Six years ago Golf Digest’s Max Adler profiled and co-wrote a piece by Valentino Dixon, convicted of killing Torriano Jackson and an avid painter of golf scenes even though he’d never played the game in his life. (He was also profiled in this excellent Ryan Griffiths-produced piece for In Play with Jimmy Roberts.)
Fast forward to this week where Dixon, serving 39-to-life, had his murder conviction vacated after Golf Digest’s story and several others worked to get Dixon freed for a crime he insisted he did not commit.
Adler’s follow up piece on Dixon, who served 27 years.
Although Dixon has never hit a ball or even stepped foot on a course, the game hooked him when a golfing warden brought in a photograph of Augusta National’s 12th hole for the inmate to render as a favor. In the din and darkness of his stone cell, the placid composition of grass, sky, water and trees spoke to Dixon. And the endless permutations of bunkers and contours gave him a subject he could play with.
“The guys can’t understand,” Dixon has said. “They always say I don’t need to be drawing this golf stuff. I know it makes no sense, but for some reason my spirit is attuned to this game.”
Dixon leaving the courthouse and understandably grateful to Adler for helping his cause: