Tuesday, April 22, 2014
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man who avoided prison because of a clerical error and led a law-abiding life for more than a decade before he was locked up last year is asking a Missouri judge to set him free.
A petition filed by Cornealious Michael Anderson in Mississippi County Circuit Court on Tuesday seeks to require the Missouri Department of Corrections to credit the 13 years he was technically at large after a May 2000 armed robbery conviction in suburban St. Louis.
It's a legal option previously suggested by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, who at the same time defended the state's decision to imprison Anderson. Anderson's Florida-based attorney had previously said he was skeptical of that strategy.
"There may be a way to make this fit," said lawyer Patrick Megaro, who has already filed a separate petition seeking Anderson's release and is seeking clemency from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
"It doesn't matter to me which way he gets home, whether it's by land or by sea," Megaro said.
A spokesman for the state Department of Corrections did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Anderson's petition.
A hearing on the new request is scheduled for May 5 in Charleston, where Anderson, 37, has been imprisoned since July 2013 at the Southeast Correctional Center.
He was told after his conviction for holding up a Burger King to await instructions on when and where to report to prison — instructions that never came. He subsequently got married twice, raised four children, trained as a carpenter and started a home improvement company. Anderson made no effort to conceal his identity, paying taxes and traffic tickets while maintaining a state driver's license.
Follow Alan Scher Zagier on Twitter at http://twitter.com/azagier