiger shark on her Facebook page, told ABC News that they released the shark back into the ocean after taking a few pictures and tagging it.

Her photos and videos of the tiger shark have already garnered more than 14,000 shares on Facebook.

The incident took place in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Harrell, a local resident, said this is not very common.

“Last year I saw a guy fishing off the shore and he caught a 6-foot shark, which I thought was big,” she said, adding that she has never seen one this big.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A day before millions of travelers are expected to hit the road, rails or sky for the long Independence Day weekend, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says Americans should expect to see more security in public places during their holiday.

“The American public should expect to see, this July 4th weekend, an enhanced security presence at airports, train stations and other transit centers across the country by TSA and state and local law enforcement as well as security personnel generally,” he said at a Senate Judiciary Hearing Thursday morning.

In addition to federal efforts, several airports throughout the country have said they are beefing up security in the wake of the attack in Istanbul.

The cities of Miami, Indianapolis, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York have all said they are adding extra security for the weekend.

Los Angeles International Airport says it is expecting a record number of travelers and that they have more K-9 Units, police personnel and traffic enforcement units in place.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told ABC News it has added high visibility patrols equipped with tactical weapons and equipment at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

The Transportation Security Administration has VIPR teams deploying to airports across the country.

The VIPRS — a team of behavior detection offers, explosive experts, and air marshals — were created partly in response to a series of high-profile foreign train attacks in the early 2000s. They often work special events that need extra security to deter acts of terrorism.

Airports across the country are already adding security to transit centers as Turkey is reeling from an attack that killed 43 people at the nation’s largest airport.

Hopper, an airfare prediction app, is predicting Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Chicago and New York to be the most popular destinations for holiday travelers this Independence Day.

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Fireworks won’t fly this Fourth of July, or any other day for that matter. To avoid having them confiscated, leave the fireworks at home, the Transportation Security Administration says.

“Fireworks and firecrackers are explosive and flammable, so in an effort to keep the skies safe, fireworks are prohibited from being transported in both carry-on and checked bags,” the TSA wrote on its blog. “TSA is responsible for enforcing this FAA rule by intercepting these items during screening.”

Aerial repeater fireworks, aerial shell fireworks, firecrackers, flying spinners, chasers, fountains, bottle rockets, ground spinners, parachute fireworks, poppers, snaps, skyrockets, missiles, roman candles, smoke fireworks, snakes, strobes, sparklers, wheels and anything else firework-related is not permitted on a commercial aircraft in checked or carry-on luggage.

Hot dogs, and other solid food items, can travel in your carry-on bags. Liquid food items — like your special BBQ sauce — have to be checked.

Have a question about what flies with the TSA? Check out the agency’s handy “Can I bring my . . .” tool. You can also tweet the TSA your questions @AskTSA 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, weekdays; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekends and holidays.

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iStock/Thinkstock(MADISON, Wis.) — A jury acquitted a mother from Wisconsin of charges that she used her cellphone seconds before a fatal car crash involving three children.

Kari Jo Milberg was charged with three counts of felony homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle, as well as a misdemeanor count of reckless driving. The crash occurred on Wisconsin Highway 35 in December 2013.

The 35-year-old mother was driving her car when she drove into the path of a truck, resulting in a crash that killed her 11-year-old daughter, Lydia, as well as 5-year-old Clara, the daughter of her sister, Kati, and 4 1/2-year-old Laynie, the daughter of Milberg’s other sister, Kassi. Milberg’s then 3-year-old son survived the crash.

Milberg claimed she lost control of the car because of slippery snow-covered roads and unsafe tires. The prosecution alleged Milberg was on her cellphone using Facebook messaging moments before the fatal collision.

In court, prosecutors said they found Facebook messages on Milberg’s phone between her and a childhood friend about meeting for lunch. The phone was found by investigator Aaron Hansen four months after the crash.

