A Missouri man was imprisoned last year when officials realized he'd never actually served the 13-year sentence he'd been handed 14 years ago. But now he's a free man in the eyes of the law.
Cornealious "Mike" Anderson stayed out of prison for 13 years because of a clerical error. He spent the 13 years between sentencing and imprisonment setting his life straight, he said, and his lawyers argued he didn't deserve punishment now for a crime he committed before that rehabilitation.
A Change.org petition received almost 36,000 signers in support of releasing Anderson. The petition claims he was "ripped from his home" without warning.
And Monday, according to NBC, a judge agreed — saying Anderson has "been a good father ... been a good husband ... been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri."
Anderson had been convicted for a 1999 armed robbery incident. After his appeals were denied, he tried to turn himself in. But because of a clerical error, he never went to prison until last July, when officials realized their error.
He was 23 when he was convicted. In the years since then, he got married and started a family, opened a construction business, became a youth football coach and volunteered at his church in Webster Groves. (Via KMOV)
ANDERSON: "It's been tough for my family ... Just so thankful, thank God for everything." (ViaKSDK)
After the decision freeing him, Anderson walked out of the courtroom with his wife, 3-year-old daughter and grandmother. (Via KFVS)
According to the Riverfront Times, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the decision "appears to appropriately balance the facts as we understand them."
The victim of the armed robbery for which Anderson was convicted said he agrees with the logic behind the release. According to Anderson's attorney, a clerical mistake like this hasn't happened in Missouri since 1912.