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DNA Testing Could Be Done In Hae Min Lee's Murder, Case Made Famous In 'Serial' Podcast
“We are eager to finally have access to the forensic tools to establish Mr. Syed’s innocence,” Adnan Syed's attorney said in a statement to Oxygen.com.
More than 20 years after Adnan Syed was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, a joint motion by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney and Syed’s legal team has requested modern DNA testing on key evidence in the case.
The move is seen as a victory for Syed—who has long asserted his innocence. His case rose to national prominence after it was featured in the first season of the popular podcast “Serial.”
“We are eager to finally have access to the forensic tools to establish Mr. Syed’s innocence,” his attorney Erica J. Suter said in a statement to Oxygen.com.
The joint motion, obtained by Oxygen.com, requests DNA testing on Lee’s clothing, shoes, recovered hairs and rape kit, which have never been tested for DNA in the past.
In a statement released by Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office, prosecutors said they decided to test the evidence after Syed’s defense team had approached the Sentencing Review Unit following the passage in April of the Juvenile Restoration Act, according to WBAL-TV.
The act allows people who were convicted of crimes as juveniles to request a modification to their sentence after they have served at least 20 years behind bars.
“In the process of reviewing this case for a possible resentencing, it became clear that additional forensic testing—which was not available at the time of the original investigation and trial in this case—would be an appropriate avenue to pursue,” the statement read.
Syed was convicted of first-degree murder in 2000, at the age of 17, for killing Lee, 18, whose body was discovered in a shallow grave in a Baltimore park a year earlier, according to local news outlet WJZ.
Prosecutors argued during the trial that Syed had killed his ex-girlfriend in a fit of rage after discovering she had started dating someone else, The New York Times reports.
Their case also relied on the testimony of a witness, who told jurors he had heard Syed confess to the murder and had gone with him to bury Lee’s body in Leakin Park.
However, another witness, who claimed to have seen Syed in the library at the time of the murder, was never called to testify.
The complexities of the case were the focus of the podcast “Serial”—a series that has been downloaded more than 175 million times.
Suter said Syed’s defense team is eager for results of the testing.
“Mr. Syed has been waiting more than two decades for the opportunity to exonerate himself, not just in the court of public opinion, but in the court of law,” she said. “We applaud the State's Attorney for recognizing the serious concerns in his case, after several months of deliberation and review, and agreeing that DNA testing is needed.”
Syed is currently serving life in prison.