A man in the US who was wrongly convicted of murder has been released from prison after 23 years.
Devonia Inman was greeted by his mum and stepdad after walking free from Augusta State Medical Prison in Georgia yesterday (Monday 20 December).
Inman was just 20 when he was arrested for the 1998 killing of Donna Brown.
Brown was a 40-year-old night manager at a Taco Bell who was shot in the face as she left the restaurant with a bag of cash.
Inman was arrested based on the accounts of eye witnesses, who later admitted to lying.
He was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole in 2001, but always maintained his innocence.
A decade on, Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) took up his case, with DNA testing showing that a ski mask worn during the murder and robbery had Hercules Brown's DNA on it.
Brown was in prison by this point, having been convicted of killing two people in a convenience store in 2000.
GIP petitioned for a new trial, but the case was rejected in 2014. GIP subsequently appealed the decision, and last month, a judge ordered that a new trial should take place after prosecutors withheld critical evidence in Inman's trial.
Devonia’s future is bright, but there is still a long road ahead.— Georgia Innocence Project (@GaInnocence) December 20, 2021
With that in mind, a personal fundraiser has been set up as a way to help Devonia and his family. All funds raised will go directly to Devonia. They are not tax-deductible. https://t.co/3mF9TiC5T8 pic.twitter.com/ZdBOhRkRLY
Upon his release, Inman - who is now 43 - said: "I spent 23 years behind bars for something I didn’t do.
"It took a really long time to fix, even though it was so clear I wasn’t guilty.
"I’m glad I get to finally go home, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped make that possible."
Christina Cribbs, senior attorney at GIP, criticised the state of Georgia.
She said: "Despite so much compelling information showing that the State convicted the wrong man, it took a massive team effort that spanned almost a decade to correct this obvious injustice and free an innocent man from prison.
"While we are grateful Devonia Inman is free and that District Attorney Studstill acted so quickly to exonerate Devonia after Georgia’s Attorney General stopped defending the conviction, it simply cannot and should not take so long for the State to correct wrongful and unjust convictions in Georgia."
GIP director Clare Gilbert added: "Prosecutors wield great power, and with that comes a great responsibility to do justice, not simply seek victory and defend convictions."
Featured Image Credit: Georgia Innocence Project
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