Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 7/19/12

William Dillon spent nearly half of his life behind bars after being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Thanks in part to the help he received from the Innocence Project, the now 52-year-old Dillon was released from prison in 2008, where he spent 27 years after he was convicted of murdering James Bvorak back in 1981. The man who actually killed Bvorak hitchhiked to a bar after beating him to death and left his bloody clothes behind in a car. Dillon was arrested after a police dog matched the scent on the clothes to him, but a DNA test conducted in 2008 proved his innocence.

On Wednesday night, Dillon performed the National Anthem at Tropicana field before a game between the Rays and Indians. He was an aspiring baseball player before his encarcoration and has a love for the game, so he asked the team if he could perform the Anthem to celebrate his freedom. His wish was granted, and Dillon proudly sang wearing a shirt that read “Not Guilty” across the front.

We’ve featured a lot of National Anthem failures on LBS before like this infamous moment at the US Open, but it’s refreshing to see an amazing story like Dillon’s. He spent 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and all he has to show for it is a $1.35 million compensation package and nearly three decades of his life gone. The fact that he is still able to smile after that is an inspiration.

H/T Eye on Baseball

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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