$1.6 million payment proposed for Devonia Inman’s wrongful conviction

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Devonia Inman would be compensated for 23 years lost in prison

A man who was wrongfully convicted in a murder at a Taco Bell in South Georgia could be compensated over $1.6 million for the 23 years he was imprisoned, according to a resolution introduced in the Georgia House on Tuesday.

Devonia Inman, who had been serving a life sentence without parole, was freed in December 2021 based in part on DNA evidence that pointed to a different suspect.

Inman has always professed his innocence in the death of Donna Brown, a Taco Bell night manager who was killed in the Adel restaurant’s parking lot and robbed of about $1,700 in 1998.

“It’s very unfortunate what happened. There’s no amount of money that can compensate for the years he spent in prison, but this can help soften the blow,” said state Rep. Penny Houston, a Republican from Nashville who sponsored House Resolution 70.

The payment to Inman — $70,000 per year he was imprisoned — would resolve any potential claims against the state of Georgia.

A judge threw out Inman’s conviction after the Georgia Supreme Court asked the attorney general’s office to reexamine the case.

DNA evidence recovered from a makeshift mask found in Donna Brown’s car after the killing was tested after the Georgia Innocence Project took up the case. The GBI crime lab found that the mask matched Hercules Brown, who is serving a sentence of life without parole for the murders of two people at a grocery store in Adel months after Donna Brown’s killing. (Hercules Brown is not related to Donna Brown.)

Inman’s case was chronicled in 2017 during Season 4 of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Breakdown” podcast.

ExploreThe AJC’s coverage of Devonia Inman's case