The Adnan Syed murder case became a sensation across the U.S. in 2014 even though his trial, conviction and sentencing occurred 14 years earlier. Syed’s 2000 case was the subject of the hit podcast series “Serial,” which took the country by storm.
Now, Syed’s case is in the news again. This time it is because Baltimore prosecutors have filed a motion to vacate his murder conviction.
A jury convicted Syed in February 2000 of killing his 17-year-old high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, for which he is currently serving a life sentence despite the convict consistently maintaining his innocence. Now Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is asking for a new trial, CBS News reported. According to Mosby’s office, an investigation over the past year has revealed two new possible suspects.
“After a nearly year-long investigation reviewing the facts of this case, Syed deserves a new trial where he is adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented,” Mosby said. “As stewards of the court, we are obligated to uphold confidence in the integrity of convictions and do our part to correct when this standard has been comprised.”
After the Adnan Syed case gained notoriety via the “Serial” podcast, people began to seriously question the conviction. Judge Martin P. Welch of the Baltimore City Circuit Court set aside the conviction in June 2016 and ordered a new trial, the New York Times reported. Though Welch’s order was upheld by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in March 2018, Maryland’s Court of Appeals reinstated the conviction in March 2019. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Syed’s appeal in 2019, leaving the appeals court’s ruling in place.
But there have been developments over the last several months.
In March, Mosby’s office agreed to new DNA testing, which Syed’s lawyers say could clear their client. According to the state’s attorney’s office, investigators did find male DNA after testing swabs taken from the victim’s fingernails and shirt, which were not tested during a 2018 inquiry. Results from that analysis did not provide conclusive results.
According to CBS News, the re-investigation of the case this year has presented new evidence against two so-far-unnamed suspects. Both of these suspects were reportedly known to law enforcement at the time, and allegedly one document in the trial file includes a witness statement that one of the two suspects had threatened to kill Lee, saying he would make the victim “disappear.” Syed’s attorneys said they did not receive this information during the trial.
There’s also the newly revealed fact that Lee’s car was found behind the home of one of the two new suspects.
Mosby said that prosecutors have “spoken with the family of Ms. Hae Min Lee and fully understand that the person responsible for this heinous crime must be held accountable.”