Adnan Syed freed after judge vacates murder conviction

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Years after Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, the Serial podcast documented the case’s complicated story and unsettling lack of forensic evidence


Maryland appeals court upholds decision overturning ‘Serial’ subject Adnan Syed’s murder conviction

Officials escort Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed from the courthouse on Feb. 3rd, 2016, following the completion of the first day of hearings for a retrial in Baltimore. 

Photo by Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Adnan Syed was set free on Monday after more than 20 years in prison for being convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in a case that spawned intense interest after it was documented in the podcast Serial. The New York Times reports Judge Melissa M. Phinn of Baltimore City Circuit overturned Adnan Syed’s murder conviction after prosecutors filed documents questioning the trial and the evidence presented, without saying that they believe he is innocent.

According to the Sun, prosecutors said the state has known since 1999 of two “alternative suspects” who may be guilty of the crime, who were not disclosed to his defense and include an unnamed serial rapist who has since been convicted of several assaults. The prosecutors also said one of the suspects had threatened Lee prior to her murder, saying they “would make her disappear.”

The Times reports the prosecutor’s investigation revealed Ms. Lee’s car was discovered directly behind a home owned by a family member of one of the suspects. It also said prosecutors questioned the cellphone data used to place Syed near the site of Lee’s burial, as the billing location for incoming calls would not be considered reliable information.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the judge ordered Syed unshackled in court and to remain on GPS monitoring pending another trial, while the prosecutors have 30 days to determine whether to try him again or drop the charges. In her ruling, Phinn wrote, “the State has proven that there was a Brady violation,” referencing a 1963 Supreme Court decision that prosecutors are obligated to turn over any evidence to the defense that could be favorable to the accused.

The judge rejected a request to postpone the decision from a lawyer representing Lee’s family, who said they had not been given adequate notice of the decision.

The Serial podcast’s Twitter account tweeted that the original host, Sarah Koenig, was at the courthouse today and that a new episode will be released on Tuesday.

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two screens showing chrome settings

You can fingerprint-protect Incognito tabs.

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