The family of Hae Min Lee, a Maryland teen who was killed in 1999, is appealing a Maryland judge’s decision to vacate the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who served more than 20 years in prison in connection with her slaying.

The notice of appeal was filed by the victim’s brother, Young Lee, “based on violations of his family’s right to meaningfully participate in the September 19, 2022 hearing on the motion to vacate Adnan Syed’s conviction,” his attorney, Steven Kelly, told CNN.

“The notice of appeal is the first step in seeking the Maryland Court of Special Appeals’ review of the potential violations of Maryland’s victim’s rights statutes in connection with the hearing.”

Syed was released from prison after a judge vacated his murder conviction during a hearing earlier this month. The same day, Lee filed a motion arguing that he was not given enough notice to participate in the legal proceedings. While Associate Judge Melissa Phinn denied his motion, she delayed the hearing by a half hour so that he could leave work and join via Zoom.

In response, Kelly released a statement on behalf of the family, condemning the speedy decision to free Syed, who’d been serving a life sentence at the time. He was convicted in 2000 of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment in the killing of Hae Min Lee,

Lee and Syed dated while they were students at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County. They broke up just weeks before her body was found in a park Baltimore. According to her autopsy, she died of manual strangulation.

The case was thrust back into the spotlight years later, after it became the subject of the hit podcast “Serial.”

“For more than 20 years, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office has told the family of Hae Min Lee that their beloved daughter and sister was murdered by Adnan Syed,” the statement said.

“For more than 20 years, no one has wanted to know the truth about who killed Hae Min Lee more than her family,” it continued. “The Lee family is deeply disappointed that today’s hearing happened so quickly and that they were denied the reasonable notice that would have permitted them to have a meaningful voice in the proceedings.”

Syed has long maintained his innocence and appealed his conviction multiple times before he was finally freed.


Jessica Schladebeck

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