Up until Monday, September 19, 2022, Adnan Syed was serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, his high school classmate and former girlfriend. Syed maintained his innocence throughout his 23 incarcerated years and tried every possible legal route to vacate the charges.
Two handwritten notes found by a prosecutor in the Baltimore State Attorney’s office would change everything. Baltimore City Circuit Court’s Judge Melissa M. Phinn found that prosecutors did not hand over all new evidence for the case that could have supported Syed at trial.
Now, the judge said prosecutors have 30 days to drop the case or move forward with a new trial. Until their decision, Syed will be on house arrest. 2 “alternative suspects” were found during an investigation, according to prosecutors, and their names have not been released to the public.
This breaking news was covered by Sarah Koenig in a new 17-minute episode of “Serial.” The podcast’s first season, released in 2014, investigated Syed’s case in 12 episodes and bonus updates. “Serial” explored the case’s most puzzling details. Syed’s friend Jay Wilds came forward and said Syed told him he was going to kill Lee. Wilds also said Syed showed him Lee’s corpse in a car before the two buried the body in a Baltimore park. But his story’s details kept changing, as Koenig shared more of what the filed motion explained.
Other evidence included cell phone records that confirmed Syed was in the park near where Lee’s body was found, but the motion shared how the cell phone data used to incriminate was flawed.
“Serial” set the stage for more groundbreaking true crime podcasts that followed. This case was also detailed in HBO’s 4-part documentary The Case Against Adnan Syed.
Syed was convicted in 2000 for first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping, and false imprisonment. In 2018, Syed’s case was vacated by an appeals court as it ruled he had ineffective legal counsel. This was reversed in 2019.
In this new “Serial” episode, hear recaps from courtroom proceedings, clips from outside the courthouse after the reversal, insight from Koenig, a timeline leading up to the sentence review, a new law that came into effect in 2021 called the Juvenile Restoration Act, a Brady violation, and a request for new, high-tech DNA testing in March. Koenig explained how the new evidence found implicates 2 other suspects and more.
Koenig discussed information about the 2 alternative suspects and said she knows who they are. 1 or both have relevant criminal histories, with some crimes committed after Syed’s trial. 1 suspect was brought in at the time for questioning and polygraphs. The other was briefly investigated for this crime and is now in prison for sexual assault. Koenig also shared how the courts are handling and reevaluating old information.
“Serial” is produced by Serial Productions. Tune in for the latest “Serial” episode, now streaming.