Man released after serving 34 years on felony charges, he has committed no dreams, start a business, travel

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Internet was known as the World Wide Web when a Broward County judge sentenced Sidney Holmes to 400 years in state prison in 1989 for a crime prosecutors recently found he had not committed.

The use of GPS over Bluetooth, drones, hybrid and self-driving cars, 3D printing, Apple Pay, and Bitcoin evolved while Holmes spent more than 34 years behind bars.

“Everything is very different; it’s changed,” said Holmes, 57, on Tuesday.

Holmes left Broward County Main Jail a free man around 6 p.m. Monday. He rushed to the arms of his mother, Mary Holmes. His father and grandfather died while he was in prison.

“Holmes’ exoneration is not due to the system, but despite the system, it took him many years to stand up for himself without anyone listening to him,” attorney Seth Miller said Tuesday.

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping innocent prisoners, has identified issues with the case, according to Miller, the executive director of the Florida Innocence Project.

The Broward State Attorney’s Conviction Review Division worked with the Innocence Project with the help of a federal grantsaid prosecutor Harold F. Pryor, who called Holmes’ identification as a suspect “scientifically unreliable, but the deputies followed accepted standards at the time.”

Detectives arrested Holmes in 1988 after accusing him of working with two gunmen near the intersection of Northwest Sixth Street and 27 Avenue, according to prosecutors. The area is now home to the African-American Research Library And Cultural Center and the Urban League of Broward County.

Deputies never identified the gunmen who actually held the victims at gunpoint and advanced the case against Holmes after the victim’s brother, who did not witness the crime, saw Holmes driving a popular Oldsmobile Cutlass and accused him without evidence .

One of the victims did not identify Holmes from an initial photo lineup, and the other said she never saw him, according to Broward prosecutors Persuasion Unit memo dated February 20th.

“I’m not crazy,” Holmes later said, adding, “What would crazy do for me?”

Broward Circuit Judge Edward Merrigan signed an order authorizing a request for his release. Holmes was in tears in the courtroom on Monday and later smiled as he left prison to eat seafood at Olive Garden.

On Tuesday, Holmes was still thinking about food and his plans for the future.

“I want to own a company. I want to own a restaurant business, a truck, you know, a food truck,” Holmes said, adding that he also dreams of vacationing around the world with his family.

Read the concluding memo from the Conviction Review Unit

Check out Monday’s afternoon report

Check out Monday’s night report

Check out the raw video of his release

Copyright 2023 by WPLG – All rights reserved. Man released after serving 34 years on felony charges, he has committed no dreams, start a business, travel

Sarah Y. Kim

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