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One thing I can say for sure, he deserved his sentence.
~ Miles Edgeworth's opinion on Joe Darke.

Joe Darke is a minor antagonist in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, more specifically the posthumous overarching antagonist of the bonus chapter "Rise From the Ashes". He had a small but significant role as the main culprit behind the SL-9 incident.

Joe Darke was a businessman who was responsible for a string of murders that occurred in Los Angeles sometime in 2015. After running over a pedestrian with his car, Darke panicked and murdered a witness on the sidewalk to cover up his tracks. He proceeded to kill another bystander who witnessed his first murder, another who witnessed his second, a child who witnessed his third, and a jogger who stumbled upon him burying the bodies.

While Darke became the prime suspect for the murders, the authorites were unable to obtain decisive evidence that incriminated him, tracking him for half a year until he decided to turn himself in. During an interrogation by Damon Gant and prosecutor Neil Marshall, a blackout occurred which Darke used as his advantage to escape. Being chased by Marshall, Darke fled into Gant's office, where he held a young Ema Skye hostage. During the ensuing struggle between the two men, a blackout occured within the building, and Marshall was able to gain the upper hand against Darke. Unable to see either man's face in the darkness, Ema assumed the man standing over the other was Darke and pushed Marshall to the floor, after which all three fell unconscious.

After Gant arrived at the scene, he killed Marshall by impaling him on the sword held by a suit of armor and framed Ema for the murder in order to blackmail her sister Lana into doing his bidding. Cutting of a piece of cloth from Marshall's jacket as "insurance", Gant then forced Lana to tamper with the scene in order to frame Darke for Marshall's murder. Darke was placed on trial, with Miles Edgeworth replacing Marshall on the prosecutor's bench, and was subsquently declared guilty, being sentenced to death and executed for the one murder he didn't commit. It wasn't until two years later that Phoenix Wright exposed Gant as the real killer.

Trivia

  • Joe Darke is indirectly responsible for the death of Bruce Goodman as well as inadvertently being the catalyst for the events that would lead to Damon Gant, Jake Marshall, and Lana Skye's arrests.
  • He is also the only Ace Attorney villain to have murdered a minor (the victim being a young boy who happened to witness Darke killing his third murder).
  • Joe Darke is only seen in grayscale. His face in his court record profile is obscured in shadow.

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           Ace Attorney Logo.png Villains

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
Manfred Von Karma | Frank Sahwit | April May | Redd White | Jack Hammer | Wendy Oldbag | Dee Vasquez | Sal Manella | Yanni Yogi | Joe Darke | Lana Skye | Damon Gant

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All
Richard Wellington | Morgan Fey | Mimi Miney | Turner Grey | Acro | Juan Corrida | Shelly de Killer | Matt Engarde

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
Dahlia Hawthorne | Kane Bullard | Luke Atmey | Furio Tigre | Ron DeLite | Viola Cadaverini | Bruto Cadaverini | Glen Elg | Jean Armstrong | Terry Fawles

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
Kristoph Gavin | Zak Gramarye | Olga Orly | Pal Meraktis | Wocky Kitaki | Alita Tiala | Machi Tobaye | Daryan Crescend | Drew Misham | Valant Gramarye | Magnifi Gramarye

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Quercus Alba | Cohadopian Smuggling ring | Jacques Portsman | Cammy Meele | Lance Amano | Lauren Paups | Ernest Amano | Mack Rell | Calisto Yew | Manny Coachen | Ka-Shi Nou

Gyakuten Kenji 2/Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Prosecutor's Path
Blaise Debeste | Simon Keyes | Zheng Fa's usurpers | Horace Knightley | Patricia Roland | Jay Elbird | Rip Lacer | Sirhan Dogen | Dane Gustavia | Pierre Hoquet | Katherine Hall | "Di-Jun Huang"

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
The Phantom | Ted Tonate | Florent L'Belle | Phineas Filch | Marlon Rimes | Aristotle Means | Aura Blackquill

Professor Layton Vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
High Inquisitor Darklaw | Story Teller | Kira | Robbs and Muggs | Olivia Aldente

The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures
Jezaille Brett | John Wilson | Magnus McGilded | Joan Garrideb | Nash and Ringo Skulkin | Ashley Graydon | Tobias Gregson

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in | Gaspen Payne | Paht Rohl | Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin | Roger Retinz | Rheel Neh'mu | Tahrust Inmee | Geiru Toneido | Paul Atishon | Inga Karkhuul Khura'in | Dumas Gloomsbury | Pierce Nichody

The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve
Mael Stronghart | The Professor conspirators | Raiten Menimemo | William Shamspeare | Selden | Olive Green | Odie Asman | Courtney Sithe | Enoch Drebber | The Red-Headed league | Klint van Zieks | Genshin Asogi | Seishiro Jigoku

Manga
Belle Windsor | Brock Johnson | Raymond Spume | Moira Cytherea | Risa Iko | Princess Tengu | Witch girl | Byran | Chancey Laboni | Randolph Miller | Amadeus Seal | Handsome gentlemen thieves | Sergio Youngport | Ava Sylent | Clive Fortuna | Chase Clink | Robin Wolfe | Buck Wheatley | Vale Wheatley | Milo "Fairplay" Kent | Hayden Maxwell | Holland | Hobart Tarkington | Yardley Kidman | Samuel Sylent | Marco Swindell

Anime Exclusive
Gale Gaelic | Tristan Turnbull | Goldy Gerwitz | Rick Steam

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