Cornealious “Mike” Anderson is a free man once again.
Back in 2000, the Missouri resident was sentenced to 13 years in prison for holding up a man with a gun. Anderson was 23 at the time and was told to await orders on when to show up to prison.
Thirteen years went by and he never received notice. According to the AP, in the meantime, Anderson started a construction business, got married, had children and volunteered at his church near St. Louis.
Then in 2013, the state noticed the clerical error and summoned him to jail. Today, after 10 months behind bars, a judge gave him back his freedom.
“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.”
In a statement, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said he was pleased with the outcome.
“From the outset, I have proposed a solution that balances the seriousness of Mr. Anderson’s crime with the mistake made by the criminal justice system and Mr. Anderson’s lack of a criminal record over the past 13 years,” Koster said. “Today’s outcome appears to appropriately balance the facts as we understand them.”
Update at 2:08 p.m. ET. Mike Anderson On This American Life:
A sharp reader points out that Mike Anderson’s story was featured on This American Life. His story begins at the 32-minute mark: