Closer look into investigation of Darius Elam's innocence claims in murder case

*EDITOR'S NOTE* This is the second part of a two-part exclusive story on FOX 26. Click here for part one. 

In a 2019 court hearing, it was determined there was no DNA evidence linking Darius Elam to the murder of Rick Bowen back in 1983.

The judge who held the hearing has yet to decide how to move the case forward.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 60-year-old inmate says he’s innocent, relatives of the man he’s serving time for killing say otherwise 

"I don’t want to die without at least telling my version and at least bringing the truth out," said Darius Elam during a prison interview.

Elam has never wavered and has in fact maintained his innocence for nearly 4 decades and court documents confirm that.

"He is not going to waver," said Darius’s brother Samuel Elam. "Just like any person who is innocent, they are not going to waver on trying to obtain their freedom because they know they’re innocent."

"It is unbelievable what happened to Darius back in 1983," said Tammie Lang Campbell founder of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation.

But relatives of 27-year-old Rick Bowen haven’t wavered either.

They say they are certain Elam is Rick’s killer.

"You can’t even put into words how awful it is having to tell your boys their father has been killed," said Rick Bowen’s widow Vicki Atkinson.

"No one should have to do that."

Elam is serving a life sentence for Aggravated robbery, not capital murder.


He denies robbing Bowen or anyone else.

Two days after being arrested for credit card abuse back in 1983 Elam was charged with aggravated robbery,

While at the Galleria Elam says he ran into a friend of his Clarence Richardson who offered to buy him a pair of shoes

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Both men were arrested after Richardson used Rick Bowen’s credit card.

Richardson claimed he found it at Mcgregor Park.

"The DA felt it was easier to convict under the robbery because he was trying to use the credit card abuse and link it to robbing the guy," said Elam.

"There was no DNA that was found of Darius’s that connected him to the crime," Campbell said.

The state has 2 things it says links Darius to Rick Bowen’s murder.

A yellow piece of paper with his fingerprint on it and jailhouse informants.

"A single right index fingerprint was found on my sheet of paper and my sheet of paper was found in the car," said Elam.

Elam says it’s his piece of paper and his fingerprint.

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He says it was on him when he got arrested and placed in jail. However, Elam maintains police planted the piece of paper in Rick Bowen’s car.

"When I got his attention some kind of way he and I struggled I pushed him into his own car shot and killed him and then dropped the paper as evidence," said Elam. "That’s pretty much their theory."

A jailhouse informant testified at trial Elam confessed to the killing, but that informant recently recanted.

"What he said to me was shocking he said I’m a changed person I don’t want to continue with this lie I want the truth to be known," Campbell said.

"Darius never admitted to killing anyone or robbing anyone."

Rick’s widow Vicki Atkinson says there were other jailhouse informants who say Elam also confessed to them.

"There were three at two different prisons two different times," she said.

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"He was found guilty by trial by jury beyond a reasonable doubt based on evidence like that," said Cathy Bowen.

What would Darius Elam say to Rick Bowen’s relatives who are convinced he’s guilty?

"You hear the lie over and over and over and over you start reaching into your subconscious and you automatically believe it," he said.

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"He was never remorseful or showed any remorse whatsoever for it," Atkinson said. "I don’t think he should be let out."

It’s not clear when Judge Josh Hill will rule on motions in his court.

Ultimately an appeals court will decide if Darius Elam should be exonerated or granted a new trial.