In Alabama, stealing 50 bucks could get you a lifetime in jail.
Alvin Kennard was only 22 years old when he stole $50.75 from a Bessemer-area bakery. He was ultimately arrested and charged for the crime, which resulted in a life sentence without parole. All for $50.
On Wednesday, Circuit Judge David Carpenter re-sentenced the now-58-year-old to time served, meaning he’s set to be released within the upcoming days.
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“I just want to say I’m sorry for what I did,” Kennard told the judge during the hearing. “I take responsibility for what I did in the past. I want the opportunity to get it right.” According to reports from AL.com, the his insanely harsh sentence was triggered by the Habitual Felony Offender Act, aka the “three strikes law.” Kennard had previously been charged with burglary and grand larceny in connection to a gas station break-in, which means that his combined convictions made him eligible to receive a life sentence under the controversial act.
In 2013, Alabama changed their sentencing guidelines for cases that fell under the “three strikes law.” The outlet points out that if Kennard was sentenced for the alleged robbery today, “he would have been eligible for a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life with the possibility of parole.”
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During the hearing, Kennard’s attorney Carla Crowder argued that her client had been “truly rehabilitated” during his long stint at Donaldson Correctional Facility. She let the court know that he hadn’t received a behavior citation in 11 years or a prison disciplinary in 14 years.
“When I first went to visit [Kennard], the guard was chatting with me,” Crowder to ABC News, “and when he saw who I was visiting, he said, ‘That’s one that you could let him out and he wouldn’t cause any more trouble.’” She went on to reassure the judge that Kennard would do well in the outside world, as he has maintained relationships with his friends and family.
Crowder told ABC News the next step is for her client to be processed by the Alabama Department of Corrections. She didn’t let anyone in on when, specifically he would be released, but she did reveal that Alvin Kennard should return home “within a few days.”