Podcasters are the new talk radio show hosts. Listeners often get their news, updates on celebrity happenings, or just listen to various stories. However, in a strange twist of events, podcasters were able to decipher some information that proved how 2 men from Georgia were wrongfully incarcerated, 25 years ago.
Charging the Innocent
Cain Joshua Storey and Darrell Lee Clark were tried and convicted of murdering their friend, Brian Bowling. Bowling, who was 15 at the time of the incident, died from a gunshot wound to the head. The incident occurred at a house party in 1996. Police initially believed Storey’s account that the shooting was accidental.
Bowling was on the phone with his girlfriend moments before the tragic accident when he’d told her they were playing Russian roulette. All evidence pointed to an accidental shot to the head by Bowling himself. Months later, police began an investigation stating that the self-inflicted wound was actually homicide.
After officials spoke with the party host, they determined that Clark was also guilty. They charged him as a co-conspirator, despite having a confirmed alibi. Prosecutors claimed that the two teens had conspired to kill Bowling, arguing they were out for revenge. In 1998, 2 years after the incident, Storey and Clark were convicted and have been incarcerated since.
Podcasters Cover the Whole Story
The podcasters covered the entire story in their first season entitled “Russian Roullete.” There are 18 episodes in total, and they start on the night of the shooting. The last episode is a joyous one, capturing the joy and relief felt by all involved.
Clark’s attorneys, senior Attorney Christina Cribbs and Accountability Counsel Meagan Hurley, work with a nonprofit organization called the Georgia Innocence Project. Their mission is to represent those wrongfully charged with crimes throughout Georgia. They took the case in 2021 and have worked hard to prove their client’s innocence. According to the GIP website, there are an estimated 2,100 wrongfully convicted men and women in Georgia.
GIP works not only to prove innocence but to prevent other wrongful convictions from happening. Many factors can cause someone to be unjustly convicted, including a false witness or misidentification. Or, as podcasters found out in this case, police coerced the party host, meaning one of the witnesses falsified information.
“Official misconduct was certainly a contributing factor in Lee’s case, just as it has been in over 50% of wrongful conviction cases. 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,” said Hurley. “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.”
Podcasters Uncover Key Details
The new evidence came to light in late 2021. Podcasters Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis began to interview witnesses involved in the case. The true-crime podcast is called “Proof.” Simpson and Davis interviewed both of the State’s key witnesses. That’s when they discovered the reason the hostess falsified information.
It turns out that police threatened to take her children if she failed to comply with their demands. The other key piece of information came from the other witness. He was speech and hearing impaired and had witnessed an unrelated but similar shooting in the late 70s. He mixed up the details when he recounted what he’d seen the night of Bowling’s death. He confused the night of 1996 with the first shooting he’d witnessed. When the podcasters interviewed him, he admitted that he’d never even seen a boy outside in 1996.
The podcasters were able to prove police misconduct, which essentially proved both, now, men were innocent. They and their families are beyond thrill, this is the first holiday in over 2 decades that they will be home for Christmas. “You never think something like that is going to happen to you,” Clark said. “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.”
- “New evidence unearthed by Podcasters Frees 2 Georgia men wrongfully imprisoned for 25 Years.” NBC News. Antonio Planas. December 12, 2022.
- “Lee Clark exonerated after more than 25 years. Georgia Innocence Project. December 08, 2022.