Georgia’s high court recently ruled that a Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit judge erred in dismissing a civil petition filled by Joey Watkins, who was convicted of murdering a Rome man back in 2000, and will not have an opportunity to present his argument to a judge.
Watkins was convicted in 2001 for the murder of Isaac Dawkins in southern Floyd County.
The decision says that Watkins’ allegations that the state failed to disclose exculpatory evidence in its files is a “significant factor.” The habeas corpus petition, which was filed in 2017, was originally dismissed in Walker County.
In the trial, evidence indicated Watkins’ cellphone was used to show his whereabouts at the time of the murder.
One part of the petition focuses on the actions of a juror who later admitted that during the trial she did her own tests by driving around the area of the crime despite instructions from the court not to, which influenced her decision.
The Watkins case has been the subject of the Undisclosed audio podcast series, which attempts to find new witnesses and evidence to help people believed to have been wrongly convicted. Click to read the Georgia Innocence Project Report https://www.georgiainnocenceproject.org/cases/active-cases/joey-watkins/
A second part of the petition argues that the state withheld evidence concerning a dog found near Dawkins’ grave close to two months after his death. Records showed that the bullet in the dog was not the same type that killed Dawkins.