Men convicted of Russian roulette murder free after 25 years due to podcast

Two men wrongly convicted of murder have been freed after more than 25 years behind bars – and it's all thanks to a true crime podcast.

Darrell Lee Clark and Cain Joshua Storey, both from Georgia, US, were convicted of the murder of 15-year-old Brian Bowling who died during a game of Russian roulette.

The pair walked free from jail on Thursday after the Rome Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office agreed the 1996 conviction should be overturned.

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According to News.com.au, Clark said in a statement: “You never think something like that is going to happen to you.

“Never would I have thought I would spend more than half my life in prison, especially for something I didn’t do?

“I’m just glad the truth finally came to light after 25 years. I’m so thankful for the Georgia Innocence Project and Proof podcast for what they did. Without them, I would still be in prison.”

The conviction was overturned after evidence was reexamined by Proof Podcasters Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis in 2021 – two decades after the case.

The pair reinterviewed key witnesses from the original trial and found details never given to the police, spoke to new witnesses never interviewed, as well as allegations that a witness was coerced by police.

With this new evidence in hand, senior attorney Christina Cribbs and accountability counsel Meagan Hurley of the Georgia Innocence Project secured a new trial for Clark.

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Senior attorney Christina Cribbs said: “We are elated to see Lee and his family finally obtain the justice that is so long overdue.

“This would not have been possible without the Bowling family’s support and a district attorney’s office that was willing to take an objective, new look at an old case.

“The Bowling family suffered a great loss when Brian died. Their strength, open minds, willingness to question information that has been presented as ‘fact’ and quest for the truth is inspiring.”

Accountability counsel Meagan Hurley of the Georgia Innocence Project said that “official misconduct was certainly a contributing factor in Lee’s case, just as it has been in over 50 per cent of wrongful conviction cases”.

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“What we should take away from this is that unfettered power, without proper checks and balances, leaves ripe the opportunity for mistakes and misconduct. Proper oversight, coupled with educational initiatives designed to prevent and correct wrongful convictions, is key,” she said.

“Prosecutors have a duty to see that justice is done in their cases, and that must include a commitment to principles of integrity, equity and accountability. It is imperative that they are willing to take corrective action when they see injustice, including when the injustice is perpetrated by police.”

The judge reduced Storey’s charge back to the original manslaughter charge, which carried a sentence of 10 years, and gave him credit for time served.

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Both men went home to their families in time for the Christmas holiday.

“It is a real shock. Been behind prison walls for 25 years and walk out and see how the world has changed,” Clark told Fox 5.

His father, Glen Clark, was thankful to God that justice had finally been served.

“Let me tell you something. The Lord is shining, he’s shining today,” he said.

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