Man set free after wrongful conviction in ‘98 Adel murder

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 12:46 PM EST
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ADEL, Ga. (WALB) - A Georgia man who spent 23 years in prison for an Adel murder he didn’t commit is back home with his family.

Devonia Inman walked out of the Augusta State Medical Prison on Monday to the open arms of family and friends.

In 1998, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Donna Brown, a manager at a Taco Bell in Adel.

His family and the Georgia Innocence Project never gave up on getting him true justice.

“We use DNA or other evidence to try to undo their convictions. Normally that happens years and years and years later because these post-conviction proceedings are really slow and there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome about why things we’re raised earlier,” said Christina Cribbs, one of the attorneys that works for the Georgia Innocence Project.

Inman was convicted even though there was no physical evidence that tied him to the crime.

The conviction was largely based on the testimony of four witnesses, three of whom changed their stories after his trial.

“So, they took some fingerprints off of the victim’s car. They didn’t match Devonia Inman, they had some footprints outside in the bushes around the Taco Bell. Those didn’t match any of the shoes that Devonia Inman wore,” Cribbs said.

Years after Inman’s conviction, the Georgia Innocence Project found evidence linked to another man, someone who later pleaded guilty to another murder. The judge in the case refused to hear the appeal. But finally, on Monday, a Cook County Superior Court judge dismissed the case — making Inman a free man.

“If someone has a loved one, friend, family member that has been wrongfully convicted, what they should do is write a letter to the Georgia Innocence Project and we respond to every single letter that we get,” Cribbs said.

Georgia is one of only 13 states without a law to provide financial relief for those wrongfully convicted.

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