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Man Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In Prison

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 30 Aug 2019 10:49
Man Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonMan Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonWBRC/Jefferson County Jail

A man who was sentenced to life behind bars without parole for stealing $50.75 from a bakery in his 20s is set to be released after serving 36 years in prison, according to reports.

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Alvin Kennard was convicted of first degree robbery when he was just 22 years old was first imprisoned in 1983.

Now, the 58-year-old will finally be freed after a judge ordered his release from Donaldson correctional facility in Bessemer, Alabama.

Man Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonMan Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonJefferson County Jail

Kennard’s sentence was said to be unusually harsh under Alabama’s old Habitual Felony Offender Act, which is commonly referred to as the ‘three strikes law’. He had previously been sentenced to three years probation for three counts of second-degree burglary in 1979.

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The prisoner’s friends and family all cheered when circuit judge David Carpenter re-sentenced him to time served on Wednesday.

His 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.

He says he wants to get him a job, he wants to support himself, and we’re going to support him.

Kennard previously worked in carpentry and construction, and reportedly told the judge he’d like to continue in this line of work.

Man Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonMan Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonWBRC

His attorney, Carla Crowder, who is also the executive director of the Alabama Appleseed Centre for Law and Justice, said Kennard was ‘overwhelmed’ by the result of his re-sentencing.

As per The Guardian, she said:

What’s extraordinary about Mr Kennard is that even when he thought he was going to be in prison for the rest of his life, he really turned his life around.

He is overwhelmed at this opportunity, but has remained close with his family, so he has incredible support.

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Man Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonMan Given Life Sentence For Stealing $50 Freed After 36 Years In prisonPA Images

Crowder was appointed to Kennard’s case after it was spotted by a compassionate judge, and she says there are still hundreds of prisoners in similar situations because they do not have their own attorneys.

She said:

It’s incredibly unfair and unjust the hundreds of people in Alabama serving life without parole for nonviolent, non-homicide crimes.

Alabama’s three strikes law has resulted in longer sentences for around 27 per cent of inmates serving time in the state’s prison system. Many people believe the law is overly harsh and has contributed to overcrowding in facilities.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, alabama, re-sentence, Theft, three strike rule

Credits

WBRC and 1 other
  1. WBRC

    Bessemer man, serving life in prison, to be freed after 35 years in prison

  2. The Guardian

    Alabama man who served 36 years of a life sentence for stealing $50 to be freed