The case of Adnan Syed, whom you may know as the subject of podcast Serial‘s 2014 season, has taken a huge turn.
If you need a refresher, the then 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged with the first degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. Law enforcement at the time suspected Adnan strangled the 18-year-old girl to death and buried her body in a clandestine grave in Leakin Park. Police theorized the former honors student at Woodlawn High School didn’t take it well and eventually killed her. His first trial in 1999 was a mistrial, but in 2000 he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years — a sentence which he has been serving for the past 23 years.
Now prosecutors are saying they no longer have faith in the conviction. Yeah, over 2 decades later!
As of last Wednesday, Becky Feldman of the Maryland Chief Attorney’s Office Sentencing Review Unit wrote in a motion there was more evidence and more suspects which should have been pursued:
“The State’s Brady violations robbed the Defendant of information that would have bolstered his investigation and argument that someone else was responsible for the victim’s death.”
The motion named two “alternative” suspects who may be guilty of the crime. One of which threatened the victim in the past, saying he would kill her. Another has even been described as a “serial rapist”…
Wow, if the evidence was — well, evident — why wasn’t it pursued back then? Well, apparently, the state didn’t disclose those alternative suspects to the defense. Adnan’s attorney’s couldn’t argue what they didn’t know about! Completely unfair, and quite honestly, despicable. This is supposed to be the justice system we’re talking about. SOCIETY. Not some game of chess for prosecutors.
In a statement last week, Syed’s attorney said he was “grateful” for his day in court:
“Given the stunning lack of reliable evidence implicating Mr. Syed, coupled with increasing evidence pointing to other suspects, this unjust conviction cannot stand. Mr. Syed is grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court.”
The Baltimore State Attorney’s Office says they’re not sure if he’s innocent, but they do believe the conviction wasn’t handled properly. And, as of Monday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn has overturned his conviction. He walked down the steps to cheers and onlookers shouting for his justice.
But it doesn’t mean Syed is completely off the hook yet, even though his shackles were removed…
Judge Phinn has ordered him to wear a GPS monitor while the BSAO decides if they’re going to officially drop his charges of his ex-girlfriend’s death or retry him. They have 30 days to make the decision.
As for now, though, Adnan is awaiting their choice while spending time with his family — who wept and embraced him when the judge declared the ruling.
Wow, if he’s declared innocent, then he’s sat in jail since he was 17 for nothing…
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on this case as it continues to develop. What do U think about his overturning, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below).