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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 fled 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. The power went out at that moment due to the storm, and while it was too dark for Ema to see the faces of the two men, a flash of lightning enabled her to see that one of them was in control, holding a knife over the other. Assuming that the knife-wielder was Darke, Ema pushed him, knocking him over and causing an unstable jar to fall from a shelf. However, it turned out that she had actually pushed Neil, who was knocked unconscious from the fall. Ema subsequently fainted, and Darke was knocked out as well.

Gant then entered the room. Being the first to arrive at the scene, he decided that he could fabricate a false murder and frame Ema. By doing so, he would be able to use Ema's "guilt" to blackmail Lana to great lengths, allowing him to further his own career and control the prosecutor's office. He cut out a piece of cloth from Marshall's vest that had Ema's handprint on it, and 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 vest cut-out and a piece of the jar in his safe as insurance. He believed these pieces of "evidence" would point away from himself and incriminate Ema, should anyone blame Gant for Marshall's death. However, when Phoenix Wright accused Gant two years later, these items would serve only to prove Chief Gant as Neil's real killer.

Soon after, Lana Skye later entered the room, and after looking at the crime scene set up by Gant, 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 in an effort to protect Ema and condemn Darke. 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 both puzzled and concerned by the seeming lack of evidence that was found. In order to strengthen his argument, 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. However, during earlier questioning, she had drawn a picture on the back of the case’s evidence list to show what she had seen, but Gant had made an attempt to hide both Ema’s drawing and the evidence list itself by tearing it in half. The half that showed a depiction of Neil Marshall holding a knife above Joe Darke (which, at the time, Ema believed to be the other way around) was hidden in Gant's desk drawer, where Wright would later find it. Regardless, the evidence fabricated by Lana Skye and Gant was enough to convict Darke for the murder, and he was 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 his fake set-up of Ema's "murder" 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 due to the bogus evidence Gant and Lana had suddenly produced in court. To keep them from being able to find out the truth, Gant soon fired Starr and demoted Jake Marshall to a patrolman 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. While it was true that Edgeworth had used forged evidence as the presiding prosecutor in the case, he was completely unaware of the scheme Gant and Lana had pulled behind the scenes, and was therefore uninvolved. Through all of this trickery, Gant managed to obtain 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 essentially close the case forever. However, Starr and Jake Marshall still suspected that something had yet to be resolved regarding the trial of Joe Darke. Jake was especially unsatisfied, still grieving his brother's death, and begged Goodman, the only member of the original team still in power, to take action. Goodman accompanied Gant to the evidence room and asked him to reopen the case. Fearing that any more investigation into the murder of Neil Marshall would expose his crimes, Gant fatally stabbed Goodman with Darke's switchblade knife to silence him for good. He then busted the lock on Edgeworth's car trunk and stashed the body inside. With the body hidden, he ordered Edgeworth to move a piece of evidence from an old case to the prosecutor's office, where Lana Skye was waiting to dispose of the body as per Gant's orders. Upon seeing Darke's knife in the victim's body, however, Lana decided to stab Goodman with a knife she found in Edgeworth's trunk, so as not to bring any more attention to the SL-9 Incident. However, Starr, who was at the prosecutor's office visiting one of her boyfriends, caught Lana in the act of stabbing the corpse, and Lana was arrested for the murder of Bruce Goodman.

Wright took on Lana's case despite her intention to confess to the crime. Upon discovering all of the pieces of evidence, both from Lana's trial and from the murder of Neil Marshall two years prior, 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 cases were finally solved for good.