The Georgia Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday concerning a Floyd County man’s challenge of his 2001 murder conviction.
Attorneys for Joey Watkins, who was convicted of the murder of Isaac Dawkins, filed a petition to seek a new trial in 2016. In that filing he claims the state withheld evidence and a juror acted inappropriately by conducting an independent investigation at his original trial.
The habeas corpus petition, a civil filing where a person convicted of a crime challenges the legality of their conviction, was dismissed by a Walker County judge. At that point attorneys for the Georgia Innocence Project appealed the decision, which found its way to the Georgia Supreme Court.
The high court originally declined to hear the appeal, but then reversed its position. While oral arguments will be heard this week, a decision isn’t likely until later.
The hearing concerns a case dating back to Jan. 11, 2000. On that date, first responders found Isaac Dawkins shot in the head on U.S. 27 in the area of what was then Floyd College. The bullet had gone through the back window of his Toyota pickup.
Both Watkins and his friend Mark Free were arrested and charged with the killing. Free was tried and found not guilty of all charges. Watkins has maintained his innocence and was the subject of the Undisclosed audio podcast, which attempts to find new witnesses and evidence to help people that producers of the series believe have been wrongly convicted.
Up to this point, Watkins has filed several appeals. He petitioned for his first habeas corpus in 2004. So far, all of Watkins’ attempts to appeal or overturn his conviction through both the Georgia Supreme Court and federal courts have failed.