|Then: Gerald Ford was still the President when Michael Evans and another teenager were arrested for the rape and murder they knew nothing about. Each was 17 years old and were convicted largely based on testimony from one woman who claimed she saw Michael struggling with the girl on the night of the incident. There was a $5,000 reward for any information on the case. Both boys were sentenced to 200 to 400 years in prison. After spending twenty-seven years in the Illinois prison system, DNA confirmed their innocence.
Now: Having left his South Side Chicago neighborhood as a teen, Mr. Evans returned as a middle-aged man. Although he had enrolled in prison programs to complete his high school diploma, he was unable to do so because the constant vigilance he maintained to protect his life in prison interfered with his studies. Currently living with his sister, Mr. Evans has yet to receive the meager compensation the state of Illinois offers an exoneree after twenty-seven years of imprisonment, Mr. Evans is looking for work. Imprisoned before he knew how to drive, he is in the process of completing driver's education so that he does not have to travel to remote job locations on public transportation. Thus far, his employment has been limited to the fast food industry.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois