A judge on Monday ordered the release of Adnan Syed, the subject of 2014’s wildly popular podcast Serial, after prosecutors requested that his 2000 murder conviction be vacated.
The dramatic turn came in a Baltimore, Maryland, courtroom after new evidence was uncovered by prosecutors.
Syed, who is now 41, has been serving a life sentence for the past 23 years — more than half his life — following his arrest in 1999.
He was just 17 when he was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 2000.
He has maintained his innocence and denied any involvement in Lee’s death. A 2019 appeal for a new trial was previously turned down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office now has 30 days to decide whether to either schedule a new trial date or drop the case. Prosecutors maintain that Syed is not yet cleared of any wrongdoing, but he is entitled to a new trial.
Syed will remain in home detention with GPS location monitoring.
Serial‘s Twitter posted that podcast producer and host Sarah Koenig was at the courthouse when Adnan was released, adding, “a new episode is coming tomorrow morning.”
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