January 18, 2022

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Only The Finest Women

A 74-year-old woman spent 27 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit. This week she was exonerated

A 74-year-old woman spent 27 years in prison for a murder she didn't commit. This week she was exonerated

On June 26, 1987, Joyce Watkins, now 74, and her boyfriend at the time, Charlie Dunn, went to decide up Watkins four-year-previous great-niece, Brandi, in Kentucky, according to a report submitted with the Davidson County Criminal Court.

The upcoming morning Brandi was unresponsive, so Watkins took her to Nashville Memorial Clinic.

Brandi experienced from critical vaginal damage and head trauma. She was pronounced lifeless the following day, the report stated. The two were with Brandi for only nine several hours, but the health care examiner, Dr. Gretel Harlan, concluded the accidents ended up sustained during that time.

A year afterwards, in August 1988, Watkins and Dunn ended up convicted of initial-degree murder and aggravated rape.

The two put in 27 several years guiding bars just before they ended up both equally granted parole in 2015.

Right before his release, Dunn, sadly, handed away in jail.

Prior to Brandi currently being picked up by the couple, she was living at the household of Rose Williams, Brandi’s terrific-aunt. Brandi’s mother was in Ga at the time.

All over that period, a Kentucky Section of Social Products and services employee frequented the dwelling immediately after receiving a report Brandi had been abused.

Williams described Brandi’s accidents Brandi had been due to a playground mishap, and the investigation was shut.

Clearing her identify

Now 35 a long time afterwards, Watkins has been exonerated following she made it a issue to clear her title.

Dunn was also cleared of the criminal offense and posthumously exonerated.
His daughter, Jackie Dunn, was at the hearing on Wednesday. “I want my daddy was listed here to witness this day,” she said. “He realized he was innocent, he realized he did not commit all those crimes,” Dunn said to CNN affiliate WTVF.
Watkins obtained enable from the Tennessee Innocence Task and the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office environment.

“We got this case mainly because she (Joyce) arrived to us,” Jason Gichner, senior lawful counsel with the Tennessee Innocence Task advised CNN. “She just showed up at the office environment and claimed, ‘Let me inform you my tale. I require your assistance.’ “

The report was submitted on November 10, 2021, inquiring that the pair’s convictions be vacated.
Joyce Watkins spent 27 years in jail and was released on parole in 2015.

The submitting clarified Watkins discovered blood in Brandi’s underwear when they arrived residence, only an hour and a fifty percent just after the couple picked her up, with at the very least an hour of that time spent driving back again to Nashville.

A report from Dr. Shipla Reddy was also integrated in the filing, who explained Dr. Harlan’s “methodology for dating the head personal injury centered on a absence of histiocytic reaction in the brain tissue is not a reputable strategy for dating pediatric head trauma.”

He was wrongly convicted of murder as a teen. After fighting for 26 years, his name has finally been cleared

The ruling noted Harlan conceded the error in her methodology a long time following the demo.

“Joyce Watkins and Charlie Dunn are innocent,” District Lawyer Glenn Funk advised CNN, “We are not able to give Ms. Watkins or Mr. Dunn their misplaced several years but we can restore their dignity we can restore their names. Their innocence needs it.”

In accordance to Sunny Eaton with the District Attorney’s Workplace, Watkins is the first black girl to ever be exonerated in the point out and only the third girl in Tennessee record.

“Skip Watkins, this charge towards you is dismissed,” Davidson County Legal Court docket Judge, Angelita Blackshear Dalton, mentioned Wednesday morning, in accordance to WTVF.

As much as Watkins or Dunn’s spouse and children getting compensated for their squandered time used in jail, Gichner reported he is not sure of what will occur down the street.
In a comment to the media and CNN affiliate WZTV Watkins said, “I thank all the people for their prayers and serving to me get out of this mess which has price tag me 50 percent of my everyday living for nothing, But I will get above it.”