Man to walk free after 36-year prison term for stealing £41

Man to walk free after 36-year prison term for stealing £41

He robbed a bakery of $50.

Then-22-year-old Alvin Kennard was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 1984 due to an Alabama state law requiring a fourth-time offender to receive the harsh sentence. Under Alabama's old three strikes law he has been in prison since 1983 on a sentence of Life Without Parole. Alabama state law apparently at the time mandated that since it was his fourth offense, the judge was required to sentence him to life in prison.

Kennard's attorney, Carla Crowder, tells ABC that Judge David Carpenter "went out of his way" to deal with the case after noticing "how odd it seemed that someone was serving life without parole for a $50 robbery". This resulted to him being sentenced to three years' probation.

Based on the articles I've read about this case, it appears that the version of the Habitual Offender Act that was in place at the time gave the Judge no discretion in the sentence that was applied upon his conviction in the bakery robbery matter.

"All of us [were] crying", his niece, Patricia Jones, told WBRC.

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. She argued that if her client had been sentenced today, he would have received a maximum sentence of about 20 years, the station reported.

He was sentenced to life in prison decades ago after stealing $50.

It remains unclear when Kennard will be released.

"I just want to say I'm sorry for what I did", he told the court.

Kennard, who previously worked in carpentry and construction, reportedly told the judge he wants to work as a carpenter. "I take responsibility for what I did in the past".

His family and friends jumped up, cheering and hugging him as the ruling was made.

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

"We have no doubt that he would do well on the outside", she said.

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