Serial’s Adnan Syed returns home after decades behind bars

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Friends, family and supporters celebrate now that Adnan Syed is home after his murder conviction was overturned.

The case of Syed, 41, who was convicted of the 1999 murder of his high school classmate and former girlfriend Hae Min Lee, became a national sensation following the success of the 2014 podcast “Serial“, and later, a HBO Documentary. On Monday, a Baltimore judge overturned Syed’s conviction, ordering his release.

Social media hashtags, long advocating #FreeAdnan were changed overnight to #WeFreedAdnan, as posted by a longtime family friend and lawyer Rabia O’Chaudry on Twitter.

“We did it!” O’Chaudry posted. “We freed Adnan!

On Monday, O’Chaudry posted a video of Syed standing in front of a fridge, asking another about leftover dumplings.

“Home leftovers never tasted so good,” O’Chaudry posted along with several heart emojis.

RELATED: Baltimore’s top prosecutor files motion to vacate conviction of ‘serial’ subject Adnan Syed and asks for a new trial

O’Chaudry is one of many who have expressed gratitude for having Syed’s case shelved. On Wednesday, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed a motion to have Syed’s murder conviction overturned after “additional evidence emerged” in the case.

Syed’s case was reviewed earlier this year following the Juvenile Restoration Act 2021, which allows defendants convicted as juveniles to seek sentencing changes.

Mosby, along with the Sentencing Review Unit, named two potential alternate suspects, who were apparently never disclosed to the defense during Syed’s original trial. One allegedly threatened to kill 18-year-old Hae Min Lee, who was strangled to death and found buried in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. Authorities have not named other possible suspects.

Prosecutors also cited the retest of physical evidence found at the 1999 crime scene, as well as unreliable evidence related to cellphone data mining used against Syed during the trial.

Syed served more than two decades behind bars after being sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn found the state violated its legal duty to share exculpatory evidence with Syed’s defense and ordered the defendant released.

“Justice prevailed with the outcome of today’s hearing,” Mosby said. “After nearly a year of investigation into the facts of this case, my team has successfully argued that Mr. Syed deserves a new trial where he can be adequately represented and where the final evidence can be presented.”

Many have taken to social media to share photos with the new Syed, sharing their personal journeys in defending his freedom, including Amy Bergwho directed HBO’s “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”

“There is no greater joy than to see him free after being falsely incarcerated,” she wrote in part. “I feel so blessed to have been able to dig into this case and be part of this massive team to right the wrongs of the state.”

Like many, Berg credited Mosby for his role in freeing Syed.

“One last photo and I’m going home”, O’Chaudry subtitle with a picture with Syed. “Mission accomplished. Exhausted. Happy. Grateful. Hungry.”

Syed remains under house arrest with GPS location monitoring, while prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to bring charges against him again or drop the case altogether.

The order to quash Syed’s conviction can be found here.

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