Meet the Exonerees

Michael Evans

State: Illinois
Date of Birth: 1959
Incident Date: 1976
Age at Arrest: 17
Conviction Date: 1977
Age When Exonerated: 43
Exonerated Date: 2003
Time Served: 26
Conviction: Murder
Implicated by Another Youth: Yes

Case Details

I do feel I lost my most precious years...There's no way to turn back the hands of time, and I think I would have accomplished a lot more in life if I had been in society. These are the words of Michael Evans, who was incarcerated for twenty-six years -- beginning when he was only seventeen years old -- for a rape and murder that he did not commit. He was implicated by the perjured testimony of Judith Januszewski, who claimed to see Evans with the victim on the evening she disappeared. She came forward days after the crime and first told her story to a man offering a reward, rather than bringing it to the police. It was later discovered that her testimony, which had always seemed incredible, was in fact false. The authorities also claimed that Evans confessed to them, which Evans denied. After spending 26 years in prison, Evans was released in 2003 when DNA testing excluded both him and his codefendant Paul Terry as perpetrators.