After the efforts to get Adnan a new trial came to fruition, the Undisclosed team decided to run a second season and help another innocent person get out of jail. Rabia, Susan and Colin went through a stack of submissions and chose this case because it was so obvious that the protagonist had been railroaded by a series of unfortunate events and chain of custody issues. Joey Watkins was accused and convicted in the murder of Isaac Dawkins, a 21 year old Floyd College student who had history with him. Set in Rome, GA, the case has a lot of similarities with Adnan’s: cellphone records, defendant’s age, motive (jealousy over an ex) and a murder with no eyewitnesses nor well handled evidence. It almost seems 1999-2000 was a bad epoch for eliminating suspects via cell phone records and/or for finding unimpeachable witnesses. This story has its share of drama and inconsistency, enough to have you cringing and mad at the circumstances.
Joey Hawkins had a temper. For a 19 year old, he had a lot of millage when it came to fighting people over anything, with a penchant for confronting his ex BriAnne’s new boy toys. No one understood his obsession with this girl who had an ability to bring out his jealous rage. Eventually he got over her and moved on to date Aslyn Hoag who validated his alibi and vehicle on the night of the murder. Since Jan 11 2000, many of the players in this mess have recanted, moved away, died or remained adamant about what they speculated happened or saw that night. Joey was not responsible and those who knew him weaved a web of deceit and lies so grand he got caught in it. His peers couldn’t find reasonable doubt even though the plot holes can be seen a mile away. Sensationalism took a hold of this town and made it nearly impossible for him to find justice.
The investigative team had to make charts to keep track of who dated whom and who was related to such and such! Wow! Conflict of interest, anyone?
Between the 20k reward offered for information, the lack of evidence and the hearsay, this case falls apart for anyone who hears the logic behind the claims made by the Georgia Innocence Project’s advocates and the analysis provided by the Undisclosed team. Claire, from GIP, leaves no stone unturned to find a way to get Joey a chance at redemption after 16 years behind bars. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be for Joey. Not to mention how hard it is for Mark Free, the alleged accomplice, who was acquited of all conspiracy and murder charges after Joey had been found guilty. 😦
At 26 episodes, 20+addendums and bonus features, this second season does an excellent job at conveying the story. Whether this case has a good resolution or not, the arguments are as compelling and thorough as those given during Adnan’s podcast. Jon Cryer hosts the addendums, adding a degree of importance and gravitas to this small yet herculean effort. Take the time to read and see the extra materials and photos attached to the narrative. For those who like true crime, this serial will enthrall and entertain you for hours. Don’t forget to donate so they can continue their work and to check out Season 3.