Who is Joyce Watkins? Joyce Watkins is a Tennessee woman who was wrongfully convicted of murdering her great-niece and spent 27 years in prison. She was exonerated this week.
Joyce Watkins and her boyfriend Charlie Dunn was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated rape of her four-year-old great-niece.
The two spent 27 years behind bars before they were both granted parole in 2015. Before his release, Dunn, unfortunately, passed away in jail.
Joyce Watkins, now 74, has been exonerated after she made it a point to clear her name. Dunn was also cleared of the crime and posthumously exonerated. [Read Also: Who is Winston Glynn? Burger King murder suspect arrested]
What is Joyce Watkins Complete Story?
On June 26, 1987, Joyce Watkins, now 74, and her boyfriend at the time, Charlie Dunn, went to pick up Watkins four-year-old great-niece, Brandi, in Kentucky, according to a report filed with the Davidson County Criminal Court.
The next morning Brandi was unresponsive, so Watkins took her to Nashville Memorial Hospital.
Brandi suffered from severe vaginal injury and head trauma. She was pronounced dead the following day, the report stated. The two were with Brandi for only nine hours, but the medical examiner, Dr. Gretel Harlan, concluded the injuries were sustained during that time.
A year later, in August 1988, Watkins and Dunn were convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated rape. The two spent 27 years behind bars before they were both granted parole in 2015.
Before his release, Dunn, unfortunately, passed away in jail.
Prior to Brandi being picked up by the couple, she was living at the home of Rose Williams, Brandi’s great-aunt. Brandi’s mother was in Georgia at the time.
Throughout that period, a Kentucky Department of Social Services worker visited the home after receiving a report Brandi had been abused.
Williams explained Brandi’s injuries Brandi were due to a playground mishap, and the investigation was closed.
Joyce Watkins Released
Now 35 years later, Watkins has been exonerated after she made it a point to clear her name. Dunn was also cleared of the crime and posthumously exonerated.
His daughter, Jackie Dunn, was at the hearing on Wednesday. “I wish my daddy was here to witness this day,” she said. “He knew he was innocent, he knew he did not commit those crimes,” Dunn said to CNN affiliate WTVF.
Watkins got help from the Tennessee Innocence Project and the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.
“We got this case because she (Joyce) came to us,” Jason Gichner, senior legal counsel with the Tennessee Innocence Project told CNN. “She just showed up at the office and said, ‘Let me tell you my story. I need your help.’ “
The report was filed on November 10, 2021, asking that the pair’s convictions be vacated.