Man Freed in Missouri Delayed Imprisonment Case
By Jim Salter
CHARLESTON, Mo. — A Missouri judge ordered the state to set free a man who was convicted of robbery in 2000 but was never sent to prison until a clerical mistake was discovered last year.
Cornealious “Mike” Anderson was 23 when he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in the robbery of a fast-food restaurant’s assistant manager. He told The Associated Press last month that he waited, and even asked about going to prison, but the order never came.
In the years since his conviction, Anderson started his own construction-related businesses, married and had children. He also coached youth football and volunteered at his church in Webster Groves, Missouri.
Judge Terry Lynn Brown lauded Anderson’s “exemplary” behavior during his 13 years of freedom before the arrest. “You’ve been a good father. You’ve been a good husband. You’ve been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri.
“That leads me to believe that you are a good man and a changed man.”
As the judge announced his decision, about 10 of Anderson’s relatives broke out in sobs and cried. Anderson stared straight ahead but dabbed tears from his eyes. Afterward, he hugged his toddler daughter tight. The hearing lasted about 10 minutes.
Anderson walked out of the courtroom with his wife and 3-year-old daughter on one arm and his mom on the other. Before being driven away to a freedom celebration at an undisclosed spot, Anderson told reporters he was “very happy. My faith has always been in God. I’m just so thankful. Thank God for everything.”
Missouri assistant Attorney General Michael Spillane told Brown the court should consider the seriousness of Anderson’s crime, “but also Anderson’s behavior over the 13 years of his freedom and the impact that imprisonment would have on his family.”
The judge said rather than Anderson being granted parole, he would get credit for the 4,794 days between when he was convicted and when he was arrested last year.