FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On Monday, Sidney Holmes got his first taste of freedom in 34 years.
“I know this day was gonna come sooner or later, and today is the day,” he said.
The emotional moment got the best of Holmes’ mother, who in 1989, watched her then-23-year old son be convicted for a crime he did not commit.
Holmes is now 57 years old and finally a free man.
“I can’t put it into words,” he said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Earlier Monday, Holmes shed a tear as a judge tossed out his armed robbery conviction and 400 year prison sentence.
He was accused of driving two men who robbed a couple at gunpoint outside a Fort Lauderdale convenience store. The thieves were never found.
Holmes’ own persistence about his innocence led to an investigation by the Broward State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit, which found he did have an alibi and that a shaky witness misidentified him and his car.
“Ultimately, all of us came to the same conclusion that this man was wrongfully convicted and this man should not have been in prison, and we needed to get him out right now,” said Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor.
Holmes is now grateful for a chance at a fresh start without feeling any animosity or anger despite the decades of lost time.
“With the Christian faith I have, I can’t have hate,” he said. “Just have to keep moving.”