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Joyce Watkins, a 74-year-old Tennessee woman who was wrongfully convicted of murdering her great-niece has been exonerated after spending 27 long years behind bars.
Watkins, and her boyfriend at the time, Charlie Dunn were convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated rape after Joyce’s niece reportedly passed away under their care. A report filed with the Davidson County Criminal Court states Watkins picked up her four-year-old great-niece, Brandi, on June 26, 1987.
According to the report, Watkins found Brandi unresponsive the next morning and rushed her to Nashville Memorial Hospital. Brandi reportedly suffered from severe vaginal injury and—click the link in our bio to read more!
The methodology used to date the time of the head injury Brandi sustained in 1987 “is not a legitimate method for dating pediatric head trauma,” Reddy’s report said, according to CNN.
“Joyce Watkins and Charlie Dunn are innocent,” District Attorney Glenn Funk told CNN, “We cannot give Ms. Watkins or Mr. Dunn their lost years but we can restore their dignity; we can restore their names. Their innocence demands it.”
Watkins and Dunn had spent 27 years in prison before they received parole in 2015. Dunn died just ahead of his release, according to CNN. Dunn was also posthumously exonerated.
“I wish my daddy was here to witness this day,” Dunn’s daughter, Jackie, told CNN affiliate WTVF on Wednesday. “He knew he was innocent, he knew he did not commit those crimes.”