Alvin Kennard will walk out of prison after serving 36 years of a life sentence for stealing just over $50 from an Alabama bakery.
In 1983, 22-year-old Kennard held up a Bessemer bakery using a pocketknife before fleeing with exactly $50.75. He was charged with first-degree robbery. That wasn’t Kennard’s first run-in with the law. Newsweek reports in 1979, he pled guilty to three counts of second-degree burglary after breaking into an empty gas station.
Kennard was sentenced under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Act, which can result in a life sentence. Now 58, Kennard continued to serve his life sentence until a judge noticed his case and felt his crime didn’t justify the sentence.
His attorney Carla Crowder, also the executive director of the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, was elated the judge resentenced him to time served, but said there are hundreds of other men and women behind bars serving harsh sentences for minor crimes.
“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 told ABC. “As this state grapples with the Department of Justice involvement and unconstitutional prisons, I would hope our lawmakers, our courts and our governor would do more to address these injustices.”
Upon learning the news of his freedom, Kennard was overjoyed and also apologized to the court.
“I just want to say I’m sorry for what I did,” Kennard said. “I take responsibility for what I did in the past. I want the opportunity to get it right.”
It’s unclear when Kennard will be released as he must be processed out, however, he will reportedly reside with family in Bessemer and try to attain work as a carpenter