Judge vacates murder conviction of Adnan Syed after podcast highlights case

The decision to pursue a new trial is pending the return of relevant DNA evidence, which may or may not help to clear Syed.

Updated: September 19, 2022 - 6:28pm

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A judge on Monday vacated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed after the popular podcast "Serial" featured his case.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn complied with the prosecution's request for a new trial, noting that two other potential suspects may have been improperly cleared and that some relevant material was not disclosed to defense attorneys, according to CNN.

Syed has professed his innocence since his conviction for killing his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Monday's ruling did not result in his exoneration and prosecutors have 30 days to determine whether to pursue a new trial against him. In the interim, Syed must wear an ankle monitor, but is otherwise a free man.

"We're not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent," Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said, per CNN. "But we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice he is entitled to a new trial."

The decision to pursue a new trial is pending the return of relevant DNA evidence, which may or may not help to clear Syed.

Eight years ago, the podcast "Serial" explored his case and raised questions about Syed's prosecution, which in turn prompted an HBO docuseries and national interest in his possible wrongful conviction.

Prior to his release on Monday, Syed was serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder and a litany of other criminal counts in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

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