Duo jailed for 15 years get new trial on Philly murder they say they didn’t commit


Two Philadelphia men, imprisoned for 15 years for a murder they say they did not commit, have won a new trial.

Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder were convicted in 1998 of killing North Philadelphia businessman Thomas Keal. They have always maintained their innocence in the slaying.

Marissa Bluestine of The Innocence Project says the two admit they were part of the drug trade, but say the victim’s daughter incorrectly identified them as the killers.

“She made what everybody can fairly call a tentative identification,” Bluestine said. “She saw him in the lineup and then finally at trial. By the time of trial, she said that is the man she saw kill her father. The physical description she gave that night was of a man 6 inches taller than Eugene and a different skin tone.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Bluestine says a confession by the man they believe is the true killer and a subsequent jailhouse interview helped the two win a new trial.

“He gave very detailed information about the murder of Thomas Keal, how he got Mr. Keal’s gun,”  she said. “He literally said, ‘I had to pry it out of his hand.'”

Bluestine says she is trying to win bail for the men until the new trial. The Philadelphia district attorney’s office is not commenting on the case.


WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal