How a golf magazine helped free a wrongly convicted man

A golf reporter has incredibly unlocked a 27-year mystery where a man was wrongfully serving an extended prison sentence.

Valentino Dixon, 48, had been imprisoned for 39-years-to life in New York for the 1991 killing of Torriano Jackson.

However, he drew the interest of Golf Digest reporter Max Adler because of his gentle, evocative drawings of golf courses.

Adler began investigating the specifics of Dixon’s case, which involved a fistfight and gunfire, while writing a story on him six years ago, and found some serious discrepancies.

Valentino Dixon with one of his pieces of golf art. Pic: AP

“The case is complicated,” Adler wrote.

“But on the surface it involves shoddy police work, zero physical evidence linking Dixon, conflicting testimony of unreliable witnesses, the videotaped confession to the crime by another man, a public defender who didn’t call a witness at trial, and perjury charges against those who said Dixon didn’t do it.

“All together, a fairly clear instance of local officials hastily railroading a young black man with a prior criminal record into jail.”

The Golf Digest article immediately spurred a new look at Dixon’s case.

The story led to more media outlets covering Dixon’s case, which in turn led to grassroots campaigns and pro bono efforts by New York attorneys

The newly created Erie County district attorney’s wrongful convictions unit took another look at Dixon’s story, and found enough evidence to vacate his conviction.

For a look at the golf art that kept Dixon going during his long years in prison, click here.

with Yahoo Sports US.