Man Who Spent 36 Years In Prison For Stealing $50 Is Set To Be Freed
Back in 1983, when Alvin Kennard was just 22, he was handed a life sentence without parole after stealing $50.75 (£41) from a bakery. He is now set to be freed, 36 years later.
It wasn't solely that crime that led to the now 58-year-old being eligible for the sentence, which came under Alabama's old Habitual Felony Offender Act, also known as the 'three strikes law'.
As well as the first degree robbery charge, he had previously been sentenced to three years probation for three counts of second-degree burglary in 1979.
Now, Kennard is set to be freed from jail after a judge ordered his release from Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama.
A recording from the courtroom showed the reaction of his family and friends as they leapt into the air when circuit judge David Carpenter re-sentenced him to time served.
Kennard's niece, Patricia Jones, told WBRC: "All of us [were] crying. We've been talking about it for, I don't know, 20-plus years, about being free."
Kennard's attorney, Carla Crowder, told ABC: "The judge in this case noticed how odd it seemed that someone was serving life without parole for a $50 robbery. This was a judge that kind of went out of his way."
In 1979, Kennard was 18 years old when he pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree burglary which related to a break-in at an unoccupied service station. This resulted to him being sentenced to three years' probation.
When it came to the bakery robbery - which was committed with a pocket knife and involved no injuries - he was sentenced to life, without the possibility of parole.
According to ABC News, if that crime had been committed today and current sentencing guidelines had been imposed, Kennard would have been eligible for a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 21.
Ms Crowder also added: "As incredible as this opportunity is for Mr. Kennard and as happy as we are for him, we know that there are hundreds of similarly situated incarcerated people in the state who don't have attorneys, who don't have a voice."
She went on: "When I first went to visit him the guard was chatting with me, and when he saw who I was visiting, he said, 'That's one that you could let him out and he wouldn't cause any more trouble.'"
At the moment, Kennard's case is still being processed so he remains in custody for the time being but should be released 'within a few days'.
Featured Image Credit: PA