Evidence in Hae Min Lee's Murder Case Will Be Tested for DNA at Request of Adnan Syed and State Prosecutors

The 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee — and subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed — was highlighted in the hit podcast Serial, raising widespread suspicion that Syed was wrongfully accused

hae mi lee & adnan syed
Hae Min Lee, Adnan Syed. Photo: NC; Courtesy Syed family

Adnan Syed has long asserted that he didn't kill his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee, in 1999. Convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life as a teenager, Syed has spent two decades fighting for his freedom — a fight amplified by the hit podcast Serial, which highlighted holes in Lee's murder investigation and raised doubts about Syed's guilt.

Syed's legal team scored a big win Thursday when it filed a joint motion with the Baltimore City State's Attorney requesting that the court order modern DNA testing on Lee's clothing, shoes and rape kit. The items have never been tested for DNA, according to the uncontested motion obtained by PEOPLE.

With advancements in DNA technology, the tests have potential to identify new suspects in Lee's murder or even rule out Syed as a suspect, depending on what is discovered. The motion reveals that state prosecutors believe there is a "reasonable probability" that the new DNA testing "has the scientific potential to produce exculpatory or mitigating evidence relevant to a claim of wrongful conviction or sentencing."

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

"We are eager to finally have access to the forensic tools to establish Mr. Syed's innocence," said defense attorney Erica J. Suter in a statement provided to PEOPLE.

Suter explained that she reached out to state prosecutors last spring to discuss Syed's case.

"Mr. Syed has been waiting more than two decades for the opportunity to exonerate himself, not just in the court of public opinion, but in the court of law," Suter said in the statement. "We applaud the State's Attorney for recognizing the serious concerns in his case, after several months of deliberation and review, and agreeing that DNA testing is needed."

Related Articles