DALLAS – DNA testing set one man free and sent another back to prison. A Texas judge simply apologized Wednesday to a Dallas man who spent half his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. Jerry Lee Evans walked into court a convicted rapist; he walked out a free man. DNA evidence cleared Evans of the 1986 rape of an SMU student.
“It really feels good to be out, to be actually free. I’m going to get used to not waking up and seeing bars,” said Evans. He spent 23 years in prison, half of his life. Somehow he feels no anger. “I was kind of hanging out in some rough places so that’s why I made the statement that I might have been dead if I was still out there so this is the way good works you know.”
A half-hour earlier in the same courtroom, the same DNA test that freed Evans, sealed the fate of Vincent Draper. Draper will spend the rest of his life in prison for raping an 8-year-old girl in 1985. Draper’s bogus request for DNA testing wasted thousands of dollars and delayed other innocent men like Evans from getting their day in court.
One of Evans’ first stops during his new life of freedom was a trip to McDonalds.