Exonerated inmate takes the mound - FOX 13 News

Exonerated inmate takes the mound

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He was a promising baseball star until he was put in prison for 27 years for a crime he didn't commit. Wednesday, William Dillon was back on the field, singing the national anthem before the Tampa Bay Rays game.

Dillon was just 21 years old when he was arrested for the 1981 murder of a man in Brevard County. Despite some very sketchy evidence, he was found guilty by the jury.

Dillon spent nearly three decades in prison until DNA testing cleared him of the crime.

He was released four years ago, and, this past March, Governor Scott signed a bill that awarded him more than a million dollars in compensation.

During all those years in prison, Dillon never thought he would see another baseball game -- let alone sing the national anthem at a major league park.

"In the early 80's, I thought there was the possibility I would be able to do that. When the 90's came and then the 2000s, I figured that I would be stuck to watching them on television," he said.

The shirt Dillon wore to tonight's game said "not guilty." It's the same shirt he wore on the day he walked out of prison four years ago.

Before he went to prison, Dillon was a star pitcher who was scouted by the Detroit Tigers. He now lives in North Carolina and music has become one of his biggest passions.

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