DNA test results led Baltimore prosecutors to drop charges against Adnan Syed.
via: The Guardian
Syed who was released from prison last month after the overturning of his murder conviction in the case that was at the center of the famed podcast Serial.
Syed can still be retried depending on what the Baltimore state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, decides, according to CBS, because there is no time limit to prosecute murder cases.
But Tuesday’s decision ensures he will not be returned to custody any time soon, if ever again, and investigators have said they are following up on promising leads that potentially implicate other suspects.
The state had only eight more days to indicate whether it intended to retry Syed soon or dismiss the case, at least for the time being.
A circuit court judge reversed Syed’s conviction on 19 September after ruling authorities hid exculpatory evidence from his defense.
Judge Melissa Phinn released Syed from prison, but he was not totally free, being ordered to remain under house arrest and to be monitored by a global positioning system – or GPS – tracker. The dismissal of charges on Tuesday means Syed is now free to re-enter society.
Syed, 41, spent more than 20 years in prison after the murder of his high-school girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999. A jury convicted him of Lee’s killing in February 2000, but he has maintained his innocence throughout. The withheld evidence appeared to support theories that someone other than Syed had killed Lee.
Despite the dismissal of charges, authorities have stopped short of declaring they believe Syed is innocent of Lee’s murder. Mosby has said that she will “certify” Syed’s innocence if new tests determine DNA collected as part of the investigation into Lee’s murder is inconclusive, or traces back to “two alternative suspects”, according to WJZ.
“If it comes back to Adnan Syed, the state is still in a position to proceed upon the prosecution,” she said. Otherwise, Mosby has indicated she will acknowledge he is factually innocent – a significant legal distinction – and wrongfully convicted.
Syed’s lawyer Erica Suter confirmed the dismissal of her client’s case to the Baltimore Sun.
The names of Syed and Lee became nationally known with the release of Serial in 2014.
A follow-up podcast, Undisclosed, as well as the book Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial – both by Syed’s longtime advocate Rabia Chaudry – along with the 2019 HBO documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed have questioned the integrity of Syed’s conviction in the case.