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Man serving 400 years in jail freed as he’s found not guilty after 34 years; check out his first reaction

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Following his exoneration on Monday, a man from Florida who had spent the previous 34 years of his life imprisoned was able to walk out of court in Fort Lauderdale as a free man.

In 1988, Sidney Holmes, then 57 years old, was found guilty of committing an armed robbery in Broward County, Florida, and received a sentence of 400 years in prison.

This week, he was granted his freedom following a new investigation into his conviction that was conducted by the state’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) and the Innocence Project of Florida.

According to a press release issued by the Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor, Holmes was taken into custody on October 6, 1988, tried and found guilty by a jury in April 1989, and then given his sentence in the month after that.

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He was convicted of being the driver for two unknown men who robbed a man and a woman at gunpoint outside of a convenience store.

The robbery occurred in the parking lot of the convenience store. The vehicle belonging to the male victim was taken by two men who have not been identified.

In his communication with the CRU in November 2020, Holmes asserted that he was not guilty of the crime, which is what prompted this investigation to be looked into again.

According to the Miami Herald, Arielle Demby Berger, the assistant state attorney in charge of the CRU, told reporters on Monday that there is no evidence linking Mr. Holmes to the robbery other than a flawed identification. Berger’s comments were reported by the Miami Herald.

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According to what the CRU found, Holmes being named as the suspect was probably a case of mistaken identity. This was likely caused in part by the fact that police often used photo lineups and live lineups at the time.

The information that Pryor, the CRU, and an independent review panel looked at all led them to the same conclusion: that the information provided a “reasonable doubt” as to Holmes’ guilt, and that the State Attorney’s Office would not charge him today based on the facts that they found.

On Monday, a release order for Holmes was approved and signed by Judge Edward Merrigan of the Circuit Court.

Following his release, Holmes stated to a local affiliate of ABC, WPLG, that “I can’t put it into words.” “It’s too much for me to handle.”

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