One of the main figures in blockbuster podcast Serial, Adnan Syed, will be able to perform new DNA tests on the evidence used against him during the 2000 murder trial of Hae Min Lee.
Prosecutors in Maryland agreed to Syed’s request in a Mar. 10 motion filed in Baltimore City’s Circuit Court, according to The New York Times. Syed, also the focus of HBO’s The Case Against Adnan Syed is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Lee, who was found strangled in a park in Baltimore County.
Syed, now 40, was 17 when he was arrested and has maintained his innocence for the duration of his incarceration. In 2014, the case got international attention as the subject of Serial’s first season, which then became a global sensation.
In 2016, a judge granted him a new case and his conviction was vacated, but then it was reinstated by the Maryland Court of Appeals. An appeal to the Supreme Court Was also unsuccessful.
Last year, Adnan asked prosecutors to take another look at his conviction under a new Maryland law that lets prosecutors change sentences for people who were juveniles when they were arrested and have served at least 20 years. While this process was underway, the idea for new testing came up, Baltimore City state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement.
“In the process of reviewing this case for a possible resentencing, it became clear that additional forensic testing — which was not available at the time of the original investigation and trial in this case — would be an appropriate avenue to pursue.
This was actually also done for the HBO documentary, albeit unofficially, which said it found no traces of Syed’s DNA on the array of objects taken from Lee’s body. For the new tests, a judge has to approve an order so an independent lab can perform them.
One of Syed’s lawyers, Erica J. Suter from the Innocence Project, said the move was a step in the right direction toward Syed’s desire to be exonerated.
“Mr. Syed has been waiting more than two decades for the opportunity to exonerate himself, not just in the court of public opinion, but in the court of law.
“We applaud the state’s attorney for recognizing the serious concerns in his case, after several months of deliberation and review, and agreeing that DNA testing is needed. We are eager to finally have access to the forensic tools to establish Mr. Syed’s innocence.”