Adnan Syed 'Couldn't Believe' His New Fate

Hae Min Lee's family says probe should continue, but Syed should remain jailed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2022 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Sep 20, 2022 5:46 AM CDT
Adnan Syed 'Couldn't Believe' Judge's Ruling
Adnan Syed, center right, leaves the courthouse after the hearing, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore.   (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Adnan Syed's attorney says that he told her "he couldn't believe it's real" after a judge overturned his conviction for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Syed, whose insistence of his innocence became the subject of many a water cooler debate after his case became the subject of the first season of the Serial podcast in 2014, smiled as he walked down the courthouse steps but did not speak to reporters, the Baltimore Sun reports. Syed's lawyer conducted the yearlong probe, alongside prosecutors, that ultimately determined authorities were aware of at least one other suspect before Syed went on trial, but didn't tell the defense about that suspect.

Among those at the courthouse when Syed was released: Sarah Koenig, who led the Serial probe into his case, Variety reports. Serial tweeted that a new episode on the case will be released Tuesday morning. An attorney representing Lee's family asked for Monday's hearing to be postponed, arguing that her family wasn't given enough notice to attend, but the judge denied the request. The hearing was delayed half an hour so that Lee's brother could find a private place to watch via video. Speaking during the hearing, he told the judge he felt betrayed by the prosecutors' request to vacate Syed's sentence: "This is not a podcast for me. This is real life."

Another person not happy with the development: Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who said the office of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby had "serious problems" in its motion to vacate, and that the office did not communicate with anyone in his office regarding the case before making the motion. As for the two "alternative suspects" now being investigated by authorities, one is a serial rapist who was convicted in multiple sexual assaults after Syed was convicted. Authorities say that suspect engaged in "multiple instances of rape and sexual assault of compromised or vulnerable victims in a systematic, deliberate and premeditated way," the ABA Journal reports.

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One had told Lee "he would make her disappear. He would kill her," prosecutors say. Her car was found behind the home of one of the alternative suspects. A polygraph taken by one of the suspects indicated deception, but he was allowed to take a second one. It's not clear whether either of the suspects are people mentioned in the Serial podcast as possibilities, but the Independent lists those possibilities: Ronald Lee Moore, Jay Wilds, Donald “Don” Clinedinst, and Alonzo Sellers. (More Adnan Syed stories.)

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