A statement from the state attorney’s office cited newly discovered evidence.
“After a nearly year-long investigation reviewing the facts of this case, Syed deserves a new trial where he is adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in the statement.
Syed is serving a life sentence after he was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment in February 2000 for the slaying of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. He has been appealing his convictions for years.
“As stewards of the court, we are obligated to uphold confidence in the integrity of convictions and do our part to correct when this standard has been comprised,” Mosby said. “We have spoken with the family of Ms. Hae Min Lee and (they) fully understand that the person responsible for this heinous crime must be held accountable.”
The re-investigation revealed evidence “regarding the possible involvement of two alternative suspects other than Syed,” the statement said.
“The two suspects may be involved individually or may be involved together,” the statement said.
Adnan and Lee were seniors at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County in January 1999 when she disappeared. Her strangled body was discovered in a city forest three weeks later.
Mosby said prosecutors are “not asserting, at this time, that Mr. Syed is innocent” but that the state “lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction” and that Syed should get a new trial.
Syed has maintained his innocence and has been appealing his convictions for years.
Syed and prosecutors in March filed a joint motion for post-conviction DNA testing, saying that since the crime occurred more than two decades ago, “DNA testing has changed and improved drastically.”
Mosby said the motion to vacate the conviction was filed along with Sentencing Review Unit Chief Becky Feldman. Syed was a juvenile when convicted.