Baltimore prosecutors demand that Adnan Syed be tried again for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a case that gripped the nation after it was featured on the Serial podcast.
In a motion filed Wednesday, the state attorney for Baltimore City said new evidence cast doubt on Syed’s conviction, asking for his conviction to be revoked and a new trial date set.
The office of Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby also advised in the motion that Syed, who is currently serving life behind bars, be released without bail pending retrial.
The motion states that prosecutors do not claim that Syed is innocent in the case, but that “the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction.”
Baltimore prosecutors demand that Adnan Syed (above) be tried again for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee
Syed is serving a life sentence after being convicted of strangling Lee (with him above at the prom). The two were high school classmates who dated
Here’s a year-long investigation by prosecutors and defense attorneys that uncovered new information about the possible involvement of two alternate suspects.
Prosecutors said the two suspects were known to initial investigators in 1999, but had not been properly ruled out.
The motion, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, did not name the two alternate suspects, citing the integrity of the investigation.
The filing also says that during the trial, prosecutors failed to provide key information to the defense team as required, in what is known as a Brady violation.
The withheld information included a witness statement about threats made against Lee by one of the other suspects, including the threat to kill her.
Prosecutors also questioned the validity of cell phone records and data presented in the original trial as important evidence for the state.
The office of Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby (above) also advised in the motion that Syed be released without bail pending a new trial.
Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore ahead of a 2016 hearing. Two courts have previously denied Syed’s requests for a retrial
Although he was 17 at the time of the murder, Syed was tried as an adult. He has always maintained his innocence
“Given the astonishing lack of reliable evidence implicated by Mr Syed, coupled with mounting evidence pointing to other suspects, this wrongful conviction cannot stand,” Syed’s attorney Erica Suter said in a statement.
‘Mr. Syed is grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and is looking forward to his day in court,” added Suter, who is also director of the Innocence Project Clinic.
Syed, now 40, is serving a life sentence plus 40 years after he was convicted in 2000 of strangling Lee and burying her body in a shallow grave in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. Syed and Lee were high school classmates who had dated each other.
Although he was 17 at the time of the murder, Syed was tried as an adult. He has consistently maintained his innocence.
In its debut season of 2014, the podcast ‘Serial’ broke podcast streaming records and threw the spotlight on the case that led to renewed legal proceedings.
In March of this year, a judge ordered that evidence from the case, including the victim’s rape kit, be tested for DNA using technology not available at the time of the murder.
It is unclear whether the results of those tests contributed to the motion filed on Wednesday.
It follows a series of legal twists and turns in the case.
Syed, now 40, is serving a life sentence plus 40 years after being convicted in 2000 of strangling Lee and burying her body in a shallow grave
Sarah Koenig, producer and host of the podcast Serial, can be seen in 2015
Two courts have previously rejected Syed’s requests for a retrial based on claims by ineffective counsel.
His attorney at his first trial, Cristina Gutierrez, was unable to contact an alibi witness, Asia McClain, who said she saw Syed in a library when prosecutors say he strangled Lee in 1999. Gutierrez has since passed away.
But in 2018, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Syed a retrial in a 4-3 ruling, even agreeing that his trial attorney’s work was lacking.
The state’s Supreme Court said there was little chance the outcome would have been different if Gutierrez had done what she should have done.
Then, in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Syed’s bid for a new trial.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement at the time that the evidence against Syed was “overwhelming.”
“We remain confident in the jury’s verdict and are pleased that justice has been done to Hae Min Lee,” he said.