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MD Judge Vacates Syed 2000 Murder Verdict With New Possible Suspects

A Maryland judge on Monday dismissed the 2000 murder conviction of Adnan Syed after prosecutors said there were grave problems with his trial, including two other possible suspects in the killing of his former girlfriend who were never disclosed to the defense, Reuters reports. The case gained national attention when the podcast "Serial" raised doubts about his guilt. Syed, now 42, has always said he was innocent and did not kill Hae Min Lee, who was 18 when she was strangled and buried in a Baltimore park in 1999. Judge Melissa Phinn in Baltimore ordered Syed released from prison, where he was serving a life sentence, and put on home detention. A new trial be scheduled. Syed emerged smiling from the courthouse as onlookers cheered and applauded. He did not speak.

The Baltimore state's attorney sought last week to vacate the conviction after a year-long investigation with a public defender representing Syed, in which several problems were found with and evidence from the trial. Prosecutors told the judge they were not yet asserting that Syed is innocent but that they no longer had confidence in "the integrity of the conviction," and that justice required that Syed at least be afforded a new trial. Prosecutors will decide whether to seek a new trial or to prosecute a different suspect. They said that they had found new information about two alternative suspects, whom they have not named, including one who had threatened to kill Lee. Both have a history of violent crimes against women. Their identities were known to the original prosecutors but not disclosed to the defense as required by law.


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