Prosecutors drop charges against Adnan Syed in ‘Serial’ podcast case – Orange County Register
By BRIAN WITTE | Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Prosecutors on Tuesday dropped charges against Adnan Syed in connection with the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee, a case chronicled on the first season of the hit podcast “Serial.”
Emily Witty, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City Attorney’s Office, said in an email that her office has dropped the case against Syed and will release more details about his decision later Tuesday.
Laura Nirider, a co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, who accompanied Syed when he was released from prison last month, previously tweeted, “Breaking news: Following the latest round of DNA testing, we… Achieved results which, like previous rounds of testing, ruled out Adnan Syed, he has now been officially exonerated!”
A Baltimore judge last month vacated Syed’s murder conviction and ordered his release from the prison where the 41-year-old had served more than two decades. District Judge Melissa Phinn also gave prosecutors 30 days to decide whether to retry Syed or drop the charges.
Phinn ruled that the state had violated its legal obligation to share evidence that could have strengthened Syed’s defense. After his release, Syed was placed under house arrest with GPS tracking.
Syed has maintained his innocence for decades, drawing the attention of millions in 2014 when the first season of Serial focused on the case and cast doubt on some evidence, including cell tower data.
Prosecutors have previously said that a re-examination of the case has revealed evidence of the possible involvement of two alternative suspects. The two suspects could have been involved individually or together, prosecutors said.
One of the suspects had threatened Lee, saying, “He would make her (Ms. Lee) go away. He would kill her,” a court filing said.
The suspects were known people at the time of the original investigation and were not properly disqualified or disclosed to the defense, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also said new information revealed that one of the suspects was convicted of assaulting a woman in her vehicle and that one of the suspects was convicted of serial rape and sexual assault.
Prosecutors also uncovered unreliable cellphone data that was used during Syed’s trial to confirm his whereabouts on the day of the crime. The note on the recordings specifically stated that the billing locations for incoming calls “would not be considered reliable location information”.
Syed served more than 20 years in prison for strangling Lee, who was 18 at the time. Her body was found weeks later buried in a park in Baltimore.
More than a decade later, the popular “Serial” podcast uncovered little-known evidence and attracted millions of listeners, shattering podcast streaming and download records.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/10/11/report-prosecutors-drop-charges-in-serial-podcast-case/ Prosecutors drop charges against Adnan Syed in ‘Serial’ podcast case – Orange County Register