Man released from jail after 23 years as prosecutors find ‘alternative suspects’

Adnan Syed whose case spawned the “Serial” podcast when two more suspects emerged in the case. – Reuters

A man has been released from prison after spending 23 years behind bars as prosecutors say they have found two “alternative suspects”.

Adnan Syed, 41, was sentenced to life imprisonment when he was 19 years old. The Baltimore man was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999 and hiding her body in the woods.

Adnan Syed was just 19 when he was sentenced to life in prison.—CNN
Adnan Syed was just 19 when he was sentenced to life in prison.—CNN

This is the case that was discussed on the true crime podcast “Serial,” which became a hit show.

Prosecutors last week asked the court to overturn the man’s conviction after a year-long investigation revealed two more suspects. The BBC.

After two decades, Syed was released from shackles on Monday.

While the verdict doesn’t prove Syed is innocent, Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Finn said she is rejecting the sentence for “justice and fairness.” A new trial is ordered.

In 2000, prosecutors argued to a jury that Syed was a scorned lover who killed his ex-partner and hid her body.

The jury convicted him on the basis of mobile phone location data that is now being dismissed as unreliable.

- Reuters
– Reuters

Syed’s appeals over the past 20 years have been rejected, including a 2019 appeal, his most recent attempt.

A 2014 podcast series shed light on the case and cast doubt on the jury’s verdict. With more than 340 million downloads, it has inspired other works such as HBO Docs in 2019.

After studying the case for a year, the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office said Syed deserved a new trial.

The names of the accused have not been disclosed, but according to reports, both have a criminal record of violence against women.

The lead prosecutor said prosecutors have a responsibility to advocate not just for victims but “those who have been falsely accused and convicted”.

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