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. mike zaldivar

    California, Florida, Ohio the most backward and stupid states when it comes to civil justice.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in Colorado

      Definitely forgot Texas.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim jimmers

      Dude! take that 1.35M and got to thailand or belize! Make up for all that lost horizontal activity. They are hot and they'll love ya for it. Cant go wrong.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amina

      That's mighty funny. We just got a news story about Tupaq, informing us that there is a statute of limitations. No statute of limitations for this case. Hmmm.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucky

      ADD TEXAS and all the other RED STATES TO IT. What exactly is the IQ of these cops ? How exactly are they recruited ?
      IIs closing a case important or finding the real culprit ? How can these worthless morons live comfortably and live with their pensions?

      June 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      Most capital and child molestation cases have not statute of limitations in state law. However, some states might have limitations.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Erin

    Florida law states those wrongfully convicted will be compensated $50,000 for every year incarcerated. So he's got $1.35 million coming. The law came about because of the DNA results of several inmates came back and proved their innocence. At the time, the state led the nation in wrongful convictions – not exactly something you put on the welcome sign.

    June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in Colorado

      $50,000 / year is a pittance. It should be $1 million per year.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • crookedarm

      That $50,000 per year has been denied because of some technicality (can't remember what it was though). If Florida had any class whatsoever they would waive that technicality, but knowing Florida, that won't happen. I can only hope his music provides enough to live on.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sigmunds

    .........I know what it is to be wrongfully accused , how do you restore your name and your life after this ?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGeek

      What life? He's spent 27+ years behind bars. He doesn't *have* a life to restore. His name .. now that's a hard one.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe in Colorado

    Our government won't pay this man $27 million for 27 years behind bars, which was their wrongdoing, but they'll drop $700 million worth of bombs on Libya within a three-week timespan. I wonder where the taxpayers would prefer their money be spent?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      joe: "Our government won't pay this man $27 million for 27 years behind bars, which was their wrongdoing, but they'll drop $700 million worth of bombs on Libya within a three-week timespan. I wonder where the taxpayers would prefer their money be spent?"

      I'm willing to bet you won't give a bum on a corner $10 once a week, but you'll drop thousands of dollars on a year on t.v.'s, your computer, your phone and other unnecessary garbage.

      Who are you to complain?

      June 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      i hope one day do we wake up no buts

      June 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. my2commoncents

    You can't get back 27 years of your life! It should be mandatory by law that anyone wrongfully accused that has been incarcerated, should be well compensated based on number of years they have been in prison. At the least a decent annual wages worth plus loss of freedom. I say at least 50k+ a year if not more! This guy needs public and media outrage support to make sure he gets what he deserves!

    June 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. steve harnack

    Did that spokesman actually say words to the effect that it's different to actually have a suspect before you arrest someone?

    June 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      He was trying to say why his office won't release the names of the suspects until they are arrested. Poorly worded, but certainly sensible.

      June 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cindy

    MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WOULD NOT DO HIM JUSTICE. I FEEL LIKE SINCE THEY SPEND UNCESSARY MONEY ANYWAY WHY NOT GIVE HIM 1BILLION. THAT WHAT HE DESERVE. BECAUSE THEIR NO TELLING WHAT HE COULD HAVE BEEN IN LIFE.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Schmoe

    Hello,

    I'm Johnny Cash.................

    June 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barry

    We’re all happy for you, William Dillon.

    Best wishes in your future endeavors.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Edna

    Where was the justice for this young man all those tears ago, somebody should do the right thing here
    and pay him for all those years he was fausely accused, and imprisoned. there is a good movie here I'm thinking.
    Good luck to the man I say.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. moo

    Brilliant how they don't tell you what DNA evidence there was, where it came from and how it's significant.

    Just because DNA isn't found at a crime scene doesn't mean he wasn't there or was not responsible.

    June 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Loriel

    But let's all enthusiastically support the death penalty! This should prove that the death penalty is an invalid method of punishment. If he had been executed, the blood would have been on all of our hands. And how many other innocent people are on death row? It is time for state sanctioned murder to stop; even though there are horrible people who really deserve to die; the death penalty has no place in civilized society....at least until guilt can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Even then; is this hypocritical punishment the answer to murder? A murder for a murder?

    June 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KawiMan

    The cops, procecuters, and witnesses who wrongly convicted this man should now face a public al Queda style beheading.
    There is no excuse for this type of atrocity, PERIOD!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Realist

    Hope he makes millions form the songs too

    June 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Thomas

    Perhaps we should think about cases like this when considering other cases where people are being accused of murder.

    I am sure at the time everyone was convinced that William Dillon was guilty...

    June 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
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