Valentino Dixon: Hope in every brush stroke

Looking to create change after being imprisoned for 27 years

October 09, 2018 - 4:07 am

By: Dana Casullo

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Released 27 years later for a murder he did not commit, Valentino Dixon is still learning how to adjust to the free world. In 1992, Dixon was convicted of second degree murder after the August 10, 1991 shooting death of Torriano Jackson in the City of Buffalo. Over the years, Dixon insisted that he was not the shooter.

Although, Lamarr Scott confessed to shooting the gun several times. Dixon did not commit the murder, but his conviction on criminal possession of a weapon still would've been upheld. 

Dixon spent his first day of his release with his family at Red Lobster. He never had lobster before, but it was always something he wanted to try. That same night, Dixon and his daughter were flown to NYC and taken in a limo to the Today Show. 

According to Dixon, it hasn't been hard to get adjusted to life again, but the one thing getting on his nerves is the iPhone his daughter bought him. His daily routine consists of getting up at 6 a.m. and working out. He also spends his time taking care of both his grandmothers and mother. Helping them clear out their garages and basements.

The people Dixon was hanging around with the time of the arrest are no longer in his life. 

"I don't talk to any of them," Dixon said. "I moved on completely. I have no desire to be out in the streets."

While Dixon was in prison he did a lot of studying and read over 1,000 books including ones such as, finance, art, self help, and believing in yourself. Although there were times when Dixon experienced doubt in prison. 

"I had my moments but they didn't last that long," Dixon said. "I was always leading something spiritual or positive or something that gave me strength. As long as I filled my mind with those things, I was good."

Dixon's mother was the one person he thought about every day over the years he was in prison. 

"I thought about my mom the most because I am the only child," Dixon said. "She was there for me from beginning to end. We spoke every day on the phone. I was always worried about her. She had cancer three times and a stroke. She's in remission but she's doing better."

Dixon spends his time going to different schools and talking to students trying to send them strong positive messages. 

"Believe in yourself and know you have options," Dixon preaches to the students. "You can do anything you set your mind to. These kids when they look at the environment, they only see what in front of them. They can't see past it."

For the ones going down the criminal path, Dixon believes they will eventually get caught up and end up in prison or dead. 

"Crime doesn't pay," Dixon said. "You're not going to win. You have to think about the consequences and pain you will cause other people. You're either going to be an asset to the community or a burden to the community. You have to make that choice and sometimes one mistake can cost you everything."

Dixon, a man that was in jail just a few weeks ago, is having his art work shipped across the ocean to France. The art was for the USA captain of the Ryder Cup, Jim Furyk. The caddies’ wives of the golfers came together to give him a gift that left Furyk in tears.

Since Dixon spent a lot of time studying the art world, he knew the value of holding on to his originals.

"Even when I was in jail and struggled at certain times, I always held on to them," Dixon said.  "I knew a day would come when it would be important to have the largest portfolio possible."

That day will come on October 22 when Dixon will have his first art show at the World Trade in NYC. A mixture of paintings will be featured including, animals, African art, and of course golf.

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