After 23 years of imprisonment, the prosecutor released him Adnan Syed on Tuesday (October 11) in the murder of an 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Throughout his imprisonment, Adnan maintained that he did not kill his former school girlfriend in 1999. Associated PressBaltimore prosecutors dropped charges against Adnan after additional DNA testing on the case.

“This case is finished. There is no longer any need for appeals,” Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said at a press conference.

According to the state prosecutor, DNA examination using modernized methods excluded Adnan as the man who strangled Hae Min Lee. Their office received the test results on Friday (October 7). Experts tested He’s skirt, tights, jacket and shoes. They recovered some DNA on He’s shoes, but did not find it on the objects. However, according to Mosby, Adnan “The DNA was off.”

Despite Adnan’s exclusion, Mosby revealed her office “Will continue to use all available resources to prosecute those responsible for Hae Min Lee’s death.”

“It’s still an open and pending case, but the case is closed for Adnan Syed,” Mosby said.

What happened to Hae Min Lee?

Adnan and Hae Min Lee supported on and off relationship during the visit Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County. Hae Min Lee was last seen alive on January 13, 1999. About four weeks later, her body was found buried in a Baltimore park. An autopsy later revealed that the high school student had been manually strangled to death.

In 2000, A trial by jury Syed, 17, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment for The New York Times. In the years that followed, Adnan filed several appeals.

Sayed’s steadfast plea of ​​innocence has inspired coverage in various media outlets over the years. His case captivated the nation when Sarah Koenig recorded and investigated it in the series’ premiere season podcast Series in 2014. Adnan and Hae Min Lee’s story was the number one podcast on iTunes prior to its debut and weeks after. In 2015 Series won the Peabody Award.

A judge threw out the conviction last month; He’s family appealed

On September 19, Judge Melissa M. Finn overturned Adnan’s 2000 conviction. She ruled that Maryland breached its legal obligation to share evidence that could have helped Adnan’s defense.

Also Judge of the Circuit Court of the City of Baltimore gave the prosecutor’s office 30 days to determine if they will retry Adnan or drop the charges. Meanwhile, she placed Adnan under GPS-monitored house arrest. This restriction was lifted on Tuesday.

However, Hae Min Lee’s family was unhappy with the decision last month. They asked the Court of Special Appeals to grant another hearing so that they could appear in person and speak before the court. In accordance with AP, Hae’s younger brother, Young Lee, was the only person able to attend the preliminary hearing via video due to short notice.

Although Mosby says the family’s appeal does not affect the decision to dismiss the charges, the appeals court has not yet rejected the request. Syed’s defense team is awaiting their decision. The news Tuesday shocked the family, who say they learned of Mosby’s decision through news outlets.

“The family was not notified and their attorney was not offered an opportunity to be present at the trial,” said prosecutor Steve Kelly. “In their haste to drop the criminal charges, prosecutors sought to silence Hae Min Lee’s family and prevent the family and the public from understanding why the state had so dramatically changed its position of more than 20 years. All this family wanted were answers and a voice. Today’s actions deprived them both.”

However, State’s Attorney Mosby said she notified Steve Kelly on Tuesday morning. At the press conference, she said Kelly did not respond. However, she apologized to the families of He and Adnan Syed.

“The fundamentals of the criminal justice system must be based on fair and just prosecution,” Mosby said. She added: “And the bottom line is that we’re standing here today because it wasn’t done 23 years ago.”

Adnan’s reaction to his freedom and what’s next with the case

Although State Attorney Mosby said Adnan was “wrongfully convicted,” his defense team must file a plea of ​​not guilty and obtain his certification. His attorney, Erica J. Suter spoke at a news conference on Tuesday. She revealed that they will be filing a petition for a certificate of innocence “as soon as possible.”

However, Erika said it was too early to say whether Adnan would seek compensation for the wrongful conviction. He reportedly plans to continue with a bachelor’s degree that he began in prison. At the moment, Adnan is “excited”, “joyful” but “still processing”.

“I think he’s just thrilled to be able to enjoy the small, quiet, daily joys of freedom that many of us take for granted,” said prosecutor Sutter.

Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s office’s investigation turned up evidence pointing to two other suspects. In accordance with AP, the two suspects may have been related in murder Hae Min Lee together or separately. Prosecutors also said the two suspects were known at the time of the initial investigation but had not been properly ruled out.

Both suspects have criminal records. One had a previous conviction for assaulting a woman in her car, and the other was convicted of serial rape and sexual assault. However, it is unclear whether these crimes occurred before or after Hae Min Lee’s murder.