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Adnan Syed Was Just Released from Prison—Why the ‘Serial’ Subject’s Murder Conviction Was Overturned

True crime podcasts are a dime a dozen as of late, however again in 2014, Serial was a game-changer. It has additionally been a life-changer for Adnan Syed who was launched on September 20, 2022, after spending 23 years incarcerated for the 1999 homicide of Hae Min Lee. A criminal offense he maintains he didn’t commit.

Tens of millions of individuals learn about Adnan’s case due to Serial, a podcast led by Sarah Koenig and her workforce of investigative journalists. In weekly episodes, their reporting solid doubts on the prosecutor’s case in opposition to Adnan in addition to the competence of his protection workforce, although she instructed NPR on the time that she despatched out to report on, not essentially exonerate Adnan. “I’m not right here to exonerate Adnan,” she stated. “I’m right here to report this story. I don’t know what I’m going to search out, and I would discover proof that he’s responsible, and we must always all be ready for that.” After twenty years behind bars, Adnan Syed’s sentence has been vacated. Right here’s what which means and whether or not he’ll keep a free man.

Why was Adnan Syed launched?

Adnan Syed was launched as a result of Baltimore decide Melissa Phinn overturned his homicide conviction on September 20, 2022. It comes after prosecutors found undisclosed proof implicating two different suspects. Adnan was launched from jail and positioned in house detention and the State has 30 days to resolve whether or not it can pursue a brand new trial or drop the fees in opposition to Adnan. “To be clear, the State is just not asserting, at the moment, that Mr. Syed is harmless,” The Baltimore Metropolis State’s Legal professional’s Workplace stated. “Whereas the investigation stays ongoing when contemplating the totality of the circumstances, the State lacks confidence within the integrity of the conviction,” Koenig instructed the New York Occasions that these two folks had been recognized to detectives on the time of the crime however that data was by no means handed over to Syed’s protection. “Essentially the most damning factor is that a few folks had instructed the prosecutor’s workplace on the time that one of many suspects had a motive to kill Hae, and even had threatened to take action,” she stated. “And that data was by no means instructed to the protection. That alone—not handing over vital proof—could possibly be grounds to overturn a homicide conviction.” She goes on to clarify that these two suspects had a historical past of violence in opposition to girls.

Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed. Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Solar/Tribune Information Service by way of Getty Pictures

What occurred in Serial season one?

Serial season one investigates the homicide of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, the person on the time who was accused of her homicide, Adnan Syed. In 1999, highschool senior Hae disappeared after faculty in Baltimore County, Maryland and her physique was present in Leakin Park a month later. Then 17-year-old Adnan, Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan was charged with premeditated homicide, kidnapping, theft and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to life a mere 12 months later. It was argued that Adnan grew to become enraged when Hae broke up with him and began courting one other man, resulting in Hae’s strangulation demise and the burial of her physique in a Baltimore metropolis park. However Adnan has at all times maintained his innocence and the proof used at trial was questionable, as Serial illuminated.

Sarah Koenig

Sarah Koenig. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe by way of Getty Pictures

The case in opposition to Adnan was largely based mostly on inconsistent testimony from his good friend Jay, who claimed he helped Adnan bury Hae’s physique. Apart from that, prosecutors leaned closely on cellphone location information which has since been discovered to be unreliable. This was 1999 in any case. “Mr. Syed’s conviction was constructed on a flawed investigation,” Adnan’s legal professional Erica Suter stated in courtroom forward of his launch. “This was true in 1999 when he was a 17-year-old little one. It stays true at this time.” Outdoors the courtroom, Suter criticized prosecutors for withholding proof that would have confirmed Adnan’s innocence for many years. “If that proof had been disclosed, maybe Adnan wouldn’t have missed his highschool commencement, or his pre-med plans, or 23 years of birthdays, holidays, household gatherings, group occasions and on a regular basis moments of pleasure,” she instructed The Baltimore Solar exterior the courtroom. Hae’s brother stated he was “not in opposition to the investigation”, that he believes within the justice system, however had been blindsided by prosecutors. “Day by day after I assume it’s over… or it’s ended, it at all times comes again. It’s killing me,” he stated. “This isn’t a podcast for me. That is actual life – a endless nightmare for 20-plus years.”

Serial wrapped eight years in the past however in gentle of Adnan’s launch, a brand new once-off, 16-minute-long episode dropped. In it, Koenig displays on what the choice to launch Adnan means to the bigger failures of the justice system. “There was lots of speak about equity. However most of what the State put in that movement to vacate all of the precise proof was both recognized or knowable to cops and prosecutors again in 1999,” she stated. “So even on a day when the federal government publicly acknowledges its personal errors, it’s exhausting to really feel cheered a few triumph of equity. As a result of we’ve constructed a system that takes greater than 20 years to self-correct. And that’s simply this one case.”


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