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Pennsylvania Innocence Project at Temple Law Wins Release for Wrongfully Convicted Philadelphia Men

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 their families.

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.

Written by Temple Law School

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