Alvin Kennard was 22 years old when he stole $50.75 from a Bessemer-area bakery. The Alabama resident was ultimately arrested and charged for the crime, which resulted in a life sentence without parole. Yes, you read that correctly. Kennard got a life sentence. For a $50 robbery.
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.
"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 AL.com, the man's disproportionately 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 mean his combined convictions made him eligible to receive a life sentence under the controversial act.
AL.com reports that 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."
Kennard's attorney Carla Crowder argued that her client had been "truly rehabilitated" during his time at Donaldson Correctional Facility. She reminded the court that Kennard 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.'"
Crowder reassured 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 Kennard to be processed by the Alabama Department of Corrections. She didn't say specifically when he would be released, but said he should return home "within a few days."