Man gets a 400-year prison term for being a getaway driver in an armed robbery; 34 years later authorities “admit” evidence was not compelling
A man was sentenced to 400 years in prison for being the getaway driver in an armed robbery. But after 34 years, he was released from prison on Monday, much to the joy of his family, in a very shocking turn of events.
The 57-year-old Sidney had been convicted in April of 1989 for his alleged involvement in a 1988 robbery in which he was accused of being the getaway driver for two men who robbed two people at gunpoint and stole one of the victims’ cars. The two robbers remain unidentified. However, after more than three decades behind bars, his claims of innocence were finally validated, and justice was served.
Sidney contacted the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) in 2020 and told investigators he was innocent. Sidney’s release from prison was the result of a tireless investigation by the State Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU), which determined that he had a plausible claim of innocence. During their review of the case, the CRU found that eyewitness identification of Sidney during the initial investigation was likely incorrect and that there was no evidence connecting him to the robbery outside of the flawed identification. Additionally, an investigation launched by the brother of one of the victims also found that key differences between Sidney’s car and the one used by the robbers were overlooked at the time.
Despite the years of wrongful imprisonment, Sidney remained resolute in his belief in his own innocence, and his perseverance ultimately led to his freedom. He was greeted with open arms by his family upon his release, and expressed his first desire to enjoy a much-needed meal. In a statement, State Attorney Harold praised the efforts of all those involved in the case, from victims to witnesses to law enforcement officers, in bringing about a just outcome.
“We have one rule here at the State Attorney’s Office – do the right thing, always. As prosecutors, our only agenda is to promote public safety in our community and to ensure that justice is served,” State Attorney Harold said in a statement. “I commend the victims, witnesses, and law enforcement officers for their candor and assistance in reinvestigating a crime that occurred more than 34 years ago.”
The nonprofit OIC has pledged to provide Sidney with reintegration services, job training, and placement, as he seeks to rebuild his life after his ordeal. The release of Sidney represents a triumph of justice and a beacon of hope for all those who have suffered wrongful imprisonment.