Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

Cornealious Anderson 
was never told to report to prison.

Cornealious Anderson was never told to report to prison.

ST. LOUIS — After he was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, Cornealious Anderson was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.

So Anderson didn't report. He spent the next 13 years turning his life around — getting married, raising three kids, learning a trade. He made no effort to conceal his identity or whereabouts. Anderson, 37, paid taxes and traffic tickets, renewed his driver's license and registered his businesses.

Not until last year did the Missouri Department of Corrections discover the clerical error that kept him free. Now he's fighting for release, saying authorities missed their chance to incarcerate him.

In a single day in July, Anderson's life was turned upside-down when a SWAT team arrived at his house. He was taken to Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Mo., to begin serving the sentence. A court appeal filed in February asks for him to be freed.

Anderson had just one arrest for marijuana possession on his record when he and a cousin robbed an assistant manager at a fast-food restaurant on Aug. 15, 1999, showing what turned out to be a BB gun.

Anderson was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison and waited for word on what to do next.

"His attorney said, 'Listen, they're going to get you some day, so just wait for the order,' " attorney Patrick Megaro said Wednesday. "As time goes by, the order never comes."

So Anderson went about his life. Megaro said he was not a fugitive, was never on the run. In fact, just the opposite.

Megaro described Anderson as a model citizen — a married father who became a carpenter and started three businesses. He paid income and property taxes and kept a driver's license showing his true name and address. When he was pulled over for a couple of traffic violations, nothing showed up indicating he should be in prison.

That's why Anderson was shocked when the marshals arrived.

"The real tragedy here is that one aspect of prison is the idea of rehabilitation," said Peter Joy, director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. "Here we have somebody who has led a perfect life for 13 years. He did everything right. So he doesn't need rehabilitation."

Armed robber was never told to report to prison 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. GOP health bill all but dead; McCain again deals the blow

    National

    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare," dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party's years of vows to kill the program.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in July.  McCain says he won't vote for the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law. His statement likely deals a fatal blow to the last-gasp GOP measure in a Senate showdown expected next week. [Associated Press]
  2. Yankees executive Jessica Steinbrenner seeks restraining order against ex-husband

    Civil

    TAMPA — Jessica Steinbrenner, a top executive with the New York Yankees and a daughter of the team's late owner George Steinbrenner, is seeking a restraining order against her ex-husband.

    New York Yankees excutive Jessica Steinbrenner, with her then-husband Felix Lopez Jr. in this 2008 photo, filed for a restraining order against Lopez in Hillsborough County last week. 
[Times files]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.

  4. Hurricane Maria maintains Category 3 strength approaching Bahamas

    Hurricanes

    Locals help clear debris from a road after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Thursday, September 21, 2017. As of Thursday evening, Maria was moving off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic with winds of 120 mph (195 kph). The storm was expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas late Thursday and early Friday. [Associated Press]
  5. Hurricane evacuations halted for lack of ambulances at VA's Young center

    Veterans

    As many as 30 patients who should have been evacuated from the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center were left behind during Hurricane Irma because the hospital and the county couldn't agree on where they should go.

    Lorraine Johnson-Mitchell, back home in St. Petersburg on Monday, said she watched in disbelief as hospital staff seemed to scramble without a plan to evacuate patients like her from the VA medical center in St. Petersburg before Hurricane Irma. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]