Baltimore prosecutors have filed a motion seeking a new trial for Adnan Syed, whose murder charges were the subject of the hugely popular Serial podcast.
Syed was 17 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999.
He has maintain his chastity and has been appealing his conviction for years – with the case first gaining global attention by the hit podcast in 2014, which raised suspicions about Syed’s guilt.
After serving more than 20 years in prison, he can now be released, pending a new trial.
Serial’s suggestive evidence unearthed from witness Asia McClain may have corroborated Syed’s account that he was in the library at the time of the murder.
The petition filed today in favor of a new trial for Syed has revealed new information regarding two alternative suspects.
It is thought that evidence indicating two other people – including one who threatened to kill the victim – was not disclosed to Syed’s attorneys at the time of the initial trial.
According to court records, one of the suspects said, “He would make her [Ms. Lee] disappear. He will kill her. “
Both have been known to police since 1999, according to court records.
New information also reveals that one of the suspects has been found guilty of assaulting a woman in her car and one of the suspects has been found guilty of participating in mass rapes and sexual assaults.
The victim’s car was also found right behind the home of one of the suspect’s family members.
Unreliable and inconsistent eyewitness testimony
The state also acknowledged concerns that the conviction was based primarily on the unreliable and inconsistent testimony of a witness corroborated by inaccurate and misleading forensic evidence.
Syed’s initial trial was largely based on cellphone data records, which corroborate some of Jay Wilds’ testimony regarding Syed’s whereabouts throughout the day. However, the notice on the filing specifically advises that the billing location for incoming calls “will not be considered reliable information for the location”.
Despite this announcement, prosecutors used the pay location for incoming calls for the exact purpose – to prove that the defendant was in a particular area at a particular time.
“For that reason, after a nearly year-long investigation looking into the circumstances of this case, Syed deserves a new trial, where he is fully represented, and the latest evidence available. launched,” State Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
She said prosecutors spoke with Ms. Hae Min Lee’s family.
Syed Request Released
If the court approves the motion, it would effectively put Mr Syed in a new adjudication status – his sentence would be vacated but the case would remain active.
“Whether the state ultimately continues to hear this matter or dismisses the charges will depend on the outcome of the ongoing investigation,” the filing said.
“The state will require that the defendant be released on parole or on bail pending investigation if this court makes an immediate request.”
Prosecutors did not say Syed was innocent but said “the state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the verdict”.
Assistant Public Defender Erica Suter, Syed’s attorney and Innocence Project Clinic Director, said: “Due to the lack of credible evidence regarding Mr Syed, coupled with the growing body of evidence pointing to Mr. other suspects,” this false accusation was intolerable.
“Mr Syed is grateful that this news has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court.”