- By Bill Rankin
Donna Brown was killed in 1998, shot through the right eye in the parking lot of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga.
She was the store’s night manager, and she was carrying the day’s receipts to her car at about 2 a.m., planning to drop the money at the bank’s night depository.
Who was Donna Brown? She was a 40-year-old working woman and the sole support of her 7-year-old son. The night she died was only her second at the Taco Bell.
Episode 6 of the AJC’s exclusive Breakdown podcast — the concluding episode of “Murder Below the Gnat Line” — became available early Monday on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting platforms. You can also stream the podcast from this page.
Her sisters recall her as a loving, caring, hard-working mother whose life revolved around her son. “Once she had Matthew, that was it,” said Brown’s sister, Lashonda Ging. “Her life was complete.”
Breakdown has followed this saga because the man convicted in Donna Brown’s murder seems, 20 years later, to have a strong case for a new trial.
Three of the four most important witnesses against Devonia Inman have recanted, and the trial judge has said he doesn’t believe the fourth.
In addition, a makeshift mask found in Donna Brown’s car yielded a clear DNA profile — and it wasn’t the profile of Devonia Inman.
This last piece of evidence didn’t emerge until years after Inman’s conviction.
A Georgia State law professor, her students, the Georgia Innocence Project and now a team from the prestigious Troutman Sanders law firm in Atlanta have all gone to bat for Devonia Inman. Does he have a chance?