Monday, Jan. 2, 2023–10:31 a.m.
David Crowder, WRGA News — Rome News-Tribune
A bond hearing is scheduled for Tuesday for Joey Watkins, whose Floyd County murder conviction was vacated last month, granting him a new trial.
The state had appealed an April ruling by a Walker County judge overturning the conviction. However, in December, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously affirmed habeas relief for Watkins.
You can read that ruling here.
According to a previous story by the Rome News-Tribune, Walker County Superior Court Judge Don Thompson cited several reasons in his order, including a violation of Watkins’ sixth amendment rights to confront witnesses against him, in this instance, a juror in his own trial. The question of juror misconduct came forward in 2016 and had to do with a juror conducting a driving experiment to test cell phone location evidence. That experiment played a role, at least partially, in the juror’s decision to convict Watkins.
Watkins was found guilty in 2001 in the shooting death of Isaac Dawkins near what is now Georgia Highlands College. A co-defendant was acquitted on all charges.
In 2017 the Georgia Innocence Project got involved in the case, filing a civil petition, known as habeas corpus, to have his conviction overturned.
Tuesday’s bond hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Floyd Superior Court.