TALLAHASSEE — William Dillon didn’t believe the day would come when he would be compensated for sitting in a Florida prison nearly three decades for a crime he didn’t commit. But on Thursday lawmakers approved a $1.35 million payout that was immediately signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.
Now 52, Dillon was cleared by DNA testing in the beating death of James Dvorak on a Brevard County beach in 1981. A jailhouse informant also has since recanted his testimony against Dillon and authorities reopened the murder investigation. Dillon was freed in November 2008.
The Senate voted 38-1 Thursday to compensate Dillon for spending 27 years in prison. The House passed it on a 107-5 vote last week.
Scott apologized to Dillon on behalf of the state for the wrongful conviction. “It’s a real honor to be the governor who is signing this bill,” said Scott, who shook Dillon’s hand and wished him well.
Dillon, now lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he writes and performs music. “It doesn’t give me back what was taken from me, but at the same time it’s such a joy to be here because my life was gone,” Dillon said. “I can’t do anything but look forward
- House approves claims bill compensating William Dillon for 27 years behind bars (tampabay.com)
- House passes bill compensating William Dillon for 27 years in prison (miamiherald.typepad.com)