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The SL-9 Incident, colloquially known as the Joe Darke Killings, was a series of murders that culminated in the death of prosecutor Neil Marshall in the Los Angeles Criminal Affairs Department. This led to the trial of Joe Darke, who was found guilty and executed.

Early killings[]

Dick Gumshoe
He killed a man that witnessed the accident, then he killed a lady who saw the second crime. A kid walked by just then, so he killed him too. Then, when he was burying the bodies, a jogger came upon the scene and was killed as well! Finally he turned himself in.

The eponymous Joe Darke.

The incident began when Darke accidentally ran over and killed a man while driving his car. This began a series of murders, in each of which Darke would discover and kill someone who had witnessed the previous homicide. To investigate these crimes, Criminal Affairs set up a team of detectives consisting of Bruce Goodman, Jake Marshall, and Angel Starr, overseen by legendary detectives Damon Gant and Lana Skye. After being trailed by this team for half a year, Darke turned himself in and the matter seemed to be finished. Jake's brother Neil was assigned as the prosecutor for the case.

Murder of Neil Marshall[]

On a stormy night not long afterward, Darke escaped from the interrogation room of the police station while being questioned by Damon Gant and Neil Marshall. He ended up in the office used by Gant and Skye. Ema Skye, Lana's younger sister, was there, but before Darke could get to her, he was attacked by Neil Marshall, who had caught up with him. While it was too dark for Ema to see the faces of the two men, she saw that one of them was in control, holding a knife over the other. Assuming that the knife-wielder was Darke, Ema pushed him to the floor, knocking over an unstable jar. However, it turned out that she had actually pushed Neil.

After all three of the people lost consciousness, Gant entered the room. Seeing that he could use the situation to further his career and control the prosecutor's office, he cut out a piece of cloth from Marshall's jacket that had Ema's handprint on it. He then impaled Marshall on a ceremonial suit of armor in the office. He also wrote Ema's name on the jar, which had survived the fall, in Marshall's blood, and broke the jar. He then put the jacket cut-out and a piece of the jar in his safe as insurance.

Lana Skye later entered the room, and after looking at the crime scene, she assumed that Ema had accidentally pushed Neil to his death. She took a picture of the crime scene as she had discovered it, with Marshall's body impaled on the suit of armor. She then had Gant help her cover up the crime scene. They moved the body and the unconscious Darke to the other side of the room and planted the broken tip of Darke's knife into Marshall's wound to implicate Darke as the killer. The plan succeeded, and the police arrested Darke again and charged him with the murder of Neil Marshall.


The main members of the investigation team (clockwise from bottom left): Neil Marshall, Angel Starr, Jake Marshall, and Bruce Goodman.

Miles Edgeworth replaced Marshall as the prosecutor in charge of the trial against Darke, but he was concerned about the amount of evidence that was found. Because of this, he called Ema Skye as a witness to the crime. She tried to explain what had happened, but was too frightened to speak in court. She had drawn a picture to show what she had seen on the back of the evidence list, but Gant had torn it in half, and the half that showed the unstable jar was hidden in Gant's desk drawer. There was enough evidence to charge Darke for the murder, and he was found guilty and sentenced to death.


Immediately after the trial, Gant was promoted to Chief of Police. From this position, he moved Lana to the Prosecutor's office as Chief Prosecutor and used the cover-up to blackmail her into doing what he asked. The three detectives who had been assigned to the case had their suspicions as to the legitimacy of the verdict, but Gant soon fired Starr and demoted Jake Marshall to a patrolman several months after the trial. He did keep Goodman at his post, however, but only to reduce suspicion as to his motives. The trial also caused persistent rumors about Edgeworth falsifying evidence. In this way, Gant obtained complete control over law enforcement in Los Angeles.


Main article: Rise from the Ashes

Two years later, the evidence from the SL-9 Incident was to be removed from the evidence room, a practice known as evidence transferal, which would make it difficult to reopen the case. However, Starr and Jake Marshall still suspected that something had gone wrong in the trial, so Marshall convinced Goodman to take action. Goodman accompanied Gant to the evidence room and asked him to reopen the case. Fearing that his murder would be exposed, Gant fatally stabbed Goodman with Darke's switchblade knife and had Lana Skye move the body using Edgeworth's car. Gant also told Lana to stab Goodman with Edgeworth's knife to throw the scent off further. However, Starr caught Lana in the stabbing act, and Lana was arrested for Goodman's murder.

Lana Skye's attorney, Phoenix Wright, eventually came up with a plan to cause Gant to implicate himself as the killer in the murders of both Neil Marshall and Bruce Goodman (as well as the fabrication of evidence that led to Joe Darke's execution), and the case was finally solved for good.



Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Reminiscence - The SL-9 Incident