Baltimore officials said Wednesday that they have filed a motion to vacate the conviction of Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular podcast “Serial” who was convicted in February 2000 for killing his ex-girlfriend. Officials on Wednesday requested another trial and said new evidence — including the existence of two potential alternative suspects — casts doubt on Syed’s prior conviction.
Syed was found guilty in 1999 of killing 17-year-old Hae Min Lee and was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.
“Since the inception of my administration, my prosecutors have been sworn to not only aggressively advocate on behalf of the victims of crime, but in the pursuit of justice, — when the evidence exists— to correct the wrongs of the past where doubt is evident,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement announcing the decision.
“For that reason, after a nearly year-long investigation reviewing the facts of this case, Syed deserves a new trial where he is adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented,” Mosby added.
Mosby and Sentencing Review Unit Chief Becky Feldman said in the statement that the decision is the result of a nearly year-long investigation that revealed previously undisclosed information about two potential alternate suspects and highlighted the unreliability of cell phone tower data that had been used in his original trial.
One of the potential suspects allegedly said that “he would make her [Ms. Lee] disappear. He would kill her,” according to the statement. The other person “relayed information that can be viewed as a motive for that same suspect to harm the victim,” the statement added.
The statement also said Lee’s car was located “directly behind the house of one of the suspect’s family members.” Neither of the potential suspects were named.
“This information about the threat and motives to harm could have provided a basis for the defense and was not disclosed to the trial nor the post-conviction defense counsel,” the statement said.
The statement emphasized that this does not mean prosecutors have determined that Syed is innocent — but said that “considering the totality of the circumstances, the State lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction.”
This is a developing story. It will be updated.