Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

William Dillon

First Name William
Last NameDillon
Year of Conviction1981
Year of Exoneration2008
State of ConvictionFlorida
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeMurder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Two witnesses testified that defendant spent the night at their apartment on the night of the murder.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

Defendant described his whereabouts the night of the murder, and when asked if he murdered the victim, he explained “No, sir, I did not.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Informant
  • Other
Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● No identification procedures conducted following composite or pretrial.

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – hair, facial hair – moustache ● Initially uncertain – witness half-blind

Quotes from testimony #2

Eyewitness testified "I’m not a thousand percent sure. Are you?" Eyewitness described “medium” thick moustache, which Dillon did not have, and hair that was “much shorter.” Also described man as six foot or six foot one, where Dillon is six foot four inches. Also stated at trial that composite was not accurate, and that mustache was not right shape and should not have been black. Eyewitness also noted “I am half-blind, legally,” but added that he was able to get a look at the assailant through his good eye.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessCI, J
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Jailhouse informant provided detailed description of crime and claimed Dillon had re-enacted the crime in the jail dining hall, although no other inmates witnessed this. ● Defendant’s ex-girlfriend also provided account of seeing him at crime-scene
Quotes from testimony #3

Jailhouse informant testified, "He said he was at a party, him and his girlfriend, and he was drinking and they all got drunk and they went down to a beach…" he asked a guy for a cigarette "that’s when he said he punched him, sucker-punched him." "[T]hey got on the ground, they rolled, he got up into and upright position and he grabbed the guy and starting punching him in the face." “[H]e motioned with his hand, with his left hand, that is, held him either on his throat or his chest and punched him" The victim was "an older fellow." ●But he described that the defendant admitted committing crime at a different beach, many miles from where the crime took place.

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

After jailhouse informant agreed to testify against Dillon, the State dropped pending charges against him for the rape of a sixteen-year-old girl. At trial the informant denied any deal, and said the charges being dropped, "was in the process of getting done" although right after he made the statements to police, he "went up for a bond reduction.” He claimed that the real reason the charges were dropped was that "They didn’t have no evidence on me." Years later, the jailhouse informant recanted and said that he had told police that Dillon denied any guilt. He said that the police officer sat next to him and another officer sat on his other side. They recorded an interview in which the officer asked questions and the other officer wrote desired answers on the pad, for the informant to read out loud to parrot the false testimony against Dillon. A cooperating witness, Dillon’s exgirlfriend, recanted, as the Innocence Project describes – "Less than two weeks after the trial, Dillon’s exgirlfriend recanted her testimony. She said she had fabricated the story about seeing Dillon at the crime scene because law enforcement officers had threatened her with 25 years in prison as an accessory if she didn’t testify against him. Later, it was revealed that she also had sexual intercourse during the investigation with the lead officer in the case. The officer was suspended in connection with the incident and would eventually resign."

Highest level reachedNR
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