Adnan Syed, featured in the first season of the wildly popular podcast Serial, was released from prison on Monday after his 1999 conviction for murdering his ex-girlfriend was overturned. Syed, 41, was serving a life sentence and has long maintained his innocence.
Baltimore City District Court Judge Melissa Finn said Syed’s conviction for the murder of Hae Min Lee was wrong, NBC News reported Monday.
Prosecutors failed to properly turn over evidence that would have created a “substantial and substantial likelihood that the outcome would have been different,” Finn said.
In Finn’s ruling, according to NBC News, the judge dismissed Syed’s murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment charges, and the judge ordered that he be released without bail. Last week, the prosecutor’s office requested that the guilty verdict be overturned and a new trial be ordered.
Syed’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Erica Suter, who is also the director of the Innocence Project, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Innocence Project at the University of Baltimore School of Law is a nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing people it believes have been wrongfully convicted.
Syed rose to national prominence when he was featured in the series’ first season in 2014. The podcast broke the case, traced key details, and cast doubt on the case against him by prosecutors. The podcast has been downloaded over 100 million times and won a Peabody Award. It also led to a four-part HBO documentary series in 2019 titled The Case Against Adnan Syed.
In a surprising turn of events, Serial’s Twitter account announced that the new episode will air on Tuesday, after host Sarah Koenig attended court on Monday to see the verdict overturned.