The jury's verdict was hard to believe.

At least for Michael Evans, the 48-year-old man who spent 27 years in prison for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl only to be cleared by a DNA test, pardoned and released.

On Tuesday, the affable, deep-voiced Evans thought justice was at hand, that a federal court jury was about to crown his civil suit against 10 police officers for allegedly framing him with a hefty damage award.

His lawyer was talking about as much as $60 million.

Then came the verdict - nothing. Evans wasn't going to get a dime.

"I felt very awful," Evans said Thursday in one of perhaps a dozen interviews granted after recovering somewhat from the shock.

"It was very heartbreaking and very painful," Evans said. "The evidence proved that it was a wrongful incarceration and I was innocent."

But the nine-member jury in the court of U.S. District Judge David H. Coar upheld the detectives and police officials who arrested Evans and put him in prison for 27 years.

At trial the officers and their lawyer, Andrew Hale, maintained that they went by the book in investigating the case. They denied framing Evans.

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