A Florida man who was sentenced to 400 years in prison on armed robbery charges was exonerated and walked free on Monday (March 13) after spending 34 years behind bars, CBS News reports.
57-year-old Sidney Holmes was accused of acting as the getaway driver for two armed robberies in 1988. Holmes was convicted in April of 1989 and handed down a 400-year prison sentence.
In 2020, Holmes contacted the State Attorney's Conviction Review Unit (CRU), which found he had a plausible claim of innocence. The CRU determined that Holmes was likely misidentified by an eyewitness and that there was no other evidence connecting him to the crime.
A separate investigation launched by one of the victim's family members also determined that Holmes' vehicle was likely misidentified at the time of his conviction. Based on the CRU's review, panelists voted in favor of Holmes' innocence and exoneration.
On Monday, Holmes was greeted by his family as a walked free from his 400-year prison sentence, per CBS Miami.
"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," Broward State Attorney Harold F. 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."
Holmes is expected to receive assistance in job training and placement from the nonprofit OIC of South Florida.
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