Teen accused of kidnapping, robbery has bond paid by advocacy groups

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 16-year-old girl had her bond paid after spending months behind bars without a trial.

Rosalyn Holmes is one of four teens accused of kidnapping and robbing a 28-year-old and his parents in January.

Investigators said Holmes and her three friends (two girls and two boys) used a gun to force the 28-year-old to drive to his parents' house. Once there, the teens stole guns from the home; they then forced the victims to take them to an ATM and withdraw money.

Holmes was 15 at the time.

For 43 days Holmes was housed in an empty wing of a women's prison more than 50 miles away from her home.

Her family couldn't afford bail, but her saving grace came from a non-profit based in our nation's capital.

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization shelled out $60,000 in cash to post her bail.

Local and national advocates latched on the Holmes' story as a way to point out problems with the justice system.

The advocates say her case highlights the inequalities of children being held in adult detention centers and the bond system that allows people with money to get out of jail in advance of trial.

Holmes has been behind bars since being arrested. Tennessee laws require children being tried as adults must be separated from teens who are being held in juvenile detention. Therefore, Holmes was shipped to Middle Tennessee and placed in an empty wing of the adult prison.

Wednesday, Holmes was released from jail after advocates from The Official Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group helped secure her $60,000 bond

The advocates helping Holmes said the system gives her very little to no chance at freedom or rehabilitation.

They said data shows people forced to serve extended pretrial detention are four times more likely to be convicted, and their sentences are three times longer than those who are released prior to trial.

The advocates also said children held in adult detention centers are more susceptible to abuse, at greater risk of suicide, and more likely to re-offend.

"It was really boring. It was real hard. I'm only 16. Something hard to deal with," Holmes said.

At this time, Holmes has not been indicted for the crimes she's accused of committing.

Rosalyn "Bird" Holmes' attorney said his client's case exemplifies two flaws in our justice system: how we handle juveniles charged as an adult and the cash-based bail system.

"Not only to free her and to reunite her with her friends and family, but to ensure she has a more just outcome and to make the point no human being should be put in a cage simply because they can't afford to post bail," Wade McMullen with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization, said.

"If at all possible before we consider guilt or innocence, we need to get people back to their life," Josh Spickler with Just City said.

Spickler, an attorney with Just City, said Holmes being bailed out solves another issue he's passionate about--keeping children charged as adults awaiting trial out of adult prisons.

"So this was a huge, huge thing to get her out where she can be with her family, where she can meet with her attorneys in the comfort of a lawyer's office," Spickler said.

Holmes still hasn't been formally charged or indicted for the crime. She just has one thing on her list.

"Just want to be with my family," she said.

In Shelby County, juveniles charged as adults cannot be housed with other juvenile detainees.

But that could all change in a matter of days if the governor signs the "safekeeping law" that sits on his desk.

Juveniles, no matter the crime, would have to be housed here at the nearest juvenile detention facility.

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