After 23 years in prison, prosecutors cleared Adnan Syed on Tuesday (October 11) in the murder of 18 years old Hae Min Lee. During his captivity, Adnan insisted that he did not kill his ex-high school girlfriend in 1999. Theo Related pressBaltimore prosecutors dropped charges against Adnan after additional DNA testing in the case.
“This case is over. Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a news conference.
According to the state’s attorney, DNA testing using modern methods has ruled out Adnan as the person who strangled Hae Min Lee. Their office received the test results on Friday (October 7). Experts examined Hae’s skirt, tights, jacket and shoes. They recovered some DNA on Hae’s shoes but not on the items. However, according to Mosby, Adnan’s “DNA has been ruled out.”
Despite Adnan’s exclusion, Mosby revealed his office “We will continue to use all available resources to prosecute anyone responsible for Hae Min Lee’s death.”
“It’s still an open and pending case, but for Adnan Syed, the case is closed,” Mosby said.
What happened to Hae Min Lee?
Adnan and Hae Min Lee maintained a close relationship while attending Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County. Hae Min Lee was last seen alive on January 13, 1999. About 4 weeks later, her body was found buried in a Baltimore park. An autopsy later revealed that the high school student had been strangled to death by hand.
In 2000, a jury convicted Syed, 17, of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment, according to The New York Times. In the years since, Adnan has filed multiple appeals.
Syed’s steadfast statement of innocence has inspired numerous media coverage over the years. His case captured the nation when Sarah Koenig recorded and investigated it during the podcast’s premiere season Serial in 2014. The story of Adnan and Hae Min Lee reached number one on the podcast on iTunes before its debut and a few weeks after. In 2015, Serial won a Peabody Award.
Retired judge sentenced last month; Hae’s family filed an appeal
On September 19, Judge Melissa M. Phinn overturned Adnan’s 2000 conviction. She ruled that the state of Maryland violated its legal obligation to share evidence that could help Adnan’s defense.
The Baltimore City Court judge also gave prosecutors 30 days to determine whether they would try Adnan again or drop the charges. Meanwhile, she keeps Adnan under house arrest with GPS location monitoring. On Tuesday, that restriction was lifted.
However, Hae Min Lee’s family is not satisfied with last month’s ruling. They asked the Special Appeals Court to hold another hearing so that they could attend and speak in person. Based on AP, Hae’s younger brother Young Lee was the only one who was able to attend the previous hearing via video due to short notice.
Although Mosby said the family’s appeal did not affect Tuesday’s decision to deny the charges, the appeals court has not yet dismissed the request. Syed’s defense team awaits their decision. Tuesday’s news shocked the family, who said they learned of Mosby’s decision through news outlets.
“The family received no notice and their attorney was not given the opportunity to be present during the proceedings,” said Attorney Steve Kelly. “By hastily dismissing the criminal charges, the Bang Law Office sought to silence the Hae Min Lee family and leave the family and the public unintelligible as to why Bang suddenly changed his mind for more than 20 years. past year. All this family wants are answers and a voice. Today’s actions have taken both of them away.”
However, State Attorney Mosby said she notified Steve Kelly on Tuesday morning. She said at the press conference that Kelly did not respond. However, she apologized to Hae and Adnan Syed’s family.
“The fundamentals of the criminal justice system must be based on fair and just prosecution,” Mosby said. She added, “and the crux of the matter is that we’re standing here today because that wasn’t done 23 years ago.”
Adnan’s reaction to his freedom and what’s next for the case
Although State Attorney Mosby said Adnan “was found guilty,” his defense team had to initiate a petition asking him to be innocent and certified. His attorney, Erica J. Suter, spoke at a news conference Tuesday. She revealed that they will file an application for a certificate of innocence “as soon as possible.”
However, Erica said it was too early to reveal whether Adnan was seeking compensation for the wrongful conviction. He is said to plan to continue pursuing his bachelor’s degree, which he started in prison. Currently, Adnan is “Excited”, “excited” but “still processing.”
“I think he was really excited to be able to have the little quiet, everyday pleasures of freedom that many of us take for granted,” said Suter.
Meanwhile, an investigation by the state attorney’s office has found evidence that points to two alternative suspects. Based on AP, the two suspects may have been involved in the murder of Hae Min Lee together or individually. Prosecutors also said two suspects were known at the time of the initial investigation but had not been satisfactorily ruled out.
Both suspects have criminal records. One was previously found guilty of assaulting a woman in her car, while the other was found guilty of mass rape and sexual assault. However, it is unclear whether these crimes occurred before or after the murder of Hae Min Lee.
Prosecutors have denied charges against Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee after additional DNA testing ruled him out as a suspect in a case recorded by the hit podcast “Serial.”
Syed served 23 years in prison. https://t.co/lQmJArPjKv pic.twitter.com/ZB1Y8v1Wcg
– Associated Press (@AP) October 11, 2022