Baltimore Prosecutors Move to Vacate Adnan Syed Conviction in 1999 Murder Case Brought to National Fame in ‘Serial’ Podcast


BALTIMORE — Baltimore prosecutors moved Wednesday to vacate the conviction in the murder case of Adnan Syed, whose legal saga rocketed to international prominence by way of the hit podcast “Serial.”

The development means Syed, now 42, could get a new trial or go free after serving more than 20 years in prison for the 1999 killing of his ex-girlfriend, which he always maintained he never committed.

Hae Min Lee was strangled to death and buried in a clandestine grave in Baltimore’s Leakin Park.

Authorities previously believed Lee struggled with Syed in a car before he killed her. He stood trial twice for the homicide. A jury in 2000 found Syed guilty of premeditated murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment. At sentencing, the judge gave him life plus 30 years in prison.

Syed appealed again and again, with trial judges and appellate courts denying his lawyers’ claims as many times. In 2018, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals determined Syed was entitled to a new trial, only for the state’s top court to overrule the opinion the next year. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Syed’s case in 2019.