Golf

When Your Sporting Doodles Can Get You Out Of Jail

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

09:58 20 Sep 2018


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Straight off the bat(points for you if you are on the lookout for points in sporting cliche bingo!)this sounds like a movie in the making based on a real life story.

It's a variation on a theme of a movie oft quoted in biogs of people when asked what their favorite is.

Thats normally a great flick called The Shawshank Redemption.

Well worth seeing in case you have just returned from an interplanetary journey.

Have you heard about the New York prison inmate's golf drawings that lead to his exoneration in murder?

Valentino Dixon served most of his sentence in New York's notorious Attica Correctional Facility.

But it turns out the US convict's talent for art caught the eye of a prison warden and ultimately lead to a review of his case, and he has been cleared of murder.

Valentino Dixon's colour pencil drawings of golf courses were featured in Golf Digest - prompting advocates to uncover flawed evidence in the case.

Mr Dixon, 48, had maintained his innocence during 27 years behind bars for a shooting in Buffalo, New York.

He walked free after another man formally confessed to the murder.

Mr Dixon had served nearly two decades at a notorious prison in upstate New York when his artistic flair attracted the notice of correctional authorities.

The warden gave him a photograph of the famed Augusta National's 12th hole in the US state of Georgia, and asked if he would draw it for him.

"After 19 years in Attica Correctional Facility, the look of a golf hole spoke to me," said Mr Dixon. "It seemed peaceful. I imagine playing it would be a lot like fishing."

Using colouring pencils, he began to create meticulous, lush drawings of various links and fairways.

"I didn't know anything about golf. I'm from the 'hood," he told local media.

His sketches impressed the editors at Golf Digest, which featured his artwork and a profile of the prisoner in 2012.

"Maybe one day I'll get to play the game I've only imagined," Mr Dixon said in the article, describing how he drew landscapes he has never seen.

The magazine's coverage spurred wrongful-conviction advocates to look into the matter. Georgetown University law students championed his case.

The conviction Mr Dixon was handed a minimum 38-year-to-life sentence for killing 17-year-old Torriano Jackson one night in August 1991, after an argument over a girl.

He acknowledged being at the crime scene, but said he was at a nearby shop buying beer when the gunshots rang out.

And guess what there is a happy ending to this story!

 

 

 

 

 

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