Philadelphia won't seek retrial of freed defendants in 1995 slaying

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors announced on Wednesday that they will not seek to retry two former defendants in the robbery and murder of a Philadelphia businessman almost two decades ago.

Charges were withdrawn against Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said. Both were 16 when they were arrested in the 1995 slaying of Thomas Keal, 52, a popular north Philadelphia businessman who owned a bar and seafood store.

The men, now 35, each served 15 years of a life sentence before a judge threw out the convictions and ordered a retrial last fall, calling the 1998 trial evidence “terribly weak.” The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, which took up the case, called it a prime example of the problems with eyewitness identification not corroborated by other evidence.

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