This Thursday, prosecutors in Florida dropped all charges against a man who spent more than 34 years in prison for an armed robbery. According to a statement released by the Innocence Project of Florida, which worked on Sidney Holmes’ case, Holmes, now 57 years old, said,
“I never lost hope and always knew this day would come,” after learning he would be released. “I cannot wait to hug my mother in the free world for the first time in over 34 years.”
It was reported in November 2020 that Holmes had approached the Broward County state attorney’s office’s conviction review team, asserting his innocence of the 1988 crime.
According to the state attorney’s office, Holmes was arrested in October 1988 for allegedly participating in an armed robbery that took place in June 1988 outside of a convenience store in unincorporated Broward County, just west of Fort Lauderdale.
He was found guilty by a jury in April 1989 and sentenced the following month on charges of being the getaway driver for the two men who perpetrated the robbery. Holmes’ case was reexamined by the review unit and the Innocence Project of Florida, and their findings “raised reasonable questions about his guilt,” the office stated.
Have a read through the following articles, which you can access through the links that are provided further down:
- 28-Year-Old Woman’s Body was Discovered Beaten to Death in a Brooklyn Residence
- Man From New Jersey is Accused of Killing his Parents at Their house With a Knife
- In Riverside County, 4 Guys are in Jail For the Murder of a 34-Year-Old Man
The Innocence Project of Florida, Holmes was arrested due to “A strange set of circumstances” that included a victim’s description of a brown Oldsmobile Cutlass with a tan top and a hole in the trunk as having been used in the robbery.
The victim’s brother said weeks later that he had seen a brown Cutlass traveling down a road. It was Holmes’ automobile, the Innocence Project claimed. Lawyers for Holmes claimed that he had an alibi and that their client’s car was distinguishable from the one used by the criminals.
The Innocence Project found “There was no physical or scientific evidence, nor any corroborating witnesses, linking Mr. Holmes to the crime,” disproving Holmes’ guilt. According to the attorneys’ statement, Holmes was eventually picked out of a second lineup of photos by one of the victims who had initially failed to recognize him.
Prosecutors, after reviewing the case again, “decided that Holmes had a plausible claim of innocence because of how he became a suspect and because of the fragile eyewitness identification that was the major evidence against him at trial,” Said state attorney’s office.
“The Broward state attorney’s office would not have charged Holmes if the case were presented today,” the conviction review unit concluded in its final memorandum on the case. On Monday, a judge granted the state’s attorney’s office and the Innocence Project’s motion to have Holmes’ sentence and conviction overturned, and prosecutors dropped the case, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
A Broward County prison center released Holmes that afternoon, and he ran straight into his mother’s arms and his family’s loving embrace. “We have one rule here at the Broward state attorney’s office – do the right thing, always,” and he praised the “candor and assistance” of the victims, witnesses, and officers in the reinvestigation.
Seth Miller, executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida and one of Holmes’ co-counsels, released a statement thanking Pryor and the conviction review team for “objectively reviewing old cases” and “giving Sidney his life back.”
Never Miss a Beat: Save the California Examiner to Your Favorites to Keep It Conveniently Located Only One Click Away