A Black Texas man sent to prison 23 years ago for rape, is now a free man, cleared by DNA evidence proving that he never sexually assaulted anybody.
Jerry Evans is the 20th Dallas man to be freed, thanks to science not available at the time of his conviction.
"I knew it would come one day. I just didn't know it was gonna be 23 years," Evans said.
Judge Thompson told Evans, who began his sentenced in March 1986, "On behalf of the citizens of the State of Texas, the court would like to apologize for the wrong that's been done to you in this case."
Public Defender Michelle Moore attributes her client’s conviction to overzealous, perhaps even corrupt, police work.
"The more that we know about the case, the more convinced I am that what was in the police report, the timeframe, is not what really happened," she said.
Dallas Co. District Attorney Craig Watkins, who has seen his share of overturned sentences, said this is a chance for the state to reexamine the process for sending people to prison.
"This is an opportunity, with the 20th exoneration, for us to really, really, take a close look at what we've been doing for years and correct the mistakes of the past," he said.
Meanwhile, DNA evidence also confirmed that Vincent Draper, another man convicted and sentenced in Dallas County, did indeed sexually assault an 8-year-old child 24 years ago. Judge Carter Thompson ruled that he must remain in prison.