Judge Jackson Kiser admitted that Malvester Dixon had been mistreated by the legal system, but said it was unlikely he would honor Dixon’s request to have the court officially declare him innocent. Dixon took his formal request to the U.S. District Court in Danville and Kiser told Dixon he was making his appeal to the wrong court.
Dixon was convicted along with Maverick Thomas of paying Billy Ray Manns $10,000 dollars to kill Maverick’s wife, Lisa Thomas. Thomas was murdered in the clothing store in Uptown Martinsville that she and her husband owned. Police charged Manns with the murder and the first trial ended in a hung jury. The jury in the second trial acquitted Manns. Under the protection of double jeopardy, Manns admitted that he killed Thomas and collected the money from Maverick and Malvester. Manns was facing 20 years in prison for other crimes and agreed to a plea deal. For his testimony, former Martinsville Prosecutor Joan Ziglar agreed to a 1 year prison sentence for Manns. The testimony was enough to convince two separate juries that Malvester and Maverick hired Manns to kill Lisa. Both were tried, convicted, and imprisoned.
From prison, Manns began telling other inmates he lied because the plea deal was too good of an offer to refuse. Eventually, Ziglar was forced to nolle prosse both cases and Malvester and Maverick were freed.
It was suggested at the time that Lisa Manns, who was a member of Dixon’s church, had planned to leave the church and Malvester and Maverick believed their Nation of Islam faith gave them the right to end her life for doing so. Both men claim their innocence. It’s unknown whether Mann’s has changed his story again or not.