According to the networkCNNIn the news, Watkins took her older niece Brandi with her boyfriend, Charlie Dunn, for 9 hours on June 26, 1987.
But the 4-year-old was injured and her aunt Watkins had to take her to the hospital, where Brandi suffered a severe vaginal injury and head trauma before she died the next day.
The coroner, Gretel Harlan, concluded that Brandi was injured during that time while she was accompanied by her aunt Watkins and her aunt’s friend Dunn.
A year later, in August 1988, Watkins and Dunn were convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated rape, with the two spending 27 years behind bars before being paroled in 2015.
But Dan died in prison before being released, while Watkins was acquitted this week after it emerged Brandi had sustained injuries in a stadium accident.
“We received this case because she (Joyce) came to us. She just came into the office and said she needed help,” Jason Getchner, senior legal counsel with the Tennessee Patent Project, told CNN.
“Joyce Watkins and Charlie Dunn are innocent,” Attorney General Glenn Funk said. “We can’t give Watkins or Dunn their wasted years but we can restore their dignity.”
“I thank all the people for their prayers and help me get out of this mess that cost me half my life without doing anything, but I’m going to get through it,” Watkins said.
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