By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
MIAMI, USA (Worthy News) – A Christian Black man who served over 34 years of a 400-year prison sentence was free Wednesday after the U.S. state of Florida reinvestigated the case and determined he did not commit armed robbery.
“I can’t put it into words,” said Sidney Holmes, now 57, in an interview with ABC broadcaster affiliate WPLG after he was exonerated and freed on Monday. “It’s overwhelming.”
Broward County State Attorney Harold F. Pryor said a thorough reinvestigation of the 1988 armed robbery case that led to Holmes’ conviction “raised reasonable doubts about his guilt.”
Holmes, 57, cried after he was acquitted in a Broward County courtroom. However, he also stressed: “With the Christian faith I have, I can’t have hate. Just have to keep moving.”
Holmes was detained in October 1988 for allegedly being the driver for two unidentified men who robbed a man and woman at gunpoint outside a store, according to Pryor.
The two unidentified men stole the male victim’s car.
However, a recent two-and-a-half-year investigation with the Broward State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) started when Holmes wrote to the Innocence Project of Florida to appeal his case, continuing to proclaim his innocence.
The organization said they found several “indicators of actual innocence.”
It stressed that investigators disregarded Holmes’ whereabouts at the time of the crime, which family members had verified.
Based on a review of the case, five of six independent panelists voted that Holmes was innocent and his conviction should be immediately overturned.
Holmes walked out of prison Monday to greet his family, with his mom, aunts, and other family members waiting for him outside Broward County’s Main Jail.
He had served most of his time at Everglades Correctional Institution in West Miami-Dade.