SERIAL Podcast Convicted Murderer Adnan Syed Released!
The subject of perhaps the biggest and most impactful true crime podcast of all time ‘Serial’, was just released from Prison today, after 23 years.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn overturned Adnan Syed’s murder conviction in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee after prosecutors raised doubts about his guilt because of the revelation of alternative suspects in the homicide and unreliable evidence used against him at trial.
The judge said her ruling was “interest of justice and fairness,” Phinn ordered Syed placed on home detention, wearing a GPS monitor, while Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office chooses whether to drop his charges or to try him again for murder in his ex-girlfriend’s death. Prosecutors have 30 days to make a decision.
According the Baltimore Sun: Syed was dressed in a white shirt and black tie, Syed smiled while descending the courthouse steps to the raucous cheers of supporters, family and friends. He did not speak to reporters on his way out of court, but his attorney, Erica Suter, recalled her client telling her “he couldn’t believe it’s real” after Phinn’s ruling.
Prosecutors said a yearlong investigation conducted alongside Suter showed that authorities knew about at least one alternative suspect before his trial and withheld that information from his defense, committing what’s known as a Brady violation.
While Mosby would not commit Monday to dismiss the case, she conceded much of the evidence relied upon in the original trial was now useless. Regardless of the decision, Mosby said Monday’s outcome reflected her office’s commitment to an equitable justice system.
“I said this four months following the death of Freddie Gray and I’m saying it four months before the end of my term: Justice is always worth the price paid for its pursuit,” Mosby said.
But Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, whose office represented the state for Syed’s various appeals, released a statement after Phinn’s ruling saying there was not a Brady violation and there were “other serious problems” with Mosby’s office’s motion. Frosh’s statement did not elaborate.
“Neither State’s Attorney Mosby nor anyone from her office bothered to consult with either the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted the case or with anyone in my office regarding these alleged violations,” Frosh told reporters. “The file in this case was made available on several occasions to the defense.”
Prosecutors said the state did not disclose the alternative suspects to Syed’s defense before trial, meaning his attorneys couldn’t use that information to argue his innocence to a jury.
Prosecutors described one of the suspects as a serial rapist, saying the suspect was convicted in a series of sexual assaults after Syed’s trial. Police discovered Lee’s car near the residence of one of the alternative suspects, the state’s motion said.
Syed was convicted, in part, because of cellphone location data that has since been found to be unreliable, according to prosecutors. They also highlighted the inconsistent statements of his co-defendant, Jay Wilds, who testified against him.\
We did it.
We FREED ADNAN! pic.twitter.com/4gYH8qQ3Ar
— rabia O’chaudry (@rabiasquared) September 19, 2022
Behind the scenes, Suter, a public defender and director of the Innocence Project clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, had been working with Mosby’s office with hopes of reducing Syed’s prison term in light of a new state law enabling those convicted of crimes before they turn 18 to ask the court to modify their punishment.
While examining the case, prosecutors agreed to request new DNA testing for items collected as evidence of Lee’s killing.
Phinn ordered the tests in March, but the results have so far been inconclusive, court documents show.
Tests for a few of the items are pending, and Mosby said after court the office was waiting on those results before deciding whether to drop Syed’s charges.
The court stopped short of exonerating him but said it was “not an honest conviction”, and that “the investigation is ongoing”.
Serial Podcast host Sarah Koenig talks about the state’s key witness testimony (by “Jay Wilds”) when reinvestigated was “a mess” on her latest Serial episode.
Koenig also said that the chances of the state trying to prosecute Adnan again are “remote at best”, and that his case “highlights nearly every chronic problem our system can cough up; police using questionable interview methods, prosecutors keeping crucial evidence from the defense, slightly junkie science, extreme prison sentences, juveniles treated as adults, how grindlingly difficult it is to get your case back in court once you’ve been convicted…”
True crime podcast Serial podcast has released a new episode after a judge overturned the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the famed podcast series.
Like this post? Then you’ll LOVE Stuart’s new zine!
Get this limited edition, hand signed zine covering 20 years of Stuart’s writings on San Francisco! Learn more right here.