A man named Sidney Holmes, aged 57, was freed on Monday after serving more than three decades of a 400-year prison sentence for a 1988 armed robbery charge, for which he was accused of being the getaway driver. Holmes was convicted in April 1989, but recently contacted the State Attorney's Conviction Review Unit (CRU) and claimed his innocence. The CRU determined that Holmes had a plausible claim of innocence and that eyewitness identification of Holmes during the initial investigation was likely incorrect. An investigation launched by the brother of one of the victims also found that key differences between Holmes' car and the one used by the robbers were overlooked at the time of the initial investigation. Based on these findings, five of six independent panelists voted that Holmes was innocent and his conviction should be thrown out immediately. The victims in the case and deputies involved in the original investigation expressed shock that Holmes had served 34 years in prison and had been sentenced to 400 years. The nonprofit OIC of South Florida will help Holmes with reintegration services, job training, and placement.
Photo Credit: Denny Müller