Adnan Syed walked out of courtroom a free man on Monday, after an nearly year-long investigation uncovered new proof concerning the attainable involvement of two various suspects within the 1999 slaying of scholar Hae Min Lee.
Lee, 18, vanished and not using a hint again on 13 January 1999 after leaving Woodlawn Excessive College in Baltimore, Maryland, the place she was a senior.
Her physique was discovered round one month later buried in a park in Baltimore. She had been strangled.
Syed, Lee’s former boyfriend who was 17 on the time, was arrested and charged together with her homicide.
In 2000, he was convicted of homicide, theft, kidnapping and false imprisonment and sentenced to life in jail.
On Monday, Baltimore Metropolis Circuit Choose Melissa Phinn vacated the 41-year-old’s conviction “within the curiosity of justice”, granted him a brand new trial and ordered him to be launched below house detention whereas the investigation into Lee’s homicide continues.
Minutes later, he was met by a roar of cheers as he walked down the steps of the courthouse and received right into a ready car.
His launch got here days after Maryland prosecutors made a bombshell request for his conviction to be quashed.
On Wednesday – after greater than twenty years behind bars the place Syed has continued to take care of his innocence of any involvement – Baltimore Metropolis State’s Legal professional Marilyn Mosby filed a movement to throw out his conviction.
She stated that “the state not has confidence within the integrity of the conviction” primarily based on doubts concerning the validity of cellphone information in addition to new details about two unnamed suspects.
Prosecutors requested a choose to overturn Syed’s conviction, grant him a brand new trial “at a minimal” and launch him on bail or on his personal private recognizance whereas the investigation continues.
Prosecutors have stopped wanting saying that they consider Syed to be harmless, as an alternative saying that they wish to make sure the true killer or killers are dropped at justice – whether or not that’s the 41-year-old or another person.
“After a virtually year-long investigation reviewing the information of this case, Syed deserves a brand new trial the place he’s adequately represented and the newest proof may be offered,” stated Ms Mosby in an announcement on Wednesday.
“As stewards of the courtroom, we’re obliged to uphold confidence within the integrity of convictions and do our half to right when this normal has been understood,” she stated.
“Now we have spoken with the household of Ms Hae Min Lee and [they] totally perceive that the particular person answerable for this heinous crime have to be held accountable.”
Prosecutors and Syed’s protection attorneys have spent the previous yr investigating the case which captured worldwide consideration because of the 2014 Serial podcast.
In March, they filed a request for Lee’s clothes to be examined for contact DNA – know-how that was not accessible through the unique trial.
Six months on, prosecutors stated that there was new proof concerning the attainable involvement of two various suspects.
Wednesday’s movement additionally cited the unreliability of cellphone tower information that was used as proof to position Syed on the scene of the crime, in addition to the unreliability of the state’s star witness and a detective working the unique case.
Who’re the 2 suspects?
Wednesday’s courtroom submitting didn’t title the 2 alternate suspects within the case, citing an ongoing investigation.
Prosecutors stated that the 2 alternate suspects had been each recognized to the preliminary 1999 homicide investigation and weren’t correctly dominated out or disclosed to the protection.
One of many suspects was dominated out by police primarily based on defective polygraph assessments, the paperwork state.
Each suspects have felony information, with one convicted of attacking a lady in her automotive and the opposite convicted of serial rape and sexual assault.
In keeping with the brand new courtroom paperwork, one of many suspects had threatened to kill Lee across the time of her homicide.
He stated that “he would make [Lee] disappear. He would kill her,” the paperwork state.
Prosecutors stated in an announcement that the 2 people now suspected within the case “could also be concerned individually or could also be concerned collectively”.
Ronald Lee Moore
Whereas prosecutors haven’t named the 2 alternate suspects, different names did crop up within the Serial podcast which first broke the case extensive open.
Serial, from journalist Sarah Koenig, advised the story of the Lee’s homicide and Syed’s conviction, elevating doubts about his guilt or – at the least – within the prosecution’s case.
Following its 2014 launch, it was an enormous hit and introduced world consideration to the little-known case.
In it, Ms Koenig named Ronald Lee Moore, a profession felony and accused assassin from Baltimore, as a suspect in Lee’s slaying.
Moore, who died by suicide in a Louisiana jail in 2008, was beforehand convicted of housebreaking and was additionally suspected in a collection of different burglaries, unsolved sexual assaults and murders throughout Maryland.
He was launched from jail simply 10 days earlier than Lee’s disappearance and loss of life.
He was a part of the unique investigation however DNA discovered on the crime scene didn’t match him. It additionally did not match Syed.
It’s not clear if the brand new DNA contact check has now tied him to the case.
Following his 2008 loss of life, Moore has been tied to at the least two unsolved murders of younger ladies across the identical time as Lee’s slaying.
In 2020, Moore was recognized because the killer of 23-year-old Shawn Marie Neal who was discovered strangled to loss of life in her condominium in North Myrtle Seaside, South Carolina, in 1996.
Nobody was ever charged in Neal’s slaying and the case went chilly, till DNA from the homicide scene was lastly linked to Moore nearly 25 years on.
In 2013, Moore was additionally named as a suspect within the 1999 homicide of Annelise Hyang Suk Lee in Baltimore.
It’s not clear if Moore is without doubt one of the two alternate suspects now suspected in Lee’s homicide.