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, 74, and her boyfriend at the time, Charlie Dunn, went to pick up Watkins’ four-year-old niece, Brandy, in Kentucky, according to a report filed with Davidson County. Criminal Court.

The next morning, Brandi was unresponsive, so Watkins took her to Nashville Memorial Hospital.

Brandy suffered a severe vaginal injury and head trauma. The report stated that she was declared dead the next day. The two were with Brandy for only nine hours, but the coroner, Dr. Gretel Harlan, concluded that 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 being paroled in 2015.

Before his release, Dunn, unfortunately, died in prison.

Before the couple picked up Brandy, she was living in the home of Rose Williams, Brandy’s great-aunt. Brandy’s mother was in Georgia at the time.

During that time, a Kentucky Department of Social Services worker visited the house after receiving a report that Brandy had been abused.

Williams explained that Brandy’s injuries were due to an accident on the court, and the investigation was closed.

erase her name

Now 35 years later, Watkins has been acquitted after she made a point to clear her name.

Dan was also acquitted of the crime and was posthumously acquitted.
His daughter, Jackie Dunn, was at the hearing on Wednesday. “I wish my father was here to witness this day,” she said. “He knew he was innocent, and he knew he didn’t commit those crimes,” Dunn told CNN affiliate WTVF.
Watkins had assistance from the Tennessee Innocence Project and the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office.

“We received this case because she (Joyce) came to us,” Jason Getchner, senior legal counsel with the Tennessee Patent Project, told CNN. “She just came into the office and said, ‘Let me tell you my story. I need your help. “”

The report was submitted on November 10, 2021, calling for the couple’s convictions to be overturned.
Joyce Watkins spent 27 years in prison and was released on parole in 2015.

The filing explained that Watkins noticed blood in Brandy’s underwear when they got home, just an hour and a half after she picked up the couple, with at least an hour of that time spent driving back to Nashville.

A report from Dr.

Wrongly convicted of murder as a teenager. After fighting for 26 years, his name was finally cleared

The ruling noted that Harlan had admitted her methodological error after years of trial.

Prosecutor Glenn Funk told CNN: “Joyce Watkins and Charlie Dunn are innocent. We can’t give Mrs. Watkins or Mr. Dunn their wasted years but we can get their dignity back; we can get their names back. Their innocence demands it.”

According to Sunny Eaton of the county attorney’s office, Watkins is the first black woman to be acquitted in the state and the third woman in Tennessee history.

“Miss Watkins, this charge against you has been dropped,” Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton said Wednesday morning, according to WTVF.

As far as Watkins or the Dunn family getting compensation for lost time in prison, Getchner said he’s not sure what will happen in the future.
Commenting to the media and CNN affiliate WZTV Watkins, he said, “I thank all the people for their prayers and help me get out of this mess that has cost me half my life for nothing, but I will get through.”


Leave a Comment