After 27 Years in Prison, Man Receives Full Pardon From Governor

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Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is wiping away a drug conviction of a man who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.

Gov. Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet on Thursday gave a full pardon to William Dillon. Dillon was charged with drug possession back in 1979.

He was later arrested for the 1981 beating death of James Dvorak on a Brevard County beach. But DNA evidence showed he did not commit the crime and Dillon was freed from prison in November 2008.

This past year the Florida Legislature approved paying Dillon $1.35 million in compensation.

Dillon now lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., and has recently released a CD about his experiences in the justice system. Dillon, however, said he plans to move back to Florida.

Tallahassee, FL - Governor Rick Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet have given a full pardon to William Dillon.

In 1981, Dillon was a talented 21-year-old ballplayer who caught the eye of scouts from the Detroit Tigers. Then, days before he was supposed to try out as a pitching prospect, Dillon was arrested for the 1981 beating death of James Dvorak on a Brevard County beach.

William was convicted based almost solely on the fact that a tracking dog had allegedly picked up his scent on the victim.

His brother Joe Dillon spent years working to clear his name. While William was in jail, Joe became a police officer. Joe started digging through the evidence in the case, discovering that much of it didn't add up.

DNA tests on clothes worn by the actual murderer would eventually clear Dillon in 2008, but not before he paid for another man's crime.

For 27 years, William Dillon proclaimed his innocence while stuck behind bars. With advancements in DNA technology, William was finally cleared of any involvement with the murder.

William Michael Dillon was exonerated on December 10, 2008 and received compensation from the Florida Legislature during the 2012 regular legislative session.

Since being freed, Dillon has launched a singing career, even singing at a Tampa Bay Rays game over the summer.

Dillon discussed the unfinished work of the FL Innocence Commission after receiving the Governor's pardon.

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