Prosecutors investigating other suspects in Adnan Syed case, state AG supports family’s appeal
by Aysha Qamar
Since his temporary release, several updates have been made in Adnan Syed’s case—a case that took the public by storm after being featured in the hit podcast Serial. Now 41, Syed was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee at the age of 17. He walked out of prison for the first time in over 20 years last month after a judge vacated his murder conviction due to newly found evidence and indications that his conviction was flawed.
According to The Baltimore Sun, several pieces of evidence were not disclosed to the defense, including two other suspects and their statements, one of whom allegedly had a motive to kill Lee. While that suspect has not been identified publicly, prosecutors are allegedly looking into him and his actions. The public is also speculating this new suspect is a friend of Syed’s who was represented by Syed’s initial attorney in a separate trial and called as a witness for Syed’s trial.
Because this new suspect remains a suspect and has not been charged, his name has not been made public.
In addition to these other suspects, Baltimore prosecutors also said some of the evidence used against Syed at trial has since been deemed unreliable, with a key testimony being not credible.
But while prosecutors claim that Syed was not given a fair trial and have been considering either a retrial or dropping the charges, Lee’s family is asking the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to pause Syed’s circuit court case as they appeal the judge’s decision to vacate Syed’s murder conviction.
In a filing that came days after Syed walked free, Lee’s brother Young Lee asked the appellate court to pause any further proceedings in the case because the family was not given enough notice about the hearing to overturn Syed’s conviction.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn overturned Syed’s conviction on Sept. 19, a move the family was not happy with.
“The Lee family is not seeking, through this motion or through the appeal, to impact Mr. Syed’s release from custody,” the family’s attorney Steve Kelly told the Sun in a statement. “If the wrong person has been behind bars for 23 years, the Lee family and the rest of the world want to understand what new evidence has led to that conclusion.”
While Phinn ordered a new trial in the matter, under Maryland law prosecutors have 30 days to either dismiss the charges or to continue with a new trial, meaning once Syed was released, prosecutors had a deadline of Oct. 18 to decide whether to drop the charges against Syed or retry him.
The Lee family filed an appeal against this after the judge allegedly rejected a request to postpone the decision from a lawyer representing Lee’s family, who said they had not been given adequate notice of the decision.
According to the Sun, while Maryland law does not specifically say how much notice a victim’s family needs before a hearing, it does state families should be given a “reasonable” amount of time.
But while Baltimore prosecutors are confident that the judge made the right decision, Attorney General Brian Frosch’s office, which represented the state in opposing Syed’s appeals, said in a court filing Friday that his office supports Young Lee’s appeal given his status as the victim’s representative, the Sun reported.
Syed is currently home with family with an ankle monitor. If the appeal is granted, he may be sent back to prison, where he has served 23 years. He has maintained his innocence from Day One.