After a wrongful murder conviction that put him behind bars for 27 years, William Michael Dillon received formal forgiveness from the state Thursday.
Dillon, who was awarded a $1.3 million settlement by the state in March, stood before Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet and recounted how far his life has come since he was released from maximum security prison four years ago, exonerated by DNA evidence.
Clemency hearings, in which elected officials grant pardons and rule on whether to restore civil rights for convicted felons, are usually somber, even tearful.
But Dillon's testimony was upbeat, drawing smiles from an audience of freed felons waiting for their own opportunity to ask for the legal system's fullest measure of forgiveness.
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