TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man reunited with his family after spending 34 years in prison for a robbery he did not commit, WTVJ reported.
In 1988, Sidney Holmes, now 57, was accused of being the getaway driver for two men who robbed two people at gunpoint outside a convenience store in Broward County. Following a jury trial in 1989, Holmes was convicted and given a 400-year sentence.
In November 2020, Holmes reached out to the Broward State Attorney’s Office conviction review unit and asked them to look at his case. With the help of the Innocence Project of Florida, the CRU investigated the matter and determined Holmes was likely misidentified in a police line-up, and the misidentification of his vehicle, an extremely common Oldsmobile, may have contributed to his conviction.
“There is no evidence tying Mr. Holmes to the robbery other than a flawed identification,” said Arielle Demby Berger, the assistant state attorney in charge of the CRU, according to the Miami Herald.
A judge overturned his conviction on Monday and set Holmes free. His whole family was overcome with emotion when they reunited with Holmes outside the jail.
“It’s surreal,” Holmes told reporters. “I never would give up hope. I knew this day was going to come sooner or later and today is the day.”
A video shows Holmes hugging family members, some crying tears of joy.
“I’m just so grateful to God. I’m just so grateful to everybody that made this possible,” his mother, Mary Holmes said.
“I can’t put into words, it’s overwhelming,” Holmes said. “I can’t have hate, just have to keep moving.”