Baltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped charges against Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of Haimin Lee after DNA evidence backed his innocence, officials said.
here comes the news Weeks after his murder conviction was overturned.
Syed was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Lee, and his case gained national attention from the podcast “Series” in 2014.
The Baltimore City State Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday morning that the charges had been dropped.
The decision to drop the charges came after DNA tests “ruled out Mr. Syed was found in DNA recovered from the evidence,” the Maryland Public Defender’s Office said in a statement Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, Adnan Syed was able to live as a free man,” said Erica Souter, Syed’s attorney and director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore Law School, in a statement.
“The DNA results confirm what we already know and the basis of all current proceedings: Adnan is innocent and has lost 23 years of his sentence for a crime he did not commit,” she said.
Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. to announce the decision to drop the charges
NBC News has reached out to Saeed’s lawyers for comment.
The news ended a more than two-year-long saga of Said, who maintained his innocence throughout.
In 1999, Haimin Lee was killed at the age of 18 and her body was found buried in Leakin Park in Baltimore.
Said was released from prison in September. 19. In the City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn said that trial prosecutors did not properly turn over evidence to defense attorneys that could have helped them prove that someone else killed Lee.
Evidence uncovered since the trial will raise the “enormous and significant likelihood that outcomes will be different,” Phinn said.
“The state has lost confidence in the integrity of this conviction and believes it is in the interests of justice and fairness to quash his conviction,” prosecutor Becky Feldman said minutes before the ruling.
Said was ordered without bail and was detained at home via GPS location monitoring.
After his conviction was overturned, the Baltimore City state attorney’s office had 30 days to weigh whether to retrial or dismiss the charges.
Lee’s family appealed after the charges were overturned, claiming the family had not had the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the hearings securing his release.
The family asked the Maryland Special Court of Appeals to stay the circuit court proceedings pending appeal, and last week the Maryland attorney general’s office joined Lee’s family in requesting a stay of Syed’s case.
The appeal is still pending, according to the Maryland Public Defender’s Office.
“While the proceedings are not yet fully concluded, this is an important step for Adnan, who has been under house arrest since the motion to withdraw was first granted last month,” Souter said.
“He still needs some time to process what has happened and we ask you to provide him and his family with that space.”
Li’s family attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.
David Lee and Julia Jester contributed.