A man who had been convicted of armed robbery and had been sentenced to 400 years in prison was released on Monday after being found not guilty. Sidney Holmes, 57, was found guilty in April 1989 of being the getaway driver in a robbery that occurred in 1988.
When Holmes was welcomed by his family as he walked out on Monday, he stated that his first priority was to get some food.
Do the right thing at all times is our only rule at the Broward State Attorney’s Office. In a statement, Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor stated, “As prosecutors, our only agenda is to promote public safety in our community and to ensure that justice is served. I thank the victims, witnesses, and law enforcement personnel for being open and helpful in the reinvestigation of a crime that took place more than 34 years ago.
According to the state attorney’s office, Holmes had been found guilty of serving as the getaway driver for two men who, on June 19, 1988, robbed two people at gunpoint and stole one of the victims’ cars just west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The identity of the two robbers is unknown.
In 2020, Holmes got in touch with the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) and assured the authorities that he was innocent. The CRU concluded that Holmes’ claim of innocence was credible at that point.
After reviewing Holmes’ case, CRU came to the conclusion that the initial investigation’s eyewitness identification of Holmes was probably mistaken and that there was no other evidence linking Holmes to the robbery.
According to Pryor, an investigation commissioned by the brother of one of the victims also revealed that Holmes’ Oldsmobile was probably mistakenly identified at the time and that significant differences between it and the robbers’ vehicle were disregarded.
Five out of the six members of the independent panel decided that Holmes was innocent and that his conviction should be overturned right away after the review.
Both of the case’s victims expressed the opinion that Holmes ought to be released. Deputies who were involved in the initial investigation were astounded to learn that Holmes had already served 34 years of a 400-year sentence.
The nonprofit OIC of South Florida is set to help Holmes with reintegration services along with job training and placement.