Adnan Syed: How a Podcast Freed a Man

Adnan Syed, the 41-year-old Baltimore man who once saw nothing but a life in jail ahead of him, now sees freedom after over 20 years in prison.

In 1999, an 18 year old girl named Hae Min Lee went missing after school in Baltimore, Maryland. Her body was later found buried in a park. Her murder was concluded to be the fault of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. And so for the past 23 years, Adnan has been locked up.

But just recently, on September 19, 2022, Adnan’s conviction was lifted by the court, and he now awaits a new trial.

The attention brought to the case was thanks to a podcast called Serial. The podcast dove into the details of Hae’s murder; how the relationship between her an Adnan was, what reasons Adnan may have had to do it, accounts by friends and families, and who, if not Adnan, could have done it. The podcast brought to light all of the faults with the conviction, including testimonies and the account of someone who claims to have helped in burying the body. The amount of gaps that were found in the evidence given was enough to make the court question the conviction.

The office of Marilyn Mosby, overseeing the re-investigation, said that “….the State no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction.”

The overturn of the conviction was shocking to everyone- Adnan’s family, his friends, even the host of Serial, Sarah Koenig, who had been looking into the case since the podcast’s release in 2014. In an interview with the New York Times, Koenig says that, “I was shocked. I did not see this coming at all.” She explains how Adnan’s mother was surprised at the news too, and adds on, “But the most shocking part was that this was coming from the state’s side.” The state, who put Adnan in prison so many years back, is now making the choice to release him.

The family of Hae Min Lee requested for the court to halt the case after saying that they were not given enough notice of the last hearings.