AUGUSTA, GA. (WTXL) — A man who spent 23 years in prison for a murder at fast-food restaurant in Adel, Georgia was released from prison.
Devonia Inman exited the Augusta State Medical Prison on Monday.
His release comes one month after a superior court judge granted Mr. Inman’s petition for habeas corpus relief.
The Alapaha Judicial Circuit District Attorney quickly and successfully moved to dismiss all underlying charges against Inman, officially exonerating him of the 1998 Taco Bell Murder.
"I spent 23 years behind bars for something I didn’t do,” Inman said in a statement provided by the Georgia Innocence Project. “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.”
For more than two decades, Inman has maintained his innocence, denying any involvement in the Taco Bell Murder. In 1998, the manager of an Adel Taco Bell was robbed and shot in the parking lot of the restaurant.
The killer stole $1,700 and the victim’s car.
Despite multiple discrepancies and according to the Georgia Innocence Project, a lack of physical evidence linking Inman to the crime, Inman was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
In January 2014, DNA evidence was revealed to have linked a Hercules Brown to the incident.
A habeas corpus petition was filed on behalf of Inman in 2018; claiming he was innocent and his constitutional right of wrongful imprisonment were violated.
Last month, Inman’s petition was granted, which forced the state of Georgia to give Inman a new trial. The state had 30 days to appeal, but Georgia’s attorney general declined.
The case went back to the local district court to either re-prosecute Inamn, offer a plea deal or dismiss the charges.
Alapaha Judicial Circuit Chase Studstill filed a motion to dismiss the underlying charges, which Chief Judge Clayton Tomlinson granted Monday morning.