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Prosecutors drop all charges against ‘Serial’ podcast subject Adnan Syed

On Tuesday, the Baltimore City State Attorney’s Office announced they have dropped all charges against ‘Serial’ podcast subject Adnan Syed for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend. The move comes weeks after Syed’s conviction was overturned on September 19th, and he was released without bail and placed on home detention with GPS monitoring while prosecutors were given 30 days to decide whether to move for a new trial or drop the case.

Syed was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder Hae Min Lee; his case gained national attention more than a decade later in 2014 as the subject of the podcast “Serial.” Erica Suter, Syed’s attorney and director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore Law School, said: “Finally Syed is able to live as a free man.”  

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender said in a statement that the decision to drop the charges was made after DNA testing “excluded Mr. Syed from the DNA recovered at the scene…the DNA results confirm 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.”

Syed, just 17 years old at the time of his arrest, has maintained his innocence in the killing of the 18-year-old Lee, his classmate and ex-girlfriend, who was strangled to death and found buried in a park in Baltimore County in 1999.  However after a yearlong investigation into the case, prosecutors said they had produced evidence suggesting the involvement of two alternative suspects.   One of the suspects threatened Lee, saying “he would make her disappear” and “would kill her.” and one of the suspects was described as a serial rapist convicted in a series of sexual assaults after Syed’s trial. Police also discovered Lee’s car near one of the suspect’s residences.

Editorial credit: John B Hewitt /

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