‘Breakdown’ S04, Ep. 5: Devonia Inman gets a new day in court

ADEL — Nearly 13 years had passed since Devonia Inman was convicted in the murder of Taco Bell night manager Donna Brown in Adel. 

At the trial in 2001, Judge Buster McConnell told the attorneys that he’d had five heart attacks. At the hearing on Inman’s motion for a new trial in 2014, McConnell reported that he’d had a sixth, and this time he’d died on the operating table. 

But the judge was back, and so was the Inman case. 

Episode 5 of the AJC’s exclusive podcast, “Breakdown: Murder Below the Gnat Line,” launched early Monday on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast players. You can also stream it from this page.

The case had not exhausted its share of bombshells, and at least two more would detonate during the hearing on Inman’s motion for a new trial. You’ll hear about both in Episode 5. 

At the hearing, the defense pushed hard on the new DNA evidence it had uncovered: a mask found in the victim’s car had a clear DNA profile on it, and it wasn’t Devonia Inman’s. It belonged to Hercules Brown. A year after Donna Brown was murdered, Hercules Brown beat two people to death with a baseball bat. 

At the trial in 2001, Judge McConnell refused to admit testimony from two people saying Hercules had confessed to them that he’d killed Donna Brown. The judge said he didn’t trust the witnesses and that he needed some other evidence that tied Hercules Brown to the crime. Now he seemed to have it.

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