The case of Davonia Inman
Davonia Inman is serving life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) at the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville. The jury convicted Inman of the 1998 murder of then Taco Bell night manager, Donna Brown. At the time of his arrest, he was twenty-years-old. He’s now forty. The case the district attorney, Dick Perryman, that’s his real name by the way, has fallen to no more than rubble over the years.
On September 19, 1998, Donna Brown was shot through the right eye, while carrying a money bag, containing roughly $1,700, to her car. Her Monte Carlo and the money bag were stolen. Donna Brown left behind a seven-year-old son.
How’d the police get to Davonia Inman
To convict Inman, prosecutors relied heavily upon a newspaper delivery woman who claims she saw Inman driving Brown’s car shortly after the shooting. As in every thread-bare case, a jailhouse snitch claimed Inman confessed to the murder (like we all haven’t heard that before). Another woman said she could see Inman ducking close to the Taco Bell before the murder. Still another woman said Inman had a lot of cash the morning after the murder.
Shocker: Every single witness, except the newspaper woman, Virginia Tatum, who received $5,000 for her testimony, recanted their testimony.
“Basically, I made it up, just to get him out of the picture,” said Marquetta Thomas. She was the woman who first implicated Inman by saying he had a lot of cash the morning following the murder. She also added, “I was like, ‘I’m going to get this guy.’” Yet, there’s no consequence for someone like her. Inman was dating Thomas’ younger sister at the time.
Records illustrate Taco Bell employee LarRisha Chapman first told investigators she didn’t see anything abnormal when she left work on September 19, 1998. She later altered her story to say she saw Inman hiding in bushes by Donna’s car. For good measure, she added that she recognized his voice when he spoke to Donna. The truth shall set you free… At Inman’s trial, she said she was “just making that up because she was tired of the detectives calling her.” Imagine that…
Drumroll please… The Jailhouse snitch, Kwame Spaulding, who once shared a cell with Inman, brought forth “evidence” hoping to reduce his own sentence. No… that NEVER HAPPENS! Some of Kwame’s info was discovered in earlier published newspaper articles, including one inaccurate report stating that the money bag was recovered. Later, Kwame told the judge, “Basically everything was coerced.” He added that the detective “was telling me he’ll let me go home” and “stuff to say about the man.” But… police officers don’t lie… right?!?!?!
Remember Virginia Tatum? Well, a co-worker, Lee Grimes, who was with her the night of the murder, said there was no way she could’ve seen what she claims she saw. He later said, “Her story is a complete and total fabrication, I was standing right beside her.” It should be noted that Tatum didn’t come forward until a month after the shooting and after Taco Bell announced the $5,000 reward. That’s not suspicious at all!!!!
Not convinced yet? It’s get better–or worse, I should say!
An alternate suspect
After locating the Donna Brown's car, police discovered a homemade mask on the floorboard. Years after Inman’s conviction, his attorneys petitioned to have the mask tested for DNA. The DNA proved the mask was not worn by Inman, but matched Hercules Brown. Brown worked at Taco Bell, but is not related to the victim, Donna Brown.
In 1999, Brown entered an Adel grocery store with a gun under his shirt. Police later found a homemade mask in his trunk. Days later, Brown and another man entered Bennett’s Grocery and beat the store’s owner and cook with baseball bats until they died, during an armed robbery. Brown pled guilty to the murders. Brown is serving life for those crimes. Moreover, several witnesses said Brown admitted to the killing of Donna Brown. (The judge would not allow this testimony in during Inman’s original trial)
It gets worse, still! Inman’s new lawyers interviewed a woman who took over Donna Brown’s job. She said Hercules Brown told her he did something “bad.” The woman stated further that Brown questioned her in helping him pull off an inside robbery of the restaurant, which she refused. Brown’s behavior became so alarming the woman reported it to Adel police and the GBI, adding that she feared Hercules killed Donna Brown and might do the same thing to her. This information was never disclosed to the defense during trial, which is a glaring Brady violation!
You’d think all the aforementioned information amounts to, at the very least, reasonable doubt that Davonia Inman is innocent, right? Well, the judge who originally tried his case denied his attorney’s petitions. Then, the supreme court refused to hear his case without providing a reason why. He is virtually out of options! The DA released a statement in 2014, stating Brown and Inman “likely” committed the crime together! Here’s the thing, the men never met outside of prison! Of course, the DA doesn’t have to answer to that!
This case breaks my heart! You’d think DNA is a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the truth of the matter is, that only happens in Monopoly! In real life, after a conviction, it’s a matter of finding a judge who actually cares that you’re innocent! That’s sickening!
Inman’s attorneys are filing a last-ditch effort in federal court, but the chance of his case being heard is less than exciting!
Let the court of public opinion roar! This man is innocent and the “justice system” is turning a blind eye to his case!
To learn more about his case, listen to season four of the podcast Breakdown hosted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution!