In 1986, Joe Bryan was first convicted of his wife’s murder. But he always maintained that he didn’t kill her and that he was more than 100 miles away in a different city when it occurred. Over the years, the forensic testimony used to convict Joe has been thoroughly questioned.
Through Joe’s decades of incarceration, his family was a constant source of support for him, believing in Joe’s innocence and fighting for his exoneration. In the latest episode of ABC’s ’20/20,’ the viewers learn more about Joe’s story and how his family has been there for him. So, if you’re curious to know more about them, here’s what we know!
Who is Joe Bryan’s Family?
In October 1985, Mickey Bryan’s murder turned Joe’s world upside down. After his wife was killed in their home, Joe lived with his mother, Thelma, in Elm Mott, Texas. Joe had an older brother, James, and a twin brother, Jerry. When new blood-spatter evidence came to the fore, Joe was arrested for the murder, and in 1986, primarily based on expert testimony regarding the same, he was convicted.
But there was hope when Joe’s conviction was overturned on appeal, leading to a re-trial. However, Joe was found guilty for a second time and sent to prison to serve 99 years. During his time inside, he kept in touch with his mother and James but didn’t talk a lot about his life on the inside. His twin brother, Jerry, had also distanced himself once the first trial ended in Joe’s conviction.
Over the years, James, his wife Joretta, and their children Becky, Debbie, Cindy, and Cathy have been instrumental in keeping Joe’s story in the limelight. They all believed that Joe was innocent. They visited him about every six weeks and talked to him over the phone regularly. Before Joe’s eventual release on parole, James had promised to take him in once he was free, with Joe saying, “I am fortunate to have a place to go to.” In 2018, family and friends also turned up to show support when Joe’s lawyers appealed for a new trial. While that was ultimately denied, good news came about two years later when Joe’s parole was approved.
Where is Joe Bryan’s Family Now?
Upon Joe’s release in March 2020, his family and supporters were there to greet him. James kept his promise, and Joe moved in with him and Joretta in Houston, Texas. They seem to be spending a lot of time together. However, the family still believed that Dennis Dunlap, someone the police believed killed a teenager about four months before Mickey’s murder, was also responsible for Mickey’s death.
Cindy said, “I believe that if the Clifton Police Department and the Texas Rangers, along with the justice system, would have arrested Dennis Dunlap for the murder of Judy Whitley, Mickey would still be alive today; and my uncle obviously would not be in jail.” James and Joretta’s children also seem to live in various parts of Texas with families of their own.
Read More: How Did Mickey Bryan Die?