US judge frees Adnan Syed after serving more than 20 years | Crime News

Judge vacates Saeed’s conviction in 1999 murder as prosecutors reopen case that was the focus of a “serial” podcast.

A Maryland judge quashed a 2000 ruling Adnan Said There were two other possible suspects in the killing of his ex-girlfriend that prosecutors said were never disclosed to the defense at trial.

The case drew national attention when the podcast “Serial” questioned his crimes.

Syed, 42, has always said he was innocent and did not kill Hae Min Lee, 18, who was strangled in 1999 and buried in a Baltimore park.

On Monday, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Melissa Finn ordered Syed to be released from jail and into home detention. Prosecutors have 30 days to seek a new trial or dismiss the case.

Baltimore state prosecutors on Wednesday filed a motion to quash the conviction after a year-long investigation with a public defender representing Syed that found some problems with witnesses and trial evidence.

Prosecutors told the court they were not saying Syed was innocent, but that they no longer had confidence in the “integrity of the conviction” and justice demanded that Syed be given at least a new trial.

They said Syed should be released from prison, where he spent two decades, while prosecutors complete their investigation and decide whether to seek a new trial.

Prosecutors said they uncovered new information about two unnamed surrogate suspects. Their identities were known to the original prosecutor but were not disclosed to the defense as required by law.

Prosecutors also found a key witness and detectives investigating the murder unreliable. They also uncovered new information that casts doubt on the cellphone data prosecutors used to put Saeed at the scene of the murder at the trial.

The podcast “Serial,” produced by Chicago Public Radio WBEZ, gained national attention in 2014.

Adnan Syed jailed for more than 20 years for murder he says he did not commit [File: Carlos Barria/Reuters]

“Those responsible for this heinous crime must be held accountable,” Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement.

The victim’s brother, Bruce Lee, told the court he was shocked, his family felt betrayed, and prosecutors reversed course after insisting on a conviction for decades.

“It’s really hard to go through this over and over again,” he said. “It was a living nightmare.”

Video footage on Monday showed Syed, wearing a white shirt and blue tie, waving to a group of supporters outside the courtroom as he was escorted to a vehicle that drove him away.

The Innocence Project, an advocacy group pushing for criminal justice reform, welcomed Syed’s release, saying the case highlighted the problem of unlawful detention by prosecutors Evidence of innocence.

“The integrity of the legal system requires accountability not only for Mr Saeed’s wrongful conviction, but also for the suffering caused to Hae Min Lee’s family by the state’s illegal actions,” the group said in a statement.

Source link