A Man Sentenced to 400 Years for Robbery Was Released After an Investigation Exonerated Him
57-year-old Sidney Holmes was accused of being the getaway driver in a 1988 case wherein two people were held up at gunpoint and robbed.
A man in Florida who served more than 34 years of a 400-year sentence for armed robbery was released from prison on March 13 after a new probe found that the key evidence initially used against him was “precarious.”
57-year-old Sidney Holmes was accused of being the getaway driver in a 1988 case wherein two people were held up at gunpoint, robbed, and carjacked outside of a store.
Holmes contacted the State Attorney's Conviction Review Unit in 2020, maintaining his innocence. During its review of his case, the unit deduced that the eyewitness identification of Holmes was most likely wrong. Other than the “flawed” eyewitness identification, there was no evidence linking Holmes to the robbery, according to the unit.
A news release from Broward County State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said prosecutors “determined that Holmes had a plausible claim of innocence,” adding that “it is highly likely that he is factually innocent of the armed robbery.”
After being released, Holmes hugged his family and said the first thing he wanted to do was get food, according to the Miami Herald.
“I never would give up hope,” Holmes told reporters. “I knew this day was going to come sooner or later, and today is the day.”
“We have one rule here at the Broward State Attorney's Office – do the right thing, always. As prosecutors, our only agenda is to promote public safety in our community and to ensure that justice is served,” Pryor said in a statement. “I commend the victims, witnesses, and law enforcement officers for their candor and assistance in reinvestigating a crime that occurred more than 34 years ago.”