Associated Press

Fla. man convicted of murder 27 years ago gets out
November 18, 2008

VIERA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who spent 27 years behind bars for murder left prison for the first time on Tuesday to await a new trial granted after DNA evidence called his conviction into question.

William Dillon, 49, was let out on $100,000 bond in advance of his Jan. 7 retrial, which his supporters hope will turn out differently.

"I don't see how they could re-try this case," said Melissa Montle, an attorney with the Innocence Project of Florida, which paid for the DNA testing and drafted pleadings in the case. "All they have is a fraud, an admitted perjurer, a snitch, and a half-blind eyewitness."

Dillon was convicted in the 1981 bludgeoning death of James Dvorak at Indian Harbor Beach, a killing police described at the time as a robbery gone wrong.

Testing for DNA evidence wasn't available during his original trial. New tests showed Dillon's DNA was not found on a bloodstained yellow T-shirt presented as key evidence during his trial. The victim's blood was on the shirt, along with the DNA of two other people, not Dillon.

Dillon was smiling and surrounded by family and a horde of media after his release. He'll be able to spend his first Thanksgiving at home since going to prison. Under his blazer he wore a black T-shirt with the words "Not Guilty" on it.

"When I first went behind the bars, I couldn't believe that it happened. And then I never thought it was gonna be corrected. But, boy, let me tell you how I feel right now at this moment in my life," he said, stopping frequently to compose himself. "This is something I thought about and dreamed about for years and years and years."


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