Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023–12:28 p.m.
David Crowder, WRGA News
Bond has been set at $75,000 for a Floyd County man who was recently granted a new trial in connection with a murder that occurred nearly 23 years ago.
Joey Watkins was back in Floyd Superior Court Tuesday for the bond hearing.
Watkins was convicted in the shooting death of Isaac Dawkins that occurred in January of 2000 on Highway 27 South. First responders initially thought they were responding to a wreck, but it was later discovered that Dawkins had died from a gunshot wound to the head. A co-defendant in the case was acquitted.
Several appeals by Watkins failed before his case was taken up by the Georgia Innocence Project, which filed a habeas petition in 2017 arguing that Watkins should be released from prison because of newly discovered evidence of juror misconduct and the state’s concealment of exculpatory evidence during the 2001 trial.
In April, a Walker County Superior Court judge issued an order that vacated the conviction. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed that order in December, citing a violation of Watkins’ sixth amendment rights to confront witnesses against him, specifically, a juror in the original trial who conducted their own experiment to test cell phone location evidence.
As part of the bond set by Floyd County Superior Court Judge Bryan Johnson, Watkins must wear an ankle bracelet and he must reside with his parents in Floyd County. He will also be prohibited from leaving the state as he awaits a new trial. Watkins is also barred from having contact with adversarial witnesses and the Dawkins family.