A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning his conviction for the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee.

Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn ordered that Syed’s conviction be vacated as she approved the release of the now-41-year-old who has spent more than two decades behind bars.

The case gained national attention when the popular podcast “Serial” raised doubts about his guilt.


The podcast said that Syed should be released from prison, where he has spent two decades, while prosecutors complete the investigation and decide whether to seek a new trial.

“All right Mr. Syed, you’re free to join your family,” Phinn said as the hearing ended.

Minutes later, Syed emerged from the courthouse and flashed a smile as he was shepherded to a waiting SUV through a sea of cameras and a cheering crowd of supporters.

Syed did not speak during the hearing, nor did he address reporters outside the courtroom afterward. But after the hearing, his lawyer Erica Suter described his reaction to the decision, saying: “He said he couldn’t believe it’s real.”