Judge: Watkins entitled to new trial for 2000 murder

April 12, 2022–9:03 a.m.

STAFF REPORTS

A judge has ruled that a man convicted in a murder in Floyd County 21 years ago is entitled to a new trial.

Following evidentiary hearings on February 28, March 1, and March 25, Walker County Superior Court Judge Don Thompson granted the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Joey Watkins, who was convicted in July of 2001 in the shooting death of Isaac Dawkins in January of 2020.

Dawkins was shot as he driving on Highway 27 South after leaving class at Floyd College.

Watkins was sentenced to life plus six years.

His case was taken up by the3 Georgia Innocence Project in 2017.

According to the order issued Monday by Judge Thompson, Watkins’ due process rights and rights to confront witnesses were violated when a juror conducted an unauthorized drive test and reported her results to other jurors, prosecutors failed to correct false or misleading testimony, and the prosecutors failed to disclose evidence.

Watkins remains behind bars for now as the state has to decide whether or not to appeal.

You can read the order HERE.

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