– An American is the focus of the serial podcast released after 23 years in prison
Adnan Syed, a 42-year-old man the focus of the Serial podcast, had his conviction overturned on Monday September 19, 2022. In 2000, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend.
A US judge on Monday overturned the conviction of a man who was being held for 23 years in a murder he has always denied, a case that has been the focus of global hit podcast Serial. Adnan Syed, 42, was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee in Baltimore on the East Coast of the United States.
In an unexpected turn of events, city prosecutor Marilyn Mosby last week filed a motion to have the sentence overturned, saying she had doubts about Adnan Syed’s guilt and asking for his release. Marilyn Mosby said she discovered the existence of “two alternate suspects,” critical information that was poorly used at the time and, importantly, was not shared with the defense before the trial.
On Monday, a judge upheld the prosecutor’s request during a hearing in a crowded courtroom in Baltimore. “In the interests of justice and fairness, the motion will be granted and the accused will be released” and given an electronic bracelet, said Melissa Phinn. Agents then removed Adnan Syed’s restraints while part of the room applauded before being called to order. The full beard and the cap-covered head showed no reaction.
Shortly before that hearing, Hae Min confided in Lee’s brother via conference call that he was “living a nightmare that never ends” and said he felt “betrayed” by prosecutors who claimed they had the right culprit for years before finally giving his opinion changed.
Decision on a new process within one month
It is now up to prosecutors to decide within the next 30 days whether to organize a new trial or drop all charges against Adnan Syed. The case began in February 1999 when police found the body of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee half-buried in a Baltimore forest. Adnan Syed was arrested at the age of 17 and sentenced to life imprisonment a year later. According to prosecutors, he did not support her leaving him for someone else and strangling her. He has always maintained his innocence and claimed to be the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice.
In 2014, a team of journalists conducted a counter-investigation, narrated in 12 episodes in the first season of “Serial.” A precursor to the podcast era, this radio soap opera has been downloaded more than 300 million times, according to its producers. It also inspired an HBO documentary.
Neglected essential elements
Investigations by serial journalists had shown that Adnan Syed’s lawyer had neglected a cell phone report favorable to the accused and the testimony of a young girl who had offered him a possible alibi. Her work led to a retrial of the case, and in March 2018, a Maryland appeals court ordered a new trial, finding that her client’s attorney had provided “ineffective assistance.”
In March 2019, the Maryland Supreme Court recognized that the attorney wrongly failed to produce certain elements, but estimated that the verdict would not have been different “given the body of the evidence” had she included it. You have therefore rejected the organization of a new process. Adnan Syed’s defense then turned to the Supreme Court. In 2019, she refused to intervene, dashed her hopes of being released. But the Baltimore Attorney reopened the case, ultimately causing this latest court reversal.