BALTIMORE (TCD) -- A Baltimore judge vacated Adnan Syed’s murder conviction over 20 years after he was found guilty of killing of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
On Monday, Sept. 19, Judge Melissa Phinn released the order, writing, "Upon consideration of the papers, in camera review of evidence, proceedings, and oral arguments of counsel made upon the record, the Court finds that the State has proven grounds for vacating the judgment of conviction in the matter of Adnan Syed."
Phinn said there was a Brady violation, which "requires the State to disclose, without request, all material or information in any form whether or not admissible, that tends to exculpate the defendant or negate or mitigate the defendant’s guilt or punishment as to the offense charged."
There also was reportedly not enough new evidence found in time to warrant a new trial.
Syed, who was the focus of the podcast "Serial," was cleared of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, and false imprisonment.
Syed will be released and placed on home detention with a GPS monitor.
In a motion to vacate the conviction, prosecutors in Baltimore wrote, "To be clear, the State is not asserting at this time that Defendant is innocent. However, for all the reasons set forth below, the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction."
Lee was found dead Feb. 9, 1999, in a shallow grave in Leakin Park. She was last seen nearly a month before, on Jan. 13.
Prosecutors looked at Syed, Lee’s "on-again-off-again" boyfriend and said he was jealous because she started dating someone new. A co-defendant who cooperated with prosecutors, Jay Wilds, testified Syed told him he was going to kill Lee, and he later strangled her. Wilds claimed he helped Syed bury Lee in the park.
Syed was convicted Feb. 25, 2000, and was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.
According to The New York Times, Lee’s brother, Young Lee, said at Syed’s hearing to vacate the conviction, "This is not a podcast for me. This is real life — a never-ending nightmare for 20-plus years."
Syed’s attorney told the Baltimore Banner, "Given the stunning lack of reliable evidence implicating Mr. Syed, coupled with increasing evidence pointing to other suspects, this unjust conviction cannot stand. Mr. Syed is grateful that this information has finally seen the light of day and looks forward to his day in court."
The New York Times reports prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether they want to try Syed again or to drop the case altogether.