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Baltimore prosecutor apologizes to Syed, Lee's family after charges dropped in 'Serial' case

Adnan Syed leaves courthouse after conviction vacated
Posted at 10:22 AM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 13:45:06-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all charges against Adnan Syed.

The move comes after Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a motion in court Friday, defending an appeals request made by Hae Min Lee's family, whom Syed was accused of murdering back in 1999.

Her family was looking to put the case on hold in order to review evidence that prosecutors used in their decision to vacate Syed's conviction.

Following the announcement of the charges against Syed being dropped, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby held a press conference, apologizing to Syed and Lee's families.

“Although my administration was not responsible for neither the pain inflicted upon Hae Min Lee’s family, nor was my administration responsible for the wrongful conviction of Mr. Syed, as a representative of the institution, it is my responsibility to acknowledge and to apologize to the family of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed," Mosby said.

In September, a Baltimore judge ordered Syed to be released from prison and overturned his lifetime sentence, paving the way for a new trial.

Now there will be no new trial, meaning Syed is a free man.

"This morning, I instructed my office to dismiss the criminal case against Syed, following the completion of a second round of touch, DNA testing of items that were never tested before," Mosby said during the press conference.

Those items included shoes, pantyhose, and a skirt, Mosby said.

Mosby explained that DNA had been found on Lee's shoes, but Syed's DNA was excluded.

She added that her office received those results on Friday.

Syed's case gained national attention when it was featured on the podcast Serial, which questioned some evidence used to convict him originally.

Prosecutors said they've since uncovered previously undisclosed material suggesting that two other suspects could have potentially been responsible for Lee's murder.

They were also awaiting DNA results, which Syed's attorney Erica Suter says proved his innocence.

“Finally, Adnan Syed is able to live as a free man," said Suter. "The DNA results confirmed what we have already known and what underlies all of the current proceedings, that Adnan is innocent and lost 23 years of his life serving time for a crime he did not commit.”

It remains unclear how Lee's family will proceed with their appeal.

Frosh said Friday that he would argue to prevent Syed from being a party in the appeals process, which, if granted, could hamper his attorneys from participating or opposing the measure.

“While the proceedings are not completely over, this is an important step for Adnan, who has been on house arrest since the motion to vacate was first granted last month,” said Suter. “He still needs some time to process everything that has happened, and we ask that you provide him and his family with that space.”

Ryan Dickstein at WMAR first reported this story.