Man Never Served 13 Year Jail Sentence After Cops Forgot To Put Him In Prison

Man Never Served 13 Year Jail Sentence After Cops Forgot To Put Him In Prison

Cornealious Anderson’s story is a unique and surprising tale. Convicted and sentenced in 1999 for the armed robbery of a Burger King manager, Anderson was supposed to serve 13 years in prison. However, due to a clerical error, he was never taken to jail. After posting bail and unsuccessfully appealing his sentence, Anderson was inexplicably left to live his life without being incarcerated.

During these 13 years, Anderson lived openly, becoming a father of four, joining a church, starting a small business, and coaching youth football. He made no efforