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Screenshots from a TikTok showing Adnan Syed walking out of court as a free man.

Screenshots from a TikTok showing Adnan Syed walking out of court as a free man.

A Baltimore judge has overturned Adnan Syed's murder conviction and set him free after almost 23 years in prison, in a stunning turn for a case made famous by the podcast Serial.

Syed was only 19 years old when he was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, reported BBC. Now at the age of 41, he’s finally being released — and podcast fans are thrilled.

Judge Melissa Phinn ruled that the state failed to share important evidence with Syed's lawyers in the original trial in 2000. Prosecutors last week also said they found new evidence that could point to two other suspects in the case, along with evidence of some bad cellphone tower data, the New York Times reports.

The judge said she vacated the conviction “in the interests of fairness and justice.”

It’s important to note that Syed has not been cleared of Lee’s murder; instead, the judge is giving prosecutors 30 days to request a new trial or let the case go, reported Al Jazeera News. Syed will be under house arrest with a GPS monitor until that decision is made.

Syed and Lee were high school students at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County in the late 1990s. They had an on-and-off relationship at that time, and suspicion fell on him when she disappeared after school one day.

Lee was found buried in a park in Baltimore after being strangled to death. Syed was ultimately charged with first-degree murder, convicted in 2000 and sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.

He's maintained his innocence ever since, but the case really blew up in 2014 when journalist Sarah Koenig took a deep dive into it with the podcast Serial.

The 12-episode podcast caught the attention of millions of people as it delved into the details of Syed’s case and cast doubt on evidence used to reach a conviction, reported ABC News.

Syed's lawyers have tried multiple times to get a retrial since the podcast dropped, although this win seems to have come thanks to prosecutors who were looking into the case.

Syed walked out of the courtroom on Monday and was greeted by a crowd of supporters inspired by the podcast.


I am so lucky to have witnessed this beautiful moment. I AM SO HAPPY !!! I RAN FROM CLASS TO COME #freeadnan #baltimore #justice

"I am so lucky to have witnessed this beautiful moment," read the caption a witness' TikTok video. "I AM SO HAPPY !!! I RAN FROM CLASS TO COME."

Serial podcaster Koenig told the New York Times that she had no idea this was about to happen.

"I was shocked," she said. "I did not see this coming at all (...) The prosecutors who filed the motion to release him kept it pretty tight, it seems."

Serial released a new episode to address Syed's release on Tuesday.

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