Supporters of a Philadelphia man serving life in prison are headed to court Monday to try to get him a new trial. New evidence shows he’s innocent, they say.
Eugene Gilyard’s lawyer, David Rudovsky, is working with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Rudovsky said Gilyard has been in prison nearly two decades for a crime he didn’t commit: the murder of Philadelphia store owner Thomas Keal.
The store owner’s daughter identified Gilyard. For years, Gilyard has claimed he and a co-defendent did not commit the crime. Rudovsky said now there’s evidence to back up his client.
“There will be evidence concerning — the new evidence — concerning the two I’ll call ‘suspects.’ And we think that evidence — including a statement from one of them that they actually were involved in the murder, and corroborating evidence — should be sufficient to warrant a new trial for our clients,” Rudovsky.
The prospect of a new trial is hard for friends and family of murder victims, says Dorothy Johnson-Speight, the head of the group Mothers in Charge. She said while “it’s never an easy thing when a victim, a family, has to relive a horrible experience, it is always the desire of the victim or the victim’s family to see justice served.”