Adnan Syed’s murder conviction vacated; prosecutors could seek new trial

The dramatic turn came in a Baltimore, Maryland, courtroom after new evidence was uncovered by prosecutors.
A judge on Monday ordered the release of Adnan Syed, the subject of 2014’s wildly popular podcast “Serial,” after prosecutors requested that his 2000 murder conviction be vacated.

The dramatic turn came in a Baltimore courtroom after new evidence was uncovered by prosecutors.

Syed, who is now 41, has been serving a life sentence for the past 23 years — more than half his life — since his arrest in 1999.

He was just 17 when he was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 2000.

He has maintained his innocence and denied any involvement in Lee’s death.

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Judge Michelle Phinn ordered Syed’s release, asking for his shackles to be removed after listening to the state and the defense make arguments.

“At this time, we will remove the shackles from Mr. Syed,” Phinn declared after announcing her decision.

She said that “in the interests of fairness and justice,” Syed should be released on his own recognizance after finding that prosecutors failed to turn over evidence that could have helped his trial in 2000 and after new evidence was discovered that could have affected the outcome of his case.

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office now has 30 days to decide whether to either schedule a new trial date or drop the case.