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'Serial' Twist: Baltimore Prosecutors Agree To New DNA Review In Adnan Syed Case

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- There are new developments in the case of Adnan Syed, who maintains his innocence more than 20 years after being convicted of killing his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Syed is the subject of the popular 'Serial' podcast.

Baltimore City prosecutors have agreed to new DNA testing that Syed's lawyers believe could clear his name.

"This is much more than a glimmer. It's a wide-open tunnel of hope. It is more hope than we've had in the past because for the first time in the history of this case, we are not at odds with the state of Maryland," Syed's friend and author Rabia Chaudry told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren.

The investigation dates to 1999. Both Syed and Lee attended Woodlawn High at the time.  On January 13th, her body was dumped in a shallow grave in Leakin Park.

Interest exploded after the 'Serial' podcast raised questions about Syed's conviction.

On the podcast, Syed said, "No one has been able to provide any shred of evidence that I had anything but friendship towards her, like love and respect for her. I had no reason to kill her."

But in 2019, Maryland's highest court upheld the conviction after allegations Syed's attorney was ineffective and failed to call a crucial alibi witness, dealing a blow to efforts to free him.

Now, prosecutors have agreed to DNA tests on clothes, hair and other evidence. Those tests are far more sophisticated than anything available at the time of Syed's first trial.

"To be honest, none of the evidence listed in the petition has ever been tested, not even the rape kit," Chaudry said. "You don't actually have to have the killer's blood or semen. Anything he touched might have his DNA."

Syed's sentence could also get a review under a new Maryland law, which can modify sentences of those convicted before they turned 18 if they've served 20 years.

None of it will be a slam dunk.

"It does not necessarily mean that Mr. Syed's conviction is going to be overturned it's just an examination of evidence," said Adam Ruther, a lawyer with Rosenberg, Martin and Greenberg who is not affiliated with the case.

Lee's family previously said they believe justice was served and every new court battle is like "reliving a nightmare."

Syed is now being housed at a prison in Jessup.

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