A South Florida man was released from custody Monday after serving 34 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Sidney Holmes dreamed of this moment for decades.
“I knew this day was going to come, sooner or later,” Holmes said. “Today is the day.”
When he walked out of custody, family members embraced him one by one.
His mother, Mary Holmes, cried tears of joy.
“I’m just so grateful to God,” she said. “I’m just so grateful to everybody that made this possible.”
“I’m excited to see my big cousin come home and just happy for him to be here,” cousin Kevin Hill said. “I can’t wait for the second half of life to start.”
Holmes was arrested in 1988 and convicted the following year of being the getaway driver for two men who robbed a man and woman at gunpoint outside a store and stole their car near Fort Lauderdale.
Holmes, now 57, was sentenced to 400 years in state prison.
Officials said he contacted the state attorney’s conviction review unit in 2020.
After investigating, they found that there was no evidence linking Holmes to the robbery and that eyewitnesses likely confused him with someone else.
“We had the opportunity to exonerate a man who’s been in prison wrongfully,” Broward County State Attorney Harold Pryor said. “We had the opportunity to do the right thing today, to right a wrong.”
Once he learned he was finally free, Holmes broke down in tears while in court Monday, embracing Pryor.
“No longer is the wrong man confined to a Florida state prison,” Pryor said.
Holmes said he wasn’t ready to comment directly on serving so much time for something he didn’t do.
For now, he’s said he’s just grateful to everyone who helped him get out.
Investigators found that Holmes was likely a victim of mistaken identity and that there was no evidence linking him to the crime.
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