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Prosecutors move to vacate Adnan Syed's lifetime murder sentence

The case gained national recognition when it was featured on the podcast Serial
Court agrees to review decision to reopen 'Serial' case
Posted at 8:17 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 11:11:27-04

The Baltimore State's Attorney's Office on Wednesday filed a motion in court to vacate Adnan Syed's murder conviction, opening up the possibility of a new trial in Maryland.

Syed is currently in prison for the 1999 murder of his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, whose body was discovered in Baltimore's Leakin Park.

He was a juvenile at the time he allegedly committed the murder.

The case gained national recognition when it was featured on the podcast Serial, which questioned some evidence used to convict Syed.

Other information has since come to light leading some to doubt whether Syed was ever, in fact, guilty.

Prosecutors now say they've uncovered previously undisclosed material suggesting two other suspects could've potentially been responsible.

"To be clear, the State is not asserting, at this time, that Mr. Syed is innocent," The Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office said in a statement Wednesday. "While the investigation remains ongoing when considering the totality of the circumstances, the State lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction and requests that Mr. Syed be afforded a new trial."

Defense attorneys claim that both of the 'alternate' suspects were known to investigators when Syed was charged but failed to share those specific details.

Syed's team claims one of the potential suspects previously threatened to kill and make Lee disappear. The defense adds there is documentation that may provide that person's motive. Both 'alternate' suspects reportedly had prior convictions for violent crimes against women, according to Syed's lawyers. Lee's car, they say, had been found behind the home of one of those suspect's family members.

Much of Syed’s original trial hinged on cell phone data records, which prosecutors say are no longer reliable.

At the time, the state contended dozens of calls were received placing Syed at Leakin Park on the date and time of the murder.

He has long claimed to have been elsewhere at the time.

The case has gone through multiple appeals that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to overturn the conviction.

This story was originally published by WMAR in Baltimore, Maryland.