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Valentino Dixon, Golf-Course Prison Artist, Cleared of Murder Charge

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2018

In this Friday, July 6, 2018 photo, is the Melreese Country Club in Miami. David Beckham and his partners are scheduled to present a proposal to the Miami city commission next week in which the public golf course would be the site of a 28,000-seat stadium for a Major League Soccer Franchise. If commissioners approve, voters would decide on Nov. 6 whether to change the city's charter and allow what would be a no-bid deal to lease 73 acres at the Melreese site to the group. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Valentino Dixon, a prison artist renowned for paintings of golf courses, was set free Wednesday after being wrongfully convicted of a 1991 murder and imprisoned in New York, according to the Associated Press.

Per the report:

"While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case, as well as a documentary produced by Georgetown University students as part of a prison reform course last spring."

Lamarr Scott confessed to the murder of Torriano Jackson while serving time on an unrelated attempted murder conviction.

Dixon said he plans to both continue drawing and help other prisoners. 

"If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he noted. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

While Dixon was cleared of the murder, Judge Susan Eagan did not clear a criminal possession of a weapon charge from his record. That conviction, without the erroneous murder charge, would have come with a sentence of five to 15 years.

"Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said after the hearing, calling Dixon "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" and alleging Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

"Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of, but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight," Flynn added. "It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

Regardless, Dixon's family celebrated his newfound freedom after his release.

"We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," his daughter Valentina Dixon, who was a baby at the time of his conviction, said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

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