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Judge Orders Felon's Release, Calls Him 'Changed Man'

09-08-2014
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A Missouri man convicted of a robbery more than a decade ago not only escaped a prison sentenced, but now walks free with the support of his victim.

In 2002, Cornealious "Mike" Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in prison for armed robbery. But the order for him to go to prison never came through due to a clerical error.

"Day by day, month by month, year by year, time passed, and they never picked me up," he said.

Anderson said at one point, he even asked his attorney what he should do after not being called to report to prison, but the attorney said to just keep waiting.

While he waited, Anderson got his act together, leading a crime-free life, starting a family, a business, coaching youth football, and volunteering at his church.

Finally, last July, the state caught the error, tracked Anderson down and arrested him.

Anderson's hearing lasted about 10 minutes before the judge ordered his release, saying the life he's led as a husband, businessman, and community volunteer shows he is a good and changed man.

"Just so thankful, thank God for everything," Anderson said.

"I'm very, very happy, very happy and again I thank everybody for all their support," Anderson's wife, LaQonna, said

Last month, Anderson's case garnered international attention, with more than 35,000 people signing an online petition, urging the state to set him free.

The victim of the armed robbery also supported Anderson's release.

"This was not an easy case," Anderson's lawyer, Patrick Megaro, said. "I believe it teaches us that justice can be swift, justice can be harsh, but justice also can be merciful."

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