Lawyer for Murder Victim’s Family Issues Statement Following Adnan Syed’s Prison Release

The attorney for a murdered victim’s family issued a statement today, following the news of Adnan Syed’s prison release who served over 20 years behind bars for murder

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated Syed’s 2000 conviction after prosecutors and Syed’s attorneys revealed other possible suspects in Hae Min Lee’s 1999 strangling death.

Prosecutors also noted that Syed, 41, was convicted partly due to cellphone data which was later found to be unreliable. Co-defendant Jay Wild’s testimony was also reportedly contradictory, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Syed’s ex-girlfriend, Lee, 18, was found strangled in a shallow grave in Leakin Park. Syed was accused of killing Lee after a struggle ensued in her car — and prosecutors claimed the breakup was the motive for the murder.

At Monday’s hearing, Phinn ordered officers to remove Syed’s shackles. She has required him to wear a GPS monitor while the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office decides whether he will stand trial again for Lee’s murder.

Prosecutors have 30 days to make a decision.

An attorney for the victim’s family, Sanford Heisler Sharp Partner and Criminal/Sexual Violence Practice Group Co-Chair, Steven J. Kelly, issued the following statement Monday.

For more than 20 years, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office has told the family of Hae Min Lee that their beloved daughter and sister was murdered by Adnan Syed. One week ago, for the first time, the family was informed that, through a year-long investigation that is apparently still ongoing, the State had uncovered new facts and would be filing a motion to vacate Mr. Syed’s conviction.

For more than 20 years, no one has wanted to know the truth about who killed Hae Min Lee more than her family. 

The Lee family is deeply disappointed that today’s hearing happened so quickly and that they were denied the reasonable notice that would have permitted them to have a meaningful voice in the proceedings. 

Sanford Heisler Sharp Partner and Criminal/Sexual Violence Practice Group Co-Chair Steven J. Kelly agreed to represent the Lee family on an emergency basis on Sunday. A motion filed on Monday sought a one-week extension to permit the family to have a meaningful voice in the proceedings.  

Based on his own family’s experience when his oldest sister was raped and murdered in 1988, Steve advocated tirelessly for the law that should have protected the rights of the Lee family today, a law requiring that victims, including surviving families, receive reasonable notice of proceedings and the opportunity to be present and heard. For lack of the notice to which they were entitled under the law, the Lee family was today denied that opportunity. 

Sanford Heisler Sharp is committed to litigating and resolving public interest, social justice, and civil rights matters that significantly impact the lives of individuals, groups, and communities wronged by unlawful practices. We help people and communities defend their civil and human rights against powerful institutions and individuals that seek to undermine them. Together, we work to move the law closer towards justice, for all of us.

Check back for updates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.

[Featured image: AP Photo/Brian Witte]

Additional reporting by Jacquelyn Gray