AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Did Georgia convict the wrong man of murder? When DNA evidence isn't enough.

Devonia Inman has spent nearly 18 years behind bars for a murder he and his legal team say he didn't commit. They say new DNA evidence proves it, but Georgia's legal system won't grant him a new trial.

The evidence? A ski mask found inside the victim's car contains the saliva of another man who is serving life in prison in a separate killing. It was tested years after Inman was convicted for the 1998 murder of a Taco Bell manager in Adel.

The AJC on Sunday highlighted the case on the front page in a story that detailed Inman's struggles to get a new trial. Despite the DNA evidence of a man who killed two convenience store workers in Adel in 2000, a court in 2014 ruled that wasn't enough for Inman to get a new trial. Inman has, more or less, run out of legal options and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.

"Once you are convicted of a crime, the facts of a case don't really matter that much anymore in the court system," says Georgia Innocence Project Director Aimee Maxwell, "It's basically trying to get a court to care that you are actually innocent."



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About the Author

Brad Schrade is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter on the AJC’s investigative team.