Two Pennsylvania Men Ordered Released
One month after a Philadelphia judge dismissed the murder convictions of two men serving life sentences, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced they would not appeal the decision, clearing the path for both men to be released.
The Philadelphia Inquirer
reported that after 15 years behind bars, Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder were both released on a $20,000 bail bond on Friday and will be electronically monitored at home.
Attorneys and family members in attendance at last week’s hearing expected the prosecution to announce whether or not they would order a new trial and were stunned to learn Gilyard and Felder were ordered released. “ ‘That’s not something you see in this building every day,’ said veteran Center City civil-rights lawyer David Rudovsky, who represented Gilyard.”
As the Innocence Blog wrote last month, Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi said the original trial evidence was weak against the pair who were 18 years old when they were convicted of the 1995 shooting death of a restaurant owner. The victim’s daughter was the single eyewitness to identify Gilyard and Felder. The two young men were convicted based on the eyewitness testimony despite its inaccuracies in the age and height of the perpetrators.
Gilyard maintained his innocence and previously told police he knew the real perpetrators by their street names “Rolex” and “Tizz.” The
Pennsylvania Innocence Project
took on Gilyard’s case and uncovered new evidence of their innocence, including a confession to the murder by another man. Ricky “Rolex” Welborn confessed that he and another man had tried to rob the victim and shot him and that Gilyard and Felder had nothing to do with it.
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