Adnan Syed’s prison mate speaks about his character amid release

Posted at 2:15 PM, September 21, 2022 and last updated 2:33 PM, March 28, 2023

By Brittney Verner

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — It’s been two days since Adnan Syed had his life sentence vacated by a judge after serving more than 20 years in prison for the death of his ex-girlfriend.

The case gained international attention after the popular podcast “Serial” shed light on some of the faulty evidence that convicted him.


Sentenced to 30 years to life in prison at 17 years old, that appeared to be the fate for the foreseeable future of Adnan Syed, but on Monday that all changed.

Now, many people all over the world are rejoicing for Adnan’s freedom, and although this is likely the start to a much bigger win for him, loved ones said freedom is what he deserved all along.

“I was incarcerated with him I have been home now for four months I spent 20 years with Adnan,” said long time friend Desmond Perry.

Adnan Syed, center right, leaves the courthouse after the hearing, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered the release of Syed after overturning his conviction for the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee — a case that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial,” a true-crime series that transfixed listeners and revolutionized the genre. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

His friend and longtime prison mate, Perry was in the courtroom once the judge declared Syed’s shackles be removed, and he was to be detained at home pending a new trial.

“It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders to see him released and free knowing that he was innocent the whole time,” Perry said.

Syed was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee after she disappeared leaving Woodlawn High School in 1999.

During the hearing on Monday to vacate Syed’s life sentence, state attorney Becky Feldman said while reviewing 17 boxes of files which are still in the possession of the attorney generals office, she scanned two documents containing Brady material.

That material showed two new credible suspects, who the state ruled out incorrectly, who had motive to kill Lee.

Feldman said if this information had been used in court it likely would’ve been a different outcome for Syed, something loved ones have wanted for the more than 20 years he’s spent behind bars.

“He took care of every individual that came into that prison system, everybody, he would give clothes and shoes and food to another, he would cook for people this is the type of individual he was. He’s an impeccable human being just a wonderful person and hopefully the world will get to see that real soon,” said Perry.

Attorney Steve Kelly, representing Lee’s family, said they were disappointed that the hearing happened so quickly because they trusted the state to convict the correct person.

“This family is interested in pursuit of justice they want to know more than anybody who it was that killed Hae Min Lee,” Kelly said.

Syed’s legal representation has filed multiple appeals over the years and were denied each time.

But in October of 2021, the state reopened the investigation.

In March of 2022, they requested DNA testing of Lee’s clothing along with discovering information about two suspects who had opportunity to kill Lee.

One of the suspects attacked a woman in her vehicle unprovoked, and one was convicted of serial rape and assault which happened prior to the Syed’s trial.

State attorneys said they will not ask for the case to be dismissed, but instead investigate with a new trial because they believe they are morally compelled to rectify this potential false imprisonment.

“The message I would send to the public is there’s many more men just like him who are innocent that the justice system did wrong,” Perry said.

The state attorney’s office said they are trying to get a rush order on those DNA results that were sent out in March, and that new trial date will be set within the next month.

Right now it’s unclear if the two suspects potentially acted together or separate however, one of those men failed a lie detector test which can’t be used as evidence but Feldman said they were still cleared incorrectly.

This story was originally published Sept. 20, 2022 by WMAR in Baltimore, an E.W. Scripps Company.