The Pennsylvania Innocence Project at Temple Law has announced
that next week, after 15 years of imprisonment for a murder neither
man committed, Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder will be home with
Last month Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi granted the men a new
trial citing 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 secured by investigators
for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Today, the Philadelphia
District Attorney's Office notified the Court they are not
appealing the judge's ruling and had no objection to the two men
being granted bail.
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. Mr. Gilyard
was represented at the post-conviction hearing by Pa. Innocence
Project former staff attorney Charlotte Whitmore and volunteer
lawyer David Rudovsky and Widener University Law Professor Jules
Epstein represented Mr. Felder.
"We are so grateful for the work by the Pennsylvania Innocence
Project," said Christine Gilyard, Mr. Gilyard's mother. Family
members who have always believed in Mr. Gilyard's innocence are
elated that their loved one will be coming home.
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. The
Project is housed at Temple University Beasley School of Law, where
Ms. Bluestine serves as an adjunct clinical professor.