Maryland State’s Attorney Kicks All Charges against Adnan Syed after New ‘Touch DNA’ Analysis Excludes Convicted Killer

(Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP) (Jerry Jackson/AP)

By The Vanguard Staff

BALTIMORE, MD – After new, more sensitive DNA analysis, all charges were dropped Tuesday against Adnan Syed for his alleged role in the murder of Hae Min Lee, announced the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.

Syed and the defense are now able to begin proceedings for compensation under Maryland law.

Last March, the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Public Defender requested the victim’s clothing and other evidence be tested for “touch DNA”—which detects very small amounts of DNA and which wasn’t available in 1999.

“The fundaments of the criminal justice system should be based on fair and just prosecution and the crux of the matter is that we are standing here today because that wasn’t done 23 years ago. Although, my administration was not (sic) responsible for neither the pain inflicted upon Hae Min Lee’s family nor the wrongful conviction of Mr. Syed, as a representative of the institution, it is my responsibility to acknowledge and apologize to the family of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

The first round of DNA testing on certain pieces of clothing did not yield any usable results, said the state’s attorney, noting the second-round results received Friday, which tested the victim’s skirt, pantyhose, shoes and jacket – items that have never been tested before, revealed a mixture of individuals’ DNA on the victim’s shoes.

As a result, in announcing the dismissal of Syed’s charges, the State’s Attorney said there’s discovery showing “new evidence supporting alternative suspects, in tandem with the new DNA evidence,” in the death of Hae Min Lee.

In September, Baltimore City Judge Melissa Phinn granted a motion filed by State’s Attorney Mosby and Sentencing Review Unit (SRU) Chief Becky Feldman to vacate Syed’s conviction and request a new trial.

According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, Judge Phinn’s motion acknowledged the State had proven that there was a Brady violation in Syed’s case and new evidence has come to light, “including two other potential suspects.” Syed was released on his own recognizance and placed on home detention with GPS monitoring.

Mosby’s office said the motion for Syed’s dismissal was “possible” because of a Maryland bill that allows judges to “grant a prosecutor’s request to vacate a conviction ‘in the interest of justice and fairness.’”

The case was originally noted to the SRU by Syed’s defense counsel, Erica Suter, Director of the Office of the Public Defender and University of Baltimore’s Innocence Project.

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