Alabama man goes free after resentencing for $50 robbery

Bessemer man home after spending more than 35 years in prison for a $50 robbery

A man who was sentenced to life in prison for robbing a bakery of US$50.75 more than three decades ago is set to be released.

Assistant District Attorney Bill North said, according to ABC News, that Kennard's good behavior in prison played a role in the judge's decision when, on Wednesday, the judge chose to change Kennard's sentence to time served and prompt his release.

Kennard, now 58, was convicted of first-degree robbery in connection with the January 1983 theft at Highlands Bakery and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, under Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act, AL.com reported.

The reason Kennard was sentenced to life without parole in the first place was because he had been previously convicted of three non-violent crimes tied to a break-in at an unoccupied service station in 1979, when he was 18 years old.

Crowder told ABC News she recently got involved in Kennard's case when Carpenter asked her to take a look at it.

She said Kennard plans to live with his family after his release and work in carpentry. "I want the opportunity to get it right".

His sentence stemmed from Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act, or "three strikes law", which was enacted in the 1970s to punish repeat offenders.

"I'm sorry for what I did", Alvin Kennard told Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff Circuit Judge David Carpenter on Wednesday.

His niece, Patricia Jones, told the local Fox News affiliate that they have been talking about his freedom for "20-plus years".

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. "I just threw my hands up and said, "God, I thank you, I thank you".

Several friends and family were in court to support Kennard on Wednesday. This resulted to him being sentenced to three years' probation. Kennard has spent the past 36 years in the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama. "He wants to be forgiven for what he had done and he wants the opportunity to come back and learn how to survive".

Crowder, who was appointed to Kennard's case after it was spotted by a compassionate judge, said there are "hundreds" of prisoners in similar situations still imprisoned because they do not have attorneys.

"It means a lot for me that you are taking responsibility for what you have done", the judge said, according to WIAT.

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