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2 Big Reveals in HBO Series on Adnan Syed

Involving DNA and a plea deal
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2019 10:24 AM CDT
In this Feb. 3, 2016 file photo, Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing.   (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun via AP, File)
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(Newser) – The four-part HBO documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed concluded Sunday night, and it brought two sizable revelations (spoilers ahead). One, that Syed, whose case catapulted into the spotlight via the podcast Serial, was offered a plea deal four months ago and turned it down. Syed is almost two decades into a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, and the documentary films defense attorney C. Justin Brown following a meeting with prosecutors. The deal: plead guilty to Lee's murder and be released in 2022; the Baltimore Sun reports a rep for Maryland's attorney general confirmed the deal. Syed didn't take it because of the requirement he admit guilt. "It's like I'd be exchanging one prison for another," Syed says in a phone call with filmmakers.

The second revelation: DNA tests were conducted in 2018 on crime scene evidence, and none of it matched Syed. The Sun reports documents showed that roughly a dozen items—including fingernail clippings, a rope, her clothing and jewelry, and a condom wrapper—were tested. The tests identified only DNA from Lee and an unknown woman (the latter person's DNA was on the rope, per the New York Times). Brown says the fingernail clippings are particularly noteworthy: Prosecutors' position is that there was a struggle between Syed and Lee in her car, where they say she was strangled; samples taken from the car were DNA tested as well. A rep for the AG simply said, "These results in no way exonerate him." The Times has some additional revelations here. (Syed was recently dealt a legal blow.)

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