Prosecutors drop charges against Adnan Syed Adnan Syed served 22 years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. His conviction was overturned last month. Prosecutors have decided not to retry Syed.

Prosecutors drop charges against Adnan Syed, the subject of 'Serial' podcast

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Today, prosecutors in Baltimore dropped all charges against Adnan Syed. He was released from prison last month after serving 22 years for the murder of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Lee's death and Syed's conviction were the subject of the hit podcast "Serial." Joining us now with details is NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas. Hi, Anastasia.


PFEIFFER: So Baltimore prosecutors say Adnan Syed will not be tried again. Why not?

TSIOULCAS: Well, when Syed was released last month, the prosecutors had 30 days to decide if they actually wanted to pursue a new trial against him or drop the charges altogether. And what they announced today was that they were dropping all charges against him. And the state's attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn Mosby, said in a press conference this afternoon that as part of the ongoing investigation, they'd recently tested DNA that shows that Syed did not murder Hae Min Lee. Let's take a listen.


MARILYN MOSBY: Adnan Syed - his DNA was excluded.

TSIOULCAS: And that DNA testing was done on clothing items of Lee's that had never been tested before.

PFEIFFER: What has the response been from Hae Min Lee's family?

TSIOULCAS: Well, it's been very painful for them this time around. In remarks to a court last month, Lee's brother, Young Lee, said they felt betrayed by prosecutors, and they felt blindsided by all this information. And today, Mosby be noted that Lee's family has had a very difficult time.


MOSBY: Who has had to relive an unimaginable nightmare over and over again. Equally heartbreaking is the pain and the sacrifice and the trauma that has been imposed not just on that family, but Adnan and his family, who together spent 23 years in prison for a crime as a result of a wrongful conviction.

PFEIFFER: Anastasia, you explained that DNA shows Syed did not commit the murder. Any mention if the new DNA evidence points to other suspects?

TSIOULCAS: So Mosby is declining to say if the DNA belongs to any other known suspects in Hae Min Lee's murder because it's an ongoing investigation. And Mosby said today that her office had actually received the DNA results last Friday, but they waited to drop the charges against him until today because they're hoping to speak with Lee's family first. According to prosecutors, they received no response from her relatives as recently as early this afternoon. But, Sacha, the family's lawyer told us in a statement this afternoon that, quote, the "family deserves more than an email sent to their attorney 4 minutes after news of today's dismissal broke in the media."

PFEIFFER: So what is next now that at least Adnan Syed's cases over?

TSIOULCAS: Last month, the prosecutors said they had new information about two other potential suspects in Hae Min Lee's murder. The names of those suspects haven't been made public. Certainly, there's a lot of speculation among people that have listened to "Serial" and other things. There's a whole lot of blogs and books and interviews and so forth in the wake of "Serial." But the investigation is still ongoing. And Marilyn Mosby is (inaudible) that her office is actively pursuing this case and looking for Hae Min Lee's true killer.

PFEIFFER: That's NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas. Thank you.

TSIOULCAS: Thanks so much.

Copyright © 2022 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.