Major twist in case of 'Russian roulette' murder as two men walk free after 25 years thanks to podcast clues | The Sun
TWO men have walked free this week after a true crime podcast exposed they were wrongfully convicted 25 years ago.
Cain Joshua Storey and Lee Darrel Clark, both now 43, were convicted as teenagers of the 1996 killing of Brian Bowling during a game of Russian roulette.
The case had sat closed and gathering dusk until two investigative journalists in 2021 began digging – their question: “An evil teenage plot? Or a blatant miscarriage of justice?”
Their Proof Podcast managed to expose false evidence and miscarriages of justice in the infamous case that resulted in two teenagers wrongfully jailed for life.
In October 1996, two friends were playing in a bedroom at a trailer park in Rome, Georgia. By the next morning, 15-year old Bowling was dead and 17-year-old Storey was under investigation for the killing.
Despite evidence that indicated Bowling’s head wound was self-inflicted – a tragic and accidental result of a game – police began to investigate it as a homicide.
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Six months later, Storey and his friend Clark were arrested for murder. They were both sentenced to life in prison.
Their convictions were hung on two key witnesses. The first was a neighbour, Angela Bruce, who had alleged that Storey and Clark had confessed to her that they had plotted his murder.
The second was a hearing ands speech-impaired man who claimed to have seen Clark running through the park the night of the shooting.
However, the podcasters with help from the non-profit Georgia Innocence Project were able to discover critical new evidence which destroyed the credibility of the original trial.
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Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis unearthed the shocking revelations that Bruce had been coerced into making her false witness statement by police and that the second witness had not actually seen any boy running outside on that date.
With both the critical witnesses' statements undermined – the case against the men was quickly unravelling.
Twenty-five years after the death of Brian Bowling, a new trial was secured.
Clark was exonerated of all charges, whilst Storey’s charges were reduced to manslaughter and he was released on time served.
“Official misconduct was certainly a contributing factor in Lee’s case, just as it has been in over 50% of wrongful conviction cases,” said Accountability counsel Meagan Hurley of the Georgia Innocence Project.
“What we should take away from this is that unfettered power, without proper checks and balances, leaves ripe the opportunity for mistakes and misconduct.”
Both men walked free on December 8.
Clark told reporters: “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.”
Jubilant, he added: “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.”
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.”
After almost a quarter of a century behind bars, the two men are free in time for Christmas.
Earlier this year, the true crime podcast, Serial, was involved in dismantling a decade-old case against a Baltimore teenager, Adnan Syed, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1999.
The 12-part podcast released in 2014 has largely been credited as the inspiration behind the global cultural obsession with true crime.
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Yet, it was also instrumental in forcing global attention back on Mr Syed’s case and revealing weaknesses in the evidence used to convict him.
In September, Mr Syed’s murder charges were overturned and he was released after 23 years in prison.
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