An unlikely affair. The facts date back to 1987 when Joyce Watkins and her companion, Charlie Dunn, drove their 4-year-old niece to a Nashville hospital. Both had picked her up unconscious from other relatives’ homes and she died the next day. As People reported on Tuesday, February 1, an investigation was opened and doctors discovered “serious injuries to the vagina as well as traces of injuries to the head”. If Joyce Watkins and Charlie Dunn were condemned, it is because of a medical examiner who testified and affirmed that these injuries had occurred “in the nine hours during which the small victim was with the couple”. Thus, they were convicted in 1988 and each received a life sentence for murder as well as a 60-year sentence for aggravated rape. However, the couple never ceased to proclaim their innocence but it was not heard until 2015. Charlie Dunn died in prison while Joyce Watkins, for her part, obtained her parole. The beginning for her of a long fight to prove her innocence.
She never let go. As soon as she was released from prison, Joyce Watkins took steps and was able to count on the support of Jason Gichner, her lawyer. “From the start, the case made no sense,” he assured in the columns of People. “Joyce and Charlie were in their 40s, had full-time jobs, never had any problems before. And then once you meet Joyce, you definitely understand there’s no way she did that,” he continued. In addition, the lawyer also clarified that the little girl’s family members never believed in their guilt: “She always thought Joyce was innocent,” he said. According to Jason Gichner, the jurors had “their hands tied. They heard from an expert doctor that the injuries date back to when she was with Joyce and Charlie. And that alone was bullshit. “, he lamented. In addition, the defendant appealed to the Tennessee Innocence Project which, during the investigation, discovered that the house “where the girl was before meeting the couple had been the subject of allegations of abuse”. However, social service workers “accepted the explanation that the physical injuries were playground injuries,” it read. A revelation that was enough to close the investigation.
Joyce Watkins cleared: how did she react?
Finally exonerated, Joyce Watkins quickly reacted: “I’m just happy to get out of all this, because it cost me half my life, for nothing,” she said before adding: ” But I’m going to get through this. I thank God for letting me do it.” For her part, the daughter of Jackie Dunn, who died in prison, spoke following her father’s exoneration: “I would have liked my father to be there to attend this day. He knew he was innocent. , he knew he had not committed these crimes,” she concluded.
Joyce Watkins © Pixabay