The man who wasn’t there

13 years ago, Cornealious Anderson was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 13 years in jail. Due to at least a handful of procedural mistakes and/or oversights by the state of Missouri, Anderson was never taken into custody and put into prison. Recently, the Missouri Department of Corrections began the process of releasing Anderson, only to find he was not there.

For more than a decade, Anderson was supposed to have been in a Missouri prison cell. Instead, through some kind of massive procedural screwup, he was out walking among us. Finding him would have been a trivially easy task for police: He was possibly the worst fugitive of all time. He didn’t change his name. He didn’t leave town. In fact, his address is just two blocks away from the last one the court system had for him. It is where he built his house from the ground up — the home with the granite countertops and the trampoline out back. He registered his contracting business with the secretary of state to that address.

In the time since his conviction, Anderson has completely turned his life around and according to all his friends is a model husband, father, and community member. As the prosecutor says, “As unfair as it may seem to he and his family, he’s got thirteen years he owes the state. I don’t think there’s much more to say than that.” Anderson’s father on the other hand, points out, “If the point of incarceration is rehabilitation, the job’s already done.” I wonder how this will all work out.

Via Long Reads

The man who wasn’t there

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