Wrongfully convicted man walks free after more than two decades as podcast sheds light on his murder case

A Georgia man who was wrongly convicted of murder in 2001 walked free last week, and a podcast is credited with helping draw attention to his case.

“All this weight has been lifted,” Joey Watkins said in a Sept. 22 statement. “I can’t even begin to express what I feel right now. I’m finally an adult. I am free.”

Watkins was initially accused of fatally shooting Isaac Dawkins, 21, while he was driving on a highway in Rome, Georgia, on Jan. 11, 2000, a year after the incident occurred.

Prosecutors named Watkins as the alleged driver of a small blue car that was involved in the shooting.

He was sentenced to life in prison despite having an alibi that his defense team confirmed through phone records and records from multiple people, according to the Georgia Innocence Project (GIP), which advocates for the wrongfully convicted.

Mark Free, the alleged shooter in Dawkins’ death and a passenger in the small blue car, was tried separately and acquitted of all charges, according to GIP.

Watkins maintained his innocence for more than 22 years, and in April 2022, Walker County Superior Court Judge Don Thompson vacated his conviction and therefore granted Watkins a new trial.

“All this weight has been lifted,” Joey Watkins said in a Sept. 22 statement. “I can’t even begin to express what I feel right now. I’m finally an adult. I am free.”Georgia Innocence ProjectWatkins maintained his innocence for more than 22 years, and in April 2022, Walker County Superior Court Judge Don Thompson overturned his conviction, granting Watkins a new trial.Georgia Innocence Project

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The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upheld Thompson’s ruling in December 2022, and Watkins was released on bond in January 2023.

He was officially exonerated on September 21 after the Floyd County district attorney decided not to file further charges against him.

“There are no words to describe how grateful I am,” Watkins said.

Watkins received national support after his case was featured on the “Undisclosed” podcast, according to the GIP.

He was officially exonerated on September 21 after the Floyd County district attorney decided not to file further charges against him. Georgia Innocence Project Mark Free, the alleged shooter in Dawkins’ death and a passenger in the small blue car, was tried separately and acquitted on all charges, according to undisclosed GIP.Podcast

“We are thrilled that Joey was exonerated, but his conviction should never have happened in the first place,” “Undisclosed” host Susan Simpson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Evidence proving his innocence was available to prosecutors even before his arrest, but it was ignored and it took 22 years for Joey to finally regain his freedom.”

The podcast “investigates wrongful convictions and the United States criminal justice system, taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial and the final verdict… and finding new evidence that never made it to court” , according to the “Undisclosed” website.

“We are very grateful, not only to our incredible co-counsels Ben Goldberg, Noah Pines and Meagan Hurley, but also that the prosecutor exercised her discretion to achieve justice in this case and right the wrong of Joey’s 22 years of wrongful imprisonment. . “GIP lead attorney Christina Cribbs said in a Sept. 22 statement.

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The podcast “investigates wrongful convictions and the United States criminal justice system, taking a closer look at the perpetration of a crime, its investigation, the trial and the final verdict… and finding new evidence that never made it to court.” “Evidence proving his innocence was available to prosecutors even before his arrest, but that evidence was ignored and it took 22 years for Joey to finally regain his freedom.” Undisclosed Podcast Georgia is one of 12 states that does not offer financial compensation to the wrongfully convicted, according to a GoFundMe page for Watkins titled “Joey Watkins – Exonerated and Free After 22 Years.”

Georgia is one of 12 states that does not offer financial compensation to those wrongfully convicted, according to a GoFundMe page for Watkins titled “Joey Watkins – Exonerated and Free After 22 Years.”

Since his release earlier this year, Watkins has spent time at home with his family and working at his family’s used car business, Watkins Auto, according to GoFundMe.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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