After 27 years with wrong man behind bars, cops have four new murder suspects
Officials say William Dillon, who was in jail for murder for 27 years, did not commit the crime. They now have four new suspects.
June 21st, 2011
09:22 AM ET

After 27 years with wrong man behind bars, cops have four new murder suspects

After an 18 month investigation the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in Florida announced it has solved a murder case in which a man was wrongly imprisoned for nearly three decades.

James Dvorak was found dead more than 30 years ago on Cordova Beach in Central Florida. For 27 of those years William Dillon maintained his innocence as he sat behind bars doing time for Dvorak's murder.

"Based on the information we have, the DNA evidence, some witness statements and some other information all appearances are [Dillon] was not involved in the beating death of Mr. Dvorak," Brevard County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Lt. Todd Goodyear said.

The DNA testing of evidence that helped gain Dillon's release from prison in 2008 also helped lead the sheriff's office to four new suspects. The suspects have not been charged but the case has been handed over to the prosecutor’s office.

"It's a little bit different to put your suspects out before you arrest them," Goodyear said.

He says with the focus off of Dillon the sheriff's office hopes to find more witnesses to "fill in some of the blanks."

Although Dillon says he is "extremely glad" that the sheriff's office found out who committed the crime, he still has a heavy heart.

"It hurts me down deep in my soul," Dillon said, "because I have been dealing with this for 30 years."

Man spends 27 years wrongly imprisoned writing songs

Goodyear says over those 30 years investigative tools have changed.

"We have the advantage of one thing they didn't," Goodyear said. "Science. And that has been very helpful in this."

As the sheriff's office continues to investigate those they say are responsible for Dvorak's death, the man who was originally convicted of the crime is still trying to rebuild his life.

Dillon plans to do this by using the songs he wrote while wrongly incarcerated. On August 16 Dillon's CD "Black Robes and Lawyers" will be released.

The title song starts off with Dillon saying, "I was arrested for murder on August 26, 1981, for a crime I didn't commit."

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Filed under: Crime • Justice
soundoff (370 Responses)
  1. Jacquie

    Nancy Grace is a pig and I can't stand her show. She makes me sick.
    I hope this guys sues the hell out of the county, state and gets a little pay back, but it will NEVER give him back the years that town took away from him. I hope he can make it on the outside. Good Luck Guy

    July 1, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cynthia

      Nancy Grace would have had him tried and convicted within one hour of his being questioned. She would continue to maintain his guilt, because Nancy NEVER makes mistrakes. She would be rude and impatient with anyone who disagreed with her. 'I am Nancy Grace AND I will tell you how to think.'

      July 5, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jules

    It would be much more informative if the article gave more facts. The guy is probably innocent but it would be nice to get some facts about the case to see how this mess occurred. Was he convicted on things like eye-witness accounts which are very unreliable, was he there but didn't participate in the beating and may have even tried to stop it? Was he anywhere near the crime at all? Why did the police pick on him to build a case against? This would make the article a lot more complete in my opinion.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • profbam

      Looked up the answer to your question. Typical of these cases.

      A guy in a pickup gave a ride to a hitch hiker, described as 6' with a mustache, who left behind a bloody shirt that was thrown in a trash bin. Saw a news report and called police who recovered the shirt. Several days later, Dillon was among many people wandering around the area and when questioned seemed to know about the murder (but nothing more than the news). A scent dog linked the shirt to the body and to Dillon–according to the handler. A flaky girl friend said that Dillon had worn the shirt (later recanted and said she was threatened with 25 years in prison). The truck driver ID'd Dillon, who is 6'4" and no mustache, and a jail house snitch who had the wrong location and time line. Together, enough to put Dillon in prison. Same legal system that found Anthony not guilty.

      July 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bert

    He should have been executed 27 years ago before we wasted all that money! Oh! Sorry! I thought I was in Texas. **end sarcasm**

    NOW can you understand why the death penalty needs to be done away with?

    July 12, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • scruffyduffy

      i'm with you. i'm anti death penalty for this exact reason. i know that doesn't sit well with a lot of people but i'm with gandhi on "an eye for an eye makes the world blind". i would rather see someone locked up (and i don't care about my taxes paying for them). i don't believe i have the right to decide someone's fate...regardless if they did that to someone else. i don't believe that choice is mine and would never want to be the one to make that choice. (i also am a vegan ... not a hippie, i swear ... and feel the same way about animals and bugs ... that i have no right to their fate. : / )

      July 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Carlos

    This was my face when I heard he was set free = ) then I heard he use to beat up gay men and rob them this is my face now = / . . How much time do you for for a hate crime and robbery? The problem is not that he went to jail but he served for the wrong crime

    February 25, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
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