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Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Adnan Syed After DNA Test Results Come In

Prosecutors confirmed that DNA tests ruled out Adnan Syed as a suspect in the murder of Hae Min Lee, whose death was the subject of the hit podcast "Serial."

By Cydney Contreras
The Adnan Syed Case, Explained

Adnan Syed is no longer facing charges in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, who was 18 at the time of her death. 

State Attorney Marilyn Mosby from the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office said in a press conference Tuesday that the office made their decision to drop charges against Syed after receiving touch DNA results on Friday. The tests were conducted on DNA found on Lee's clothing, including a pair of pantyhose and shoes. While there was a combination of DNA found on the items of clothing, Mosby said, "Most compellingly, Adnan Syed — his DNA was excluded.” 

The office subsequently dropped the charges against Syed, who was the subject of the hit podcast "Serial," which brought renewed attention to the case. 

RELATED: How Adnan Syed Celebrated His Freedom After More Than 20 Years Behind Bars

Mosby noted that the attorney's office emailed Lee's family about their decision in an email, though the Lee family's attorney, Steve Kelly, said otherwise in a statement to Oxygen.com.

"Hae Min Lee’s family learned through media accounts this morning that the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Adnan Syed. The family received no notice and their attorney was offered no opportunity to be present at the proceeding," the statement read. "By rushing to dismiss the criminal charges, the State’s Attorney’s Office sought to silence Hae Min Lee’s family and to prevent the family and the public from understanding why the State so abruptly changed its position of more than 20 years. All this family ever wanted was answers and a voice. Today’s actions robbed them of both.”

Adnan Syed leaves the courthouse

Mosby said that she had emails to prove the Lees were given notice, adding, "We stand ready and willing to provide whatever counseling or support services that may be needed for that family, who has had to relive an unimaginable nightmare over and over again." 

The State's Attorney's Office declined to share further details on the case, citing an ongoing investigation. 

Following the news, multiple members of Syed's defense team celebrated his legal win.

"Finally, Adnan Syed is able to live as a free man. The DNA results confirmed what we have already known and what underlies all of the current proceedings: that Adnan is innocent and lost 23 years of his life serving time for a crime he did not commit,” Erica Suter, Syed's attorney and the director of the Innocence Project Clinic at University of Baltimore Law School, said in a statement, according to NBC News.

Syed's family friend and advocate Rabia O'Chaudry added in a separate statement shared to Twitter, "For decades now my prayer and the prayer of people who love Adnan have been not only that he is released from prison, but that he returns home with his dignity and reputation restored, his record cleared, and the killer of Hae Min Lee brought to justice. We prayed for all of these things and God has granted nearly every prayer."

Syed was released on house arrest in September after City Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn determined that prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory evidence to his defense attorneys. Phinn gave the prosecutor's office 30 days to seek a new trial or dismiss the charges.