In this case, a true-crime podcast didn't just recount an old case—it helped free two men wrongfully imprisoned because of it, reports CNN. Darrell Lee Clark and co-defendant Cain Joshua Storey were exonerated of murder last week in the 1996 shooting death of their friend Brian Bowling. All three were teenagers at the time. Clark and Storey were convicted of homicide and had spent 25 years behind bars before the Proof podcast with hosts Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis got involved and alerted the Georgia Innocence Project, per Fox 5 Atlanta.
The 15-year-old Bowling died from a gunshot wound to the head while in his own bedroom. He had been on the phone to his girlfriend at the time, and he had just told her that he was playing Russian Roulette with a gun brought over by Storey, who was in the room at the time, per a release from the Georgia Innocence Project. Police initially believed Storey's account that the shooting was accidental but soon began investigating it as a homicide. The case hinged on the testimony of two key witnesses.
A young woman testified that Storey and Clark later told her they wanted to kill Bowling, but the podcasters found that detectives coerced her. They also showed that the testimony of the other key witness, a man with speech and hearing impairments, was unreliable and was even misunderstood at trial. Storey and Clark were sentenced to life in prison. "It took us a long time to talk to both of those witnesses," says podcaster Davis. "When we finally found and were able to talk to those two witnesses, it really solidified that both of these guys had been wrongly convicted."
Both men are now out of prison, with Storey accepting a plea deal for involuntary manslaughter for his role in Bowling's death; it involved a 10-year sentence but he was released for time served. Like Clark, who wasn't even at the scene, he was exonerated of homicide. “You never think something like that is going to happen to you,” Clark said in a statement released by the Georgia Innocence Project. "Never would I have thought I would spend more than half my life in prison, especially for something I didn’t do.” (Read more exoneration stories.)