PA Innocence Project at Temple Law Wins New Trial for Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project at Temple University Beasley
School of Law has won new trials for Eugene Gilyard and Lance
Felder, convicted in the 1995 murder of North Philadelphia store
owner Thomas Keal.

In announcing her decision, Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi
cited to the “extremely weak” case against the two men at trial,
especially compared to the “detailed” and fully corroborated
confession of one of the actual murderers.  Mr. Gilyard and
Mr. Felder were convicted in 1998, over two years after the crime.
The only evidence presented against the two men (16 at the time of
the murder, 18 at the time of trial) was the testimony of witnesses
who first identified them as being involved two years after the

The Pennsylvania Innocence Project worked for three years to
investigate and litigate the matter for Mr. Gilyard. Hundreds of
hours from the staff investigator and attorney plus similarly
countless hours from dedicated law student volunteers yielded
compelling evidence establishing not only Mr. Gilyard’s innocence,
but the identities of the men who committed the crime. Through the
work of volunteer lawyers David Rudovsky and Widener University Law
Professor Jules Epstein, as well as the tireless work of former
staff attorney Charlotte Whitmore, Mr. Gilyard and Mr. Felder will
have the chance to – finally – earn their freedom.

“Having worked for so long, and come to know Mr. Gilyard so
well, this day is truly hard won,” said Ms. Whitmore. “We have
always believed that Mr. Gilyard had nothing to do with this
horrible crime, and when I met with the man who actually pulled the
trigger of the gun that shot the victim, I was even more

Pennsylvania Innocence Project Legal Director Marissa Bluestine
noted that this is the first case the small independently-funded
non-profit organization has brought through to a hearing. With many
more cases in development, the Project looks forward to greeting
Mr. Gilyard upon his eventual release from his wrongful