DNA Testing Demonstrates William Dillon is Innocent

Alejandra de la Fuente — July 28, 2008 @ 9:00 AM — Comments (0)

DNA Testing Demonstrates William Dillon is Innocent
Dillon has Served Nearly 27 Years for a Murder he Did Not Commit; Attorneys Call for Immediate Release

Tallahassee, Florida—On Monday, July 28, 2008, Orchid Cellmark, a nationally recognized forensic laboratory in Farmers Branch, Texas, issued a report in the case of State of Florida v. William Dillon, which demonstrates Dillon’s actual innocence of the 1981 murder of James Dvorak in Canova Beach, Brevard County, Florida.

The court-ordered testing on DNA from the bloody yellow t-shirt worn by the murderer excludes William Dillon, confirming that someone other than Dillon murdered Dvorak. “After nearly 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, the State should do the right thing and release this innocent man immediately,” said Dillon’s attorney, Mike Pirolo, Assistant Public Defender from the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.

“This case has all of the hallmarks of a wrongful conviction,” said Seth Miller, Executive Director of the Innocence Project of Florida, Inc.  The State’s evidence included subsequently recanted testimony of a star witness who was both threatened by and having sexual relations with one of the State’s lead investigators; a mistaken eyewitness identification by a man legally blind in one eye; fraudulent scientific testimony of a dog handler who purported to link Dillon to the crime; and testimony of a jailhouse snitch whose pending rape charge was dismissed after naming Dillon as the murderer.

This case is eerily similar to that of Wilton Dedge, another man convicted in Brevard County and exonerated by DNA testing. In both cases, the State acted recklessly, using shockingly unreliable evidence to obtain and preserve convictions that the evidence clearly did not support.  “With Dedge, the State dragged its feet for years before finally admitting they had the wrong man.  I hope they’ve learned their lesson.  The time to release Dillon is now,” said Miller.

When informed of the results, Dillon said, “It makes me extremely happy that it’s finally coming to an end.  The results prove what I have said all along—I am innocent.”

The Innocence Project of Florida (IPF) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to finding and freeing innocent people in Florida prisons.

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