A judge has overturned a conviction for the murder of Adnan Syed — whose case was the focus of a viral “serial” podcast back in 2014 — and a Baltimore man was released from prison after spending more than 22 years behind bars.
Monday’s ruling by Judge Melissa Finn of the Baltimore City Circuit Court overturned Syd’s murder conviction, after the judge found that prosecutors had failed to turn over evidence that could have aided Syed in the trial. Judge Finn said after announcing her decision, according to New York times.
Serial Productions, now owned by The Times, said in a tweet That Sarah Koenig, who led the original investigation for the “serial” podcast, was in the courtroom on Monday when Syed was released. The series said that a new episode of the podcast will be released on Tuesday.
Prosecutors last week filed a motion last week asking the court to annul the death sentence of Syed 2000, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend Hae Min Lee. They recommended that he be released from prison and given a new trial.
In her ruling on Monday, the judge ordered Syed to serve home confinement and gave prosecutors 30 days to decide whether to move to a new trial or drop the case, according to The Times. Syed, now 41, has been serving a life sentence since 2000. He has maintained his innocence.
The series was launched in 2014 as part of NPR’s “This American Life” and was an overnight podcast success. In the first season, Koenig investigated Syd’s first-degree murder conviction for Lee’s strangulation in 1999 in Baltimore. “Serial” has raised questions about the evidence against him, including an account of Asia MacLean, who allegedly saw Syd in a public library during the time of Lee’s murder.
Syed’s case was also the subject of a four-part HBO documentary series released in 2019 by director Amy Berg called The Case Against Adnan Syed, which also questioned his guilt. The director hired private investigators and reached out to new allies after the release of the podcast “The Serial”.
In March 2019, the Maryland Supreme Court denied Syed a retrial and he appealed the ruling to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear his appeal.
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