Devonia Inman was arrested after police believed that he committed a robbery in South Georgia, resulting in the murder of a Taco Bell manager.
Donna Brown, the manager, was 41 years old when she was shot. The incident occurred as she walked to her car after closing the Taco Bell restaurant for the night, The Valdos Daily Times reported. The murder took place on Sept. 19, 1998.
Inman has already been behind bars for 18 years and is set to remain in prison for life, according to WSB-TV. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms, as well as an additional 30 years for other charges, The Valdos Daily Times reported. Since one of the life terms is without parole, Inman currently has no way of getting out of prison.
Originally, the prosecution in this case hoped for the death penalty.
"Had we not sought the death penalty, we could not have gotten life without parole," said Alapaha District Attorney Bob Ellis, according to the The Valdos Daily Times.
The judge he faced from Georgia’s Supreme Court refused to accept his pleas of innocence, reported WSB-TV. Furthermore, Georgia’s court system does not guarantee Inman a new trial, even with the available DNA evidence.
Inman’s lawyers say that DNA evidence makes clear that he was not the person who murdered Brown.
“Imagine the crushing blow when the judge says, you know what, DNA doesn’t matter,” said Jessie Gabel Cino, a lawyer helping with Inman’s case.
There are key witnesses whose testimony was used to find Inman guilty of this crime. Some of them now admit that they lied.
"I'm sorry, please forgive me," said Marquetta Thomas. "This has gone too far. He didn't do it. I'll do anything to help free this man." Thomas admitted that she fabricated testimony about Inman’s case, which she believes helped to land him the two life sentences.
“It’s like they’re saying, 'Who cares if we’re wrong or right,” said Inman, who always claimed innocence from the moment that he was arrested.