ISTANBUL (AA) – A US judge has overturned the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who had been convicted for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the conviction of Syed, granted a new trial, and ordered his immediate release after 22 years in prison.
Syed, now 41, was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee and sentenced to life in prison. He had always maintained his innocence.
The judge acknowledged that the state had failed to share exculpatory evidence — known as a Brady violation — that could have helped his defense at trial.
“Judge Phinn’s motion acknowledges that the State has proven that there was a Brady violation in Mr. Syed’s case and that new evidence has come to light,” Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City said in a statement, adding that Phinn placed Syed on home detention with GPS monitoring.
The state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, added: “Justice has prevailed with the outcome of today’s hearing.
“After a nearly year-long investigation reviewing the facts of this case, my team successfully argued that Mr. Syed deserves a new trial where he can be adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented.”
Prosecutors have 30 days to schedule a new trial or drop the murder charge.
“To be clear, the State is not asserting, at this time, that Mr. Syed is innocent. While the investigation remains ongoing, when considering the totality of the circumstances, the State lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction and requested that Mr. Syed be afforded a new trial,” the prosecutors said.