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Victim's family plans to appeal vacated conviction of Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed, shown in his high school photo, was 17 when he was arrested in the murder of his classmate and former girlfriend. File Photo courtesy of The Adnan Syed Trust
Adnan Syed, shown in his high school photo, was 17 when he was arrested in the murder of his classmate and former girlfriend. File Photo courtesy of The Adnan Syed Trust

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The family of Hae Min Lee, whose 1999 murder was examined in the first season of the hit podcast Serial, intends to appeal the vacated conviction of Adnan Syed.

Lee's family filed the notice to appeal on Wednesday.

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Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated Syed's conviction on Sept. 19. He had been incarcerated since receiving a life sentence in 2000 after being convicted of killing Lee, who was his former girlfriend.

Lee was 18; Syed was 17 at the time. They were classmates.

RELATED Judge overturns murder conviction of 'Serial' podcast subject Adnan Syed

The case gained renewed media attention after the 2014 release of Serial, a podcast that re-examined the murder and challenged Syed's conviction by revealing inconsistencies in the case against him.

Even after the podcast's popularity, renewed calls for his release and several appeals, Syed remained incarcerated until Phinn's ruling.

Syed was put on home detention for 30 days while prosecutors decide whether to drop the case or seek a new trial.

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Prosecutors said they had turned up evidence pointing to two "alternative suspects" -- someone who had made death threats against Lee and a convicted rapist whose home was near the location where Lee's car was found.

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Prosecutors also said they had found "significant reliability issues regarding the most critical pieces of evidence" used in the trial.

Young Lee, Hae Min Lee's brother, said he felt betrayed by the court's decision and insisted the family had not been given enough advance notice, a claim which is the basis of the notice of appeal.

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The attorney representing Lee's family, Steve Kelly, released a statement to WBAL-TV 11 News on Wednesday, saying, "Young Lee filed a notice of appeal based on violations of his family's right to meaningfully participate in the Sept. 19, 2022, hearing on the motion to vacate Adnan Sayed's conviction."

The notice is the first step in seeking the Maryland Court of Special Appeals review of potential violations of the state's victim's rights laws in connection with the hearing.

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