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. Ed Peterson

    numerology for William Dillon:

    June 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy


      June 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • barabbas2010

      skim latte mocha extra-double 'tard

      June 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jackson

    He's due compensation from the State for the error(s) commited that resulted in his false incarceration. I can only imagine the horrors he's had to endure. I hope only the best for Mr. Dillon and will gladly purchase his songs. As a songwriter myself, I'm sure this episode has given Mr. Dillon a wealth of material in which to write about. You can't write about the blues unless you've lived them. In this day and scientific age, no man or woman should ever be incarcerated for a capital murder charge unless there is indisputable DNA evidence to link them to the crime. Best wishes for the rest of your life Mr. Dillon. That's the least you deserve.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      What errors? They only presented the evidence. Jurors decided he was guilty.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet Mitchell

      very well said jackson

      June 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • judgesmails

      His compensation from the state won't even come close to what is legal fees will be, not to mention lost opportunity cost, unseen earning potential, compound interest, inflation and everything else. And he probably won't see that for a while.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      I guess we can thank the various CSI television shows for our current generation of Hillbillies who think DNA is "magic".

      June 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      The state is refusing to compensate him due to the fact the he had a previous arrest as a teenager for marijuana possession. Really!!!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • stan

      @Billy What errors you ask? You are joking right?! K, try and get American Idol and Jersey Shore out of your mind for a second and I'll explain. An INNOCENT man was found guilty and sent to prison for 27 years. By definition all the evidence against HIM was in ERROR. Not one shred of evidence used against him could possibly have been correct. Every persons interpretation of his character and demeaner were incorrect. So what evidence are you possibly referring to?

      June 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      Stan, let me put this in a form you'll understand: you're an idiot. Also, you have no proof as to this man's guilt or innocence other than this article. Using your moronic form of "logic", he was absolutely, undeniably GUILTY for the entire length of his incarceration, because he'd been found guilty, and therefore there couldn't possibly have been a shred of evidence showing that he was innocent.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cedar Rapids

    It was only yesterday that there was an article about the death penalty that had a lot of people posting about how people convicted should be executed quickly and have less appeals, some were even suggesting killing within a week of sentencing.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Poolchick

      This was very unfortunate but now we have DNA .It's a shame we didn't have it back then to have saved this man from 30 yrs of hell. I still believe in DP if there is proper evidence.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      DNA evidence isn't infallible. Nothing is.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. peggy

    Another definite case against the support of Capital Punishment. What if Capital Punishment was used on him?

    June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      The solution is to only use the death penalty when there is no doubt the person is guilty. Like Casey Anthony.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    I think its seriously time we over through our damn legal system. It is Corporate ! It is unjust and it has become a mockery of our once great nation. All this horse s**t started when the Judicial Systems of America started building their Court House Steeples larger then the Churches ! That is no Joke ! Look it up yourself at the court houses of the beginning of the 20th century ! Our country is no longer a country of Free people, it has become run like a Corporation from our Legal system right up tot he White House.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ErrolnDC

      Robert, wake up... There is not always a perfect answer to an imperfect situation... Any judicial system will make mistakes... All any society can do is try it's best to minimize them...

      June 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rosebud

    CNN just reported on another man who was also wronged for 18 years and he was compensated with $1million dollars. Our governemt should double that for this man who lost 27 years of his life.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • tax payer

      Please feel free to make your donation to pay for part of this fee. Why does everyone have to sue sue sue? Why should I pay for the jury's mistake? Let him sell some records to make it up. My taxes are better used for education and the future of our children, not to pay for the mistake of a bunch of jurors.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oilfeilds

    look like the states gona have to buy 10 million cds

    June 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. melissa hirshfield

    How do you correct an error like that. 27 years of a life not lived to it's fullest is very sad.

    June 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL

      You can't correct it. Not like we have time machines. You just give the guy a lot of money and say sorry.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bryan

    The cops involved, The DA, the judge...they all get 27 years .... no time off for good behavior

    June 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gavin

    The evidence was incorrectly presented if an innocent man was convicted. Microchip everyone with GPS tracking. Watch crime all but vanish across the country.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nostradamus

      What happens when people start hacking the system to say you were at a crime scene when you weren't? Technology can and will be used for evil.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mah

    Yeah, the system can correct its wrongs 30 years later, but what if this guy had been put to death? We still have the death penalty in this country, and until that is abolished, we still have work to do.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet Mitchell

      amen to that!

      June 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. oilfeilds

    you cant correct this. this man is a human being.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    ....and this is why the death penalty needs to be re-examined.
    I don't know if this was a death-penalty case or not, but what is this man had been executed?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • tax payer

      Then we wouldn't have to use our tax money to pay his settlement costs.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. @thejimbojim

    another example of how our legal system is screwed up.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    After 30 years behind bars, for a crime I didn't commit, I don't think I'd come out of jail wanting to sing songs....but good for him.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
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