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Charges are dropped against Adnan Syed, subject of true crime podcast 'Serial'

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Prosecutors in Baltimore have dropped all charges against Adnan Syed. He was convicted in 2000 for the killing of Hae Min Lee, his former girlfriend. The case was the subject of a hit podcast, "Serial." Here's NPR culture correspondent Anastasia Tsioulcas.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: The court recently vacated Adnan Syed's conviction after prosecutors said they had new information about two alternative suspects, thanks to a yearlong investigation. The prosecutors then had 30 days to decide if they wanted to pursue a new trial against Syed or drop the charges altogether. They chose the latter due to some recently tested DNA that showed that Adnan Syed was not part of the crime. The state's attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn Mosby, held a press conference.

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MARILYN MOSBY: Adnan Syed - his DNA was excluded.

TSIOULCAS: That testing was done on clothing items of Lee's that had never been analyzed before, including a pair of her shoes that contained someone else's DNA. Hae Min Lee's family has made it clear that this has been a very painful time for them. In remarks to the court last month, Lee's brother, Young Lee, said they felt betrayed by prosecutors, and they felt blindsided by all this new information. At yesterday's press conference, Mosby noted that Lee's family is reliving...

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MOSBY: ...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.

TSIOULCAS: Mosby said Tuesday that her office had actually received the DNA results last week, but waited to drop the charges against him because they were hoping to speak with Lee's family first. According to prosecutors, they received no response from her relatives as of early yesterday afternoon. But the family's lawyer told NPR in a statement that, quote, "The family deserves more than an email sent to their attorney four minutes after news of the dismissal broke in the media." Mosby is declining to say if the recently found DNA belongs to any other known suspects in Hae Min Lee's murder. Marilyn Mosby is pledging that her office is actively pursuing this case and looking for Hae Min Lee's true killer.

Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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