A US judge on Monday overturned the conviction of Adnan Syed, 41, for the 1999 murder of his 18-year-old classmate Hae Min Lee. The case gained global attention in 2014 when it was discussed on a popular crime podcast. Cont.
Syed was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 and served a total of 23 years in prison. At the time of the murder, Syed was 17 and still in high school.
The judge on Monday decided to commute the sentence after prosecutors withheld evidence of Syed’s acquittal during the trial.
New evidence will also be unearthed in the case, which could exonerate Syed and have two more suspects in the picture. Syed has always maintained that he had nothing to do with the murder of his ex-girlfriend Lee. In February 1999 the woman was found strangled and half-buried in a Baltimore park.
Baltimore prosecutors have given Syed 30 days to open a new case or drop all charges against him. Syed’s conviction was also overturned by the court in 2016, but the verdict was overturned by the High Court three years later. Monday’s verdict is final and cannot be changed by the High Court. Syed is therefore allowed to await the course of the case under house arrest at home.
Lee’s murder and Syed’s conviction were featured extensively in the 12 episodes of the first season of the popular podcast serial in 2014. The audio series is the most listened to podcast of all time with over 340 million downloads. Sarah Koenig, the podcast’s creator and host, appeared in court Monday. A new episode of the serial will be aired on Tuesday, which will deal with the case, the production company said know.
American television channel HBO covered the case and produced a series in 2019 Case against Adnan Syed. One of Lee’s lawyers told the series that traces of DNA found on Lee’s body were not Sai’s. More research is now being done on these DNA traces.
According to his brother, Lee’s family feel ‘betrayed’ and ‘blindsided’ by the course of the case. He was upset about the court’s verdict. This is not a podcast for me. This is real life: an endless nightmare that has lasted more than 20 years,” he told the judge. “Every time it’s over, it’s over, it always comes back,” Mr. Lee said. “It destroys me and my mother,” he added.
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