‘Reasonable Doubt: The Truck Driver’s Wife’, Investigation Discovery’s documentary on Joseph Perry Mikell (a truck driver) convicted of his wife’s murder has everyone latched onto itself to find the actual truth. Hosted by Chris Anderson (a retired homicide detective) and Fatima Silva (a criminal defense attorney), the story takes the viewers deep into the fascinating yet horrid murder of Barbara Sue Mikell. The latter was found dead in a motel in Lithonia, Georgia by a gunshot. Barbara’s husband was later put on trial and sentenced after being found guilty of his wife’s murder. However, his family and friends still have some doubts about his conviction. To know more about the case, let us dive deep into the details further in the article.
The Death of Barbara Sue Mikell
Joseph Perry Mikell and Barbara Sue Mikell were married to each other and lived in Butts County. Barbara was aged 45 during the time of her death. In 1998, on the day of her homicide, Barbara was in Atlanta when she had an argument over the phone with her husband. Consequently, Joseph Perry turned down their lunch plans and bailed out. Later on, during her way back home, at around 2:17 pm, she had a word with him again before checking into a motel near I-20 and Evans Mill Road in DeKalb County. This was approximately 35 miles away from their home. Later on, police found out that Barbara and Joseph had previously met each other in the same motel before their marriage.
Barbara had paid for the motel from her joint credit card with Joseph. Later that day, her husband did not answer any of the calls. On the very next morning, at approximately 11:00 am, a hotel employee found Barbara’s dead body lying in her undergarments and shorts. She had a pillow over her head but there was no sign of any forced entry or sexual activity. Her keys, purse, cell phone, pager, and glasses were still present in the room. So, it was clear that the murderer had no intention of theft. Later on, the autopsy report revealed that the killer had shot her three times in the head while lying or sitting on the bed judging on the basis of the position she was discovered in. However, to everyone’s shock, a murder weapon was never found.
The police arrest, charged and convicted Joseph Perry Mikell, the husband of Barbara Sue Mikell for her murder. The crime department suspected him as he had admitted to them about himself being a serial cheater. However, the major factors leading to his conviction were his reaction to the death of his wife. He showed no signs of sadness or trauma even after her death as he moved in with another woman just a few days after the murder. Apart from this, there were also a few eyewitnesses. The people present at the motel said that they had seen a lowboy truck with the ER Snell Logo in the parking basement. This was similar to the one that Joseph drove or worked with.
As a result, the court decided to sentence Joseph Perry Mikell to a lifetime of prison. But, his defense presented with an alibi that he was working all day and couldn’t have been in the motel at the time of his wife’s death. Joseph admitted to speaking to Barbara at 2:17 pm. However, he stated that he had worked by himself later all day and didn’t get any phone calls. Besides this, he said that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of the crime. At that time, he was busy moving equipment from a subdivision 2 miles off of I-20 in DeKalb County.
On the basis of this information, Joseph’s sister Lydia also said that her brother wasn’t guilty and was wrongfully framed for a crime that he didn’t even commit. The other members of his family went on to say that there were blood and cigarette butts at the crime scene which was never examined. This evidence could have easily been used to prove Joseph’s innocence. Moreover, the bullets used for Barbara’s homicide did not match the guns owned by Joseph. However, it didn’t matter as the court had already given its decision. Joesph Perry Mikell was proven guilty of the murder of his wife.
Where is Joseph Perry Mikell currently and is he still serving?
After the police arrested and convicted him, Joseph Perry Mikell challenged his sentence. He claimed that he was not guilty despite all the evidence police had shown. As a result, he went on to fight for his freedom against the state. However, the Supreme Court of Georgia upheld his sentence in 2001. Consequently, he is currently serving his life sentence at the Central State Prison (Georgia). There is an entire episode formatted documentary on this case. Its name is “Reasonable Doubt: The Turck Driver’s Wife” which was aired on 11 July 2018 on Investigation Discovery.