Wrongly Convicted Man: “God Had a Plan for Me”

After serving more than two decades for a crime he didn't commit, all Jerry Lee Evans wants now is a Big Mac.

Wednesday, a state district judge freed the 47-year-old man, who is the latest wrongly convicted inmate cleared through DNA testing in Dallas County. He was imprisoned for nearly 23 years.

"I really don't have any hard feelings," Evans said. "God had a plan for me, but I always knew I would one day be set free."

Evans received a life sentence after being convicted in the 1986 aggravated sexual assault of an 18-year-old freshman at Southern Methodist University.

Evans was convicted on faulty eyewitness testimony, a common factor in almost all of Dallas County's 21 DNA exoneration cases.

The county has more DNA exonerations than any jurisdiction in the nation, in part because its crime lab maintains biological evidence decades after the crimes.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said county DNA public defender Michelle Moore. "There will be many more to come."

Evans left the courthouse surrounded by friends and three cousins who vowed to watch over him as he begins the process of getting back on his feet.

"Twenty-three years is a long time, but really it feels like yesterday," Evans said as he headed to McDonald's. "It's good to be free."

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a bill that increases the compensation paid to people who are wrongfully convicted and sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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