The night manager of the Taco Bell in Adel, Ga., was shot through the right eye as she carried the night’s proceeds to her car in the restaurant’s parking lot. Key witnesses pointed their fingers at Devonia Inman, who was found guilty of first-degree murder. Twenty years later, however, much has changed about the case, including recanted testimonies, DNA tests identifying a different suspect, and more. Has the wrong man been in prison all this time?
AJC legal affairs writer Bill Rankin returns for Season 4 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Breakdown" podcast, "Murder Below the Gnat Line." You can listen to the episodes at the links below, or go to the iTunes store to binge listen the entire series.
INTRO: Get a quick preview of the Devonia Inman case.
EPISODE 1: "The Crime." A vicious murder on a hot South Georgia night outside the local Taco Bell. The police build an impressive case against young Devonia Inman. Now it's 20 years later, an a law professor in Atlanta is determined to take that case apart and win Inman's freedom.
EPISODE 2: "The Prosecution." The jury that hears the case against Devonia Inman must go through the peculiar process of becoming "death qualified." Meanwhile, some key witnesses take the stand and say they really didn't see what they told police they saw.
EPISODE 3: "The Mask." Did somebody else commit the murder of which Devonia Inman was convicted? He has always said so. Bill Rankin talks to witnesses who saw completely different things and zeroes in on a mask that police said was used in the crime. It wasn't a ski mask, says Rankin, it was an up-to-no-good mask.
EPISODE 4: "Burying the Lede?" If Hercules Brown committed the murder of Taco Bell's night manager in 1998, then the authorities have put the wrong man, Devonia Inman, behind bars. But it gets worse than that. Much worse.
EPISODE 5: "Yet Another Bombshell." In the hearing on Devonia Inman's "exxtraordinary motion" for a new trial, another giant piece of the case against Inman seems to crumble and fall away. Did Inman commit the murder of which he was convicted? Was he even there when it happened?
EPISODE 6: “The Murdered Woman.” Before she was killed that night at the Taco Bell in Adel, Donna Brown was a hardworking restaurant manager, a beloved sister and a completely devoted mother. And if we are to seek justice for Devonia Inman, we must also seek it for Donna Brown.
Season 3: "Breakdown: Predator, M.D."