BESSEMER, Alabama — An Alabama man sentenced to life in prison for stealing $50.75 will have his time cut short after being resentenced to time served.
Fifty-eight year-old Alvin Kennard was ordered to be released from prison Wednesday after serving 36 years and was set to be processed out by the Alabama Department of Corrections. It’s unclear when Kennard will be released.
Kenard had been 22-year-old when he entered prison after being convicted of first-degree robbery in 1983.
Court records say Kennard was sentenced to life under Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offender Act — also known as the “three strikes law” — for stealing from a bakery. Kennard had previously served three years’ probation for burglary and grand larceny, making him eligible to be sentenced to life without parole under the act.
Kennard’s attorney Carla Crowder argued that he would’ve received a 20-year max sentence under new sentencing guidelines.
Ahead of his resentencing, Kennard told the court, “I just want to say I’m sorry for what I did… I take responsibility for what I did in the past. I want the opportunity to get it right.”
Crowder said her client was “overwhelmed” upon hearing the ruling.
“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,” The Guardian quoted her as having said. “He is overwhelmed at this opportunity, but has remained close with his family, so he has incredible support.”
“All of us [were] crying,” Kennard’s niece, Patricia Jones, told the WBRC local Fox news TV station. “We’ve been talking about it for, I don’t know, 20-plus years, about being free.”
Crowder claimed there were hundreds of other people in Alabama currently serving life without parole for non-violent crimes because they haven’t been given proper legal representation.
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