Two Georgia men served 25 years in prison for the 1996 fatal shooting of their friend.
This week, the two were exonerated after evidence was found last year. It revealed their innocence.
Darrell Lee Clark and co-defendant Cain Storey were both 17 years old when they were apprehended. That was for their supposed parts in the death of Brian Bowling, 15.
He had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head at his family’s mobile residence on October 18, 1996.
Just prior to the gun being shot, Bowling had been on the phone, talking to his girlfriend. He disclosed that he had been playing a game of Russian Roulette with a firearm that Storey had brought to his residence. Storey had been in the room when the shooting occured.
At first, Storey had been charged with involuntary manslaughter, but later, the incident was investigated as a homicide. Two witnesses then implicated Clark as a part of Bowling’s death, as well.
The two teenagers were then given a life sentence in prison after they were found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in 1998.
Then, in 2021, the Georgia Innocence Project got involved in the matter.
In an investigation, new evidence was found that went against claims that Clark was involved.
A woman who had resided close to Bowling said that the teens admitted that they had “planned the murder of Bowling because he knew too much about a prior theft Storey and Clark had committed.”
Therefore, Storey was charged with murder and Clark was apprehended as a co-conspirator. This came even though the two had a corroborating alibi. Two witnesses had verified that Clark had been at the home when the shooting happened.
However, it was found that the woman’s testimony was coerced, and she was threatened with having her children removed from her home if she didn’t comply.
A man’s testimony was also found to be invalid because it was about an “unrelated, factually similar shooting.”
After seeing that both witnesses’ testimonies had helped wrongfully convict the two, attorneys requested a new trial in September.
On Thursday, Clark, 43, was released from the Floyd County Jail after a judge concurred that the conviction should be overturned and charges be dismissed.
Storey, who confessed to bringing the firearm to Bowling’s residence, was released, as well. This came after he took a plea deal for involuntary manslaughter, and a 10-year sentence with time served, subsequent to spending 25 years in prison. He was exonerated on murder charges, too.