Prosecutors presented a string of messages between Milberg and Jason McKenzie. The final exchange between the two friends was: “Takes a lot to get me nervous,” McKenzie wrote. Milberg replied, “I am 2! Kinda bad!”

Prosecutors asserted Milberg’s message was sent less than 30 seconds before the crash.

Hansen testified that he discovered a Facebook message typed but not sent when he examined Milberg’s phone. “It appeared something was written in the composition line, but I couldn’t make out what it was,” he told the court.

McKenzie also took the stand and claimed he did not remember texting with Milberg on the day of the crash.

Milberg claimed in court she lost all memory of the accident and defense attorney Aaron Nelson reiterated her claims during cross examination that the snowy conditions and unsafe tires were to blame for Milberg’s losing control of the car.

After nearly two hours of deliberations, the jury acquitted Milberg of all charges.

Milberg did not speak publicly after the jury’s decision. Her sister, Kati Marie Milberg-Pavek, who lost her daughter in the crash, told ABC News she was “relieved.”

“I’m relived, I’m breathing full breaths of air again. I love Clara, Lydia and Laynie with every fiber in my body,” she said in a statement.

Pierce County District Attorney Sean Froelich said after the decision: “I respect the jury’s verdict in this particular case. Regardless of the outcome it doesn’t change the fact that three children lost their lives in this crash.”

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Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — The Zika virus is a topic of concern with athletes heading to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August.

ABC News spoke to Winter Olympics gold medalist Lindsey Vonn on Wednesday and got her take on the issue.

“There’s historically been a lot of controversy around a number of Olympics, but this affects the athletes to a level we haven’t seen before,” she said. “If I were competing, I’d probably still go down there.”

But Vonn will not be competing until 2018, and thus “as a spectator, I’ve decided not to go down there … but I’ll be watching on my couch … enjoying it nonetheless.”

The virus has been known to cause a birth defect in some babies born to infected mothers, according to a Brazilian Ministry of Health report earlier this month. Some worried athletes have dropped out of the games, including Australian golfer Marc Leishman and cyclist Tejay van Garderen. George Boville, an Olympic bronze medalist swimmer for Trinidad and Tobago, also told ABC News in February that the virus “is definitely a concern.”

For her part, Vonn acknowledged how tough it is for the athletes to decide whether to attend the games.

“You work your whole life for” these games, she said. “It’s a really difficult decision for these athletes to make, go down there or not.”

Vonn herself is promoting the games in a roundabout way, working with Team USA sponsor Reese’s for its “Do Summer Like a Winter Olympian” campaign.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials told ABC News earlier this year that their focus is to educate and alert the country’s athletes with advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’re taking steps to ensure that our delegation and those affiliated with Team USA are aware of the CDC’s recommendations regarding travel to Brazil,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky told ABC News in February.

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Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When it comes to Independence Day celebrations, getting there can be half the battle.

There will be almost 11 million air travelers this July 4 weekend, based off scheduled seats, according to travel website Hopper. With so many people taking advantage of the long weekend, travelers should brace themselves for crowded terminals.

The busiest airport this holiday weekend will be Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with over 600,000 passengers expected to pass through, though many of those passengers will be in transit to their final destination, Hopper found.

And even though New York topped the list of most popular destinations, there will be more locals flying out than visitors flying in. Surprisingly, New York came in fourth place on the list of top 10 busiest airports.

Here’s the full rundown of busiest airports this weekend:

1. Atlanta (ATL)

2. Los Angeles (LAX)

3. Chicago (ORD)

4. New York City (JFK)

5. Dallas (DFW)

6. San Francisco (SFO)

7. Denver (DEN)

8. Seattle (SEA)

9. Charlotte (CLT)

10. Las Vegas (LAS)

Hopper was also able to determine that Friday will be the busiest day this weekend to travel, with 3.1 million seats scheduled. And though it depends on the airport, travelers can expect the longest lines around 10:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m.

With these tips in your back pocket, plan accordingly to beat the crowds and arrive at your gate in time.

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