Man cleared of conviction dies after spending more than 30 years in prison

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - One the last family photos where Bobby Ray Dixon is showing off what his loved ones say was one of his trademarks, hangs on a wall at the Dixon house in Hattiesburg.

"He kept that smile. That smile is what kept him going," said Dixon's twin sister Bobbie Myers.

That smile was just as big back in September when Dixon along with two other men were cleared of a rape and murder conviction thanks to DNA evidence.

"It was just a joyful thing. I was so happy that I had my brother home," said Dixon's younger sister Brenda Myers.

On Sunday, at the age of 53, Dixon lost his battle with cancer, two days later, his exoneration case would go to a grand jury. After spending more than three decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Dixon was adjusting back to freedom, not letting a disease slow him down.

"[I] just saw that glow in him, a happy glow. He wasn't ever feeling down. He was always happy," said Brenda Myers.

In the short time Dixon was again a free man, his brother, Jerry, says there was a "to-do" list for Bobby Ray.

"Two of the things that stuck out was that he wanted to be baptized again and we was able to do that and he wanted to ride a bicycle, so he got to do that," said Jerry Dixon.

For Dixon's twin sister, also named Bobbie, there wasn't one moment she took for granted.

"It's been a joy for all of us. It's been a joy to me because we lost, you know, 30 something years together, you know we couldn't get that back, but I enjoyed the time that we had together," said Bobbie Myers.

Now it's the little things this family is holding dear,

"His favorite thing that he loved to eat, 'Hey T', you got any more of them Moon Pies," said Dixon's sister-in-law Teresa Dixon.

"I'm just glad his name got cleared before he went home that's the main thing," said Brenda Myers.

"We just have to go on, we've got to pick up the pieces. Thank God for the time that we had with him and go on and get our life straight together and we can see him again," said Jerry Dixon.

"I want people to remember him as a person who, always wanted things to be right. He had seen a lot of wrong, he'd been through a lot of wrong but he wanted things to be right," said Teresa Dixon.

"I want [people] to remember Bobby Ray as an innocent person, caring loving person. Just remember his smile and the joy he brought to all of us before he left," said Bobbie Myers.

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