By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia district attorney has decided not to retry two men who were freed from prison last fall after serving fifteen years for a 1995 murder, after the men’s case was championed by the Innocence Project at Temple University.
Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder were convicted of a brutal robbery and shooting on the strength of a single witness who picked them out of a photo array two years after the crime.
A judge ordered their release last November, describing the evidence as “extremely weak” and ruling that a jury should get a chance to hear the case again because of new evidence uncovered by the Innocence Project.
The DA says the passage of time has made a new case too difficult to prosecute, so the charges against Gilyard and Felder are being dropped.
“They are absolutely thrilled, over-the-moon, and ecstatic,” says Marissa Bluestine of the Innocence Project. She says she would have liked to see the DA pursue the new evidence, which she says pointed to a different suspect, but is pleased that Gilyard and Felder are free.