In this image: The ball of Padraig Harrington of Ireland is seen on the 13th green during day four and final round of the D+D REAL Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, Czech Republic, Aug. 26, 2018. Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Valentino Dixon, a man who spent 27 years in jail for a crime he never committed, was freed Wednesday after his drawings of golf courses garnered enough media attention to reevaluate his case and find him non-guilty.

The Erie County District Court in Buffalo, New York, vacated the murder conviction of Dixon who was serving a 39-year-to-life sentence for the murder of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson. In August 1991, when Dixon was 21, both he and Jackson where at a loud street party when they got into a fistfight over a girl, which turned into a gunfire incident.

Dixon, 48, walked out of Erie County Court on Wednesday and was welcomed by his mother, sister and a crowd of other relatives and friends. He vowed to fight on behalf of others who were wrongly convicted like him.

The recent move by the judge to set aside Dixon’s conviction comes from a variety of factors. The judge accepted a guilty plea by another man who had confessed to the killing a few days after it happened in 1991.

"There was a fight. Shots were fired,'' Lamarr Scott, the man who confessed to the killing, said. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with.''

Scott was already in prison for the past 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, ESPN reported. He was given an additional sentence of eight and a half years to 25 years for the murder.

"Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all,'' John Flynn, Erie County district attorney told reporters after the hearing on Wednesday, describing Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo'' when the shooting happened. He said Scott was Dixon’s bodyguard.

"Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of,'' he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun.''

The case was reopened after the Golf Digest came to know about the drawings he made in his prison cell and published an article on it. They profiled the artist who had the habit of grinding colored pens to their nubs as he made meticulous and detailed “golf-scapes." The drawings were surprising because Dixon never stepped foot on a golf course or hit a golf ball. He was first introduced to the scene when a warden brought him a picture of Augusta National Golf Club’s 12th hole for him to re-draw.

“The guys can’t understand,” Dixon told the magazine. “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.”

Before Dixon was convicted, his only played football and basketball as he grew up on the east side of Buffalo. He attended the performing-arts high school and had a clean record till he graduated. He then started dating a girl whose brothers were drug dealers and got into the business.

“It's no excuse. It was what you did in my neighborhood if you wanted to make money. I became a mid-level cocaine dealer and pulled in enough to drive flashy cars and cover friends, but not much else,” Dixon said.

He spent some time at the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison where the worst of the worst are sent.

“They were animals even before they were treated as animals. Violent people who want to rape and cut you, and society is safer because they're in here,” Dixon said of the prison.

The magazine got to him six years ago and by the time he had completed over 100 drawings. While profiling the inmate, the magazine found his case “flimsy” and decided to look into it further. It said the case was complicated with shoddy police work, no physical evidence that linked Dixon to the murder, a videotaped confession from another man, conflicting testimonials from unreliable witnesses, a public defender who did not call for a witness at trial, and charges of perjury against people who said Dixon did not commit the crime, which put Dixon, who did have a prior criminal record, into jail.

The article brought Dixon's case into the limelight and made other major players like NBC/Golf Channel,, Fox Sports and the Georgetown University Prison Reform Project followed up on the incident. In 2017, even after repeated appeals, Dixon still remained in prison.

A year after John Flynn took over the job of the longtime Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita III, Dixon was finally released.

“So many times I’ve come close [to giving up], but God kept giving me the strength to keep on and now I know why," Dixon told Golf Digest. “The positive is that this case could serve as a shining example to wrongful convictions units elsewhere.”