|“||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.
- 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.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Gyakuten Kenji 2/Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth: Prosecutor's Path
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice
The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve