On Monday, a man who had been convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 400 years in pr*ison was released after being found not gui*lty. Sidney Holmes, 57, was found gu*ilty in April 1989 of being the getaway driver in a 1988 robbery.
When Holmes arrived home on Monday and was greeted by his family, he stated that his first priority was to get some food.
Our only rule at the Broward State Attorney’s Office is to always do the right thing. “As prosecutors, our only agenda is to promote public safety in our community and to ensure that justice is served,” Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said in a statement. I want to thank the victims, witnesses, and law enforcement for being open and cooperative in the investigation of a crime that occurred more than 34 years ago.
According to the state attorney’s office, Holmes was found gu*ilty of acting as a getaway driver for two men who robbed two people at gunpoint and stole one of the victims’ cars on June 19, 1988, just west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The two robbers’ identities are unknown.
In 2020, Holmes contacted the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) and informed them that he was innocent. At the time, the CRU concluded that Holmes’ claim of innocence was credible.
CRU concluded after reviewing Holmes’ case that the initial investigation’s eyewitness identification of Holmes was most likely incorrect and that there was no other evidence linking Holmes to the robbery.
An investigation commissioned by the brother of one of the victims, according to Pryor, also revealed that Holmes’ Oldsmobile was most likely misidentified at the time and that significant differences between it and the robbers’ vehicle were ignored.
Five of the independent panel’s six members decided that Holmes was innocent and that his conviction should be overturned immediately following the review.
Both of the victims in the case believe Holmes should be released. Deputies involved in the initial investigation were taken aback when they discovered Holmes had already served 34 years of a 400-year sentence.
The nonprofit OIC of South Florida has agreed to assist Holmes with reintegration services as well as job training and placement.