Bratcher Martin partner Luke Martin led the defense team in the successful exoneration of Cain Joshua Storey this week in Floyd County, Georgia. Storey and his co-defendant, Lee Clark, were wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years for a murder that never happened.
In 1995, 15-year-old Brian Bowling died from an accidental shooting. Despite the evidence, police investigators conspired to influence witnesses and manufacture evidence to make a case for murder against then-teenagers Clark and Storey.
In 2022, Susan Simpson and Jacinda Davis, two investigative journalists with Proof: A True Crime StoryPodcast began looking into the case.Their work revealed the errors brought on by police misconduct.
Martin volunteered to take Storey’s case and enlisted the help of Ross Hamrick with the Rome Public Defender Office.
“I was convinced that these men were innocent, and I was confident I could convince the District Attorney’s office to do the right thing,” Martin explained.
Martin, a former prosecutor with the Floyd County District Attorney’s office, leveraged his experience in the criminal justice system to free Clark and Storey.
“Despite what happened 25 years ago, I knew law enforcement and prosecutors in place now would be receptive to our evidence and argument,” Martin said. “I’ve built relationships with them, and I know they care about getting it right. Had my plan not worked, we would realistically be litigating this for the next year or two.”
“I’m very grateful to the District Attorney’s office, specifically DA Leigh Patterson and Assistant DA Emily Johnson, for their willingness to not only make these exonerations happen but to make them happen so quickly,” Martin said.
“This was a collective effort. Behind the scenes, we had so many people supporting us and interested in making this possible. We appreciate everything the Georgia Innocence Project did to help us. Sheriff Dave Roberson made sure Clark and Storey were brought from prison this week; otherwise, they could have been incarcerated until January for another hearing. The clerk’s office and jail staff worked hours after closing time to ensure Clark and Storey could walk out of jail Thursday night. And we are very grateful for the incredible grace and openness of Brian Bowling’s family.”
Martin has set up a GoFundMe for Storey. Donate here