Speed Reads

New Evidence

Baltimore prosecutors move to vacate murder conviction of Serial's Adnan Syed

Baltimore prosecutors are petitioning a judge to vacate the conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, per an exclusive report from The Wall Street Journal. Both Syed and his case were the subject of the first season of hit true crime podcast Serial back in 2014.

The Baltimore City state's attorney filed a motion on Wednesday stating that, after a yearlong investigation in conjunction with Syed's defense team, new evidence that could implicate two alternative suspects had been discovered. For instance, prosecutors apparently unearthed a statement alleging that one of the two alternate suspects said "he would make [Lee] disappear. He would kill her," per the court filing. The defense was never given that information.

Though prosecutors are not asserting that Syed is innocent, they are requesting he be given a new trial in light of the new evidence. "[T]he state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction," said the office of Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, which is overseeing the review of the case, per the Journal. Mosby's office is also recommending Syed be released from prison pending the ongoing investigation. 

Syed, a Baltimore native, has been serving a life sentence since 2000, when he was found guilty of strangling Lee. He was charged as an adult despite being 17, and has maintained his innocence ever since.

Syed has also lost several appeals since his conviction. Most recently, a special appeals court in 2018 ruled that he deserved a new trial, but a Maryland court overturned the decision the following year.