Man Serving 400-Year Sentence for Armed Robbery Exonerated

Man Serving 400-Year Sentence for Armed Robbery Exonerated After 34 Years in Prison

A man who served 34 years of a 400-year sentence has been freed from prison after a case of mistaken identity was unearthed.

Sidney Holmes walked free on Monday after serving over three decades. Holmes was convicted in April 1989 for allegedly being the getaway driver the year prior during the armed robbery of two men near Fort Lauderdale. Investigators at the time relied on an eyewitness that claimed Holmes was behind the wheel and quickly drove off with the two assailants. The actual thieves were never found.

In 2020, Holmes contacted the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit and pleaded with them to take a look at his case. They agreed, and during their review, several disturbing factors were unearthed. A witness who identified Holmes as the driver had likely mistaken him for someone else. There was no evidence linking him to the crime in any way. Even the victims felt that Holmes was not the correct suspect, noting differences between Holmes’ Oldsmobile and the actual getaway vehicles used by the burglars. A six-person panel agreed that Holmes was indeed innocent.

Speaking with ABC affiliate WPLG after walking free from prison, Holmes said he was overwhelmed by the entire ordeal.

“I can’t put it into words,” Holmes said, relying on his faith to keep him from feeling resentment about his harsh sentence.

Holmes was sentenced harshly due to prior robbery arrests. He was convicted by a jury, despite no physical evidence linking him to the crime. The prosecution requested the lengthy sentence so there would be no chance of parole.

The OIC of South Florida, a nonprofit that assists people with job placement and self-sufficiency, will help Holmes successfully re-enter society.

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