Adnan Syed “incredibly grateful” after dropped charges, attorney says

After Adnan Syed served more than 23 years in prison for a crime he claims he did not commit, learning of his exoneration “was a wonderful moment,” his lawyer said Wednesday. Attorney Erica Suter recalled her client needing to sit down to process the information.

“He was just incredibly grateful, incredibly happy,” Suter told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday. “He always comes from a place of gratitude.”

On Tuesday, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn Mosby announced all charges brought against Syed for the 1999 killing of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee were to be dropped. She said new tests revealed a “DNA mixture of multiple contributors” on Lee’s shoes and that Syed’s DNA was excluded.

“Today justice is done,” Mosby said Tuesday.

Before Lee disappeared in 1999, she and Syed dated while students at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. Lee’s body was found weeks later in a Baltimore park and an autopsy determined she died of manual strangulation.

At age 17, Syed was convicted of first degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to life in prison, with an additional 30 years.

Syed’s conviction first gained national attention in 2014, when the podcast “Serial” chronicled the case and detailed irregularities within it.

According to prosecutors, there were possibly two alternate suspects with histories of violence against women — one of whom had threatened Lee. Considering the new evidence, a Baltimore judge vacated his murder conviction and released Syed from prison last month with the support of prosecutors.

Suter said Syed’s defense team was never made aware of the alternate potential suspects and that the law requires such information to be shared.

“That is what is at the heart of this,” she said.

Suter added that she and Syed extend their “deepest sympathy” towards Lee’s family.

“This was somebody that was Adnan’s friend, this was somebody that he cared about and it’s never been lost on Adnan the suffering of her family and we all have to understand their entire world has been upended,” she said.

Suter said her client is “just thankful to all the people who have supported him.” Now 41, he plans on finishing his education through the Georgetown Scholars program and has dreams of going to law school, Suter said.

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