FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A man who was sentenced to 400 years in prison was finally set free after spending nearly 35 years behind bars.
Sidney Holmes, 57, was exonerated Monday in South Florida after a wrongful conviction for a 1988 armed robbery in Broward County, the Miami Herald reports. Family members were able to greet him while crying tears of joy after he was officially a free man.
Holmes told reporters he felt overwhelmed, and he was also very clear about what he wanted to do first, the media outlet says.
"I’m going to find something to eat,” he said.
Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said in a written statement that the Broward State Attorney's Office has one rule which is to do the right thing.
"Our Conviction Review Unit is dedicated to seeking the truth and reviewing plausible claims of innocence from people who have exhausted all of their rights to appeal and have nowhere left to turn," Pryor said in the statement. "We review each case with an open mind, with no preconceptions, and we follow the evidence wherever it goes."
The 57-year-old contacted the Broward State Attorney's Office Review Unit in November 2020, CBS Miami reports. He reportedly asserted his innocence in the June 19, 1988, armed robbery.
Back in 1988, a man and woman were robbed outside the One Stop store. Holmes was arrested months later on Oct. 6, 1988, and was convicted after a jury trial the following year, the media outlet explains.
He was found guilty of being the driver for two men who robbed the pair. Prosecutors reportedly determined Holmes had a "plausible claim of innocence" because of how he ultimately became a suspect.
Altogether, prosecutors argued that there was no evidence fully linking the then 23-year-old to the robbery other than faulty identification of him as a suspect.