For the past 25 years, Glen Clark celebrated Father’s Day by opening gifts from his son Lee– gifts sent from prison where Lee was incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. This year, however, is different. For the first time in over two decades, Glen and Lee will get to celebrate the day in person together.
At just 17 years old, Lee was arrested for the shooting death of his friend, Brian Bowling.
“They had a warrant for Lee, so I took him to the jail that night just thinking that, you know, he’s going to go in there and talk to them and find out it’s just a mistake or something like that,” recalled Glen.
That was the last time Glen saw Lee outside prison bars for the next 25 years. In 1998 Lee was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
For Glen, leaving his son after his conviction was not an option. Never questioning Lee’s innocence, he provided support in any way he could by calling and visiting often, and making sure Lee had money in his account.
“Once I got incarcerated, over the years, he was the one person that was always there for me, never turned their back on me,” said Lee about his father. “Twenty-five years, he’s been right there every step of the way with me.”
In 2021, a re-investigation of the case uncovered crucial new evidence, shattering the State’s theory of Lee’s involvement in the shooting death of his friend and supporting what Lee had been telling everyone for decades–he was innocent. After 25 years behind bars, on December 8th, 2022, Lee was exonerated.
“Let me tell you something, it was probably one of the best days of my life,” said Glen. “The day he got out I felt like a new man. I was just so happy. I mean, it was just unreal, knowing we’re back back together again. You just can’t describe it.”
Now that Lee is exonerated, he and Glen are determined to make up for lost time, starting with celebrating Father’s Day together.
“I can finally go by and pick my dad up”, said Lee. “We’re going to go have us a day.”
Lee is also looking forward to the life he is re-building for himself, and that includes starting a family of his own one day.
Like most things in the past few months since Lee was exonerated, Father’s Day is extra special this year.
“I want to give a special thanks to my dad for always being there,” said Lee. “Thank you, Daddy.”
Georgia Innocence Project wishes a Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers who have gone above and beyond to support their children!
To learn more about Lee’s case, check out our stories of freedom page.