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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State would pay wrongfully convicted man under Senate plan

Sen. Mike Haridopolos's voice trembled today as he talked about a proposal to compensate William Dillon, a man who served 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

The Senate unanimously agreed to compenate Dillon $810,000 and waive tuition for him at any Florida college. The full House has not acted on the measure.

"I can't imagine being 22 years old and losing your entire life," Haridopolos said, his voice cracking.

Dillon was convicted in 1981. He was exonerated after 27 years following new DNA testing.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, said she doesn't typically vote for claims bills. But in Dillon's case, she said, "it's the least we can do."

Haridopolos noted that the money is included in the budget. "It's in the budget because the state of Florida made a mistake," he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:46pm]


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