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Eugene Gilyard: Closer to Freedom?

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EugeneGilyardOur client, Eugene Gilyard, filed a petition with the Court of Common Pleas back in March, 2011, when he learned who really killed Thomas Keal in 1995. Mr. Gilyard had been convicted of the murder of the Philadelphia store owner when the victim’s daughter, who saw her father gunned down, identified Mr. Gilyard from a photo array 2 years after the crime. For the past 15 years, Eugene has been telling anyone who would listen that he is an innocent man. When he finally learned that Mr. Keal’s murderer was ready to take responsibility for his own actions, Eugene regained hope for his release.

But justice would have to wait. After the Pennsylvania Innocence Project took on his case and developed even more evidence establishing Eugene’s innocence, we filed a new petition with new facts for the Court. That Petition, which you can read here with the exhibits here, told the story of a man who has been imprisoned for  15 years for a crime he had nothing to do with. Hoping for a quick resolution, justice for Eugene would have to wait some more.

After many missed deadlines for filing a response to Mr. Gilyard’s Petition, the Commonwealth finally filed its 8 page answer here In essence, the Commonwealth seems to be arguing that even if Mr. Gilyard is innocent, because he should have filed his Petition earlier his claims “should be dismissed without a hearing.” Hoping for a quick resolution to his nearly 2-decade nightmare, we filed a response for Mr. Gilyard last week, which you can read here. In May, Mr. Gilyard has a hearing in the Court of Common Pleas where we will argue that since he has shown that there is strong evidence to show that another man got away with murder the Court should, at a minimum, give him a chance to have that evidence heard. Stay tuned.

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