ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - A man who spent more than 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit got to do something Wednesday he never thought was possible --William Michael Dillon sang the National Anthem and threw out the first pitch at the Rays game at Tropicana Field.

"It was awesome. It was truly, truly awesome," said Dillon. "I am feeling a sense of I'm making it somewhere in my life now."

Dillon was released from prison in 2008 after being exonerated for murder, thanks to DNA testing and the Innocence Project. The 52-year-old was chosen to sing after Rays officials heard his demo and his story.

Dillon said he's been singing for years and music is one of the things that helped him through the tough times while he was in prison.

Heis also hoping to send a message about wrongful convictions. "Just because a person does a whole bunch of years in prison, doesn't mean that they're criminal in any way," said Dillon.

The exonerated man said he is happy to be free and is simply loving life.

Hehas a CD called Black Robes and Lawyers that is for sale on iTunes and

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