Convicted of a crime he never committed and serving time in one of the USA’s most notorious prisons, Valentino Dixon spent much of his free time drawing serene scenes of lush golf courses.
After 27 years behind bars, Dixon, 48, walked out of the Attica (N.Y.) Correctional Facility a free man Wednesday as his murder conviction in a 1991 shooting was officially overturned.
Dixon’s case gained national attention when he was profiled six years ago by Golf Digest for his meticulous attention to detail in the colored-pencil drawings he made of courses such as Augusta National — despite never having picked up a club in his life.
“They always say I don’t need to be drawing this golf stuff,” he has said. “I know it makes no sense, but for some reason my spirit is attuned to this game.”
From there, the publication and several other groups — including the Georgetown University Prison Reform Project — began looking into the questionable circumstances surrounding his conviction.
Even though Dixon had exhausted all his appeals, the Erie County district attorney’s office eventually revisited the evidence in the case, which resulted in a confession from the real gunman.
Upon his release, Dixon said he planned to go “to Red Lobster to celebrate with my family and my support team, then we’re going to go to a park.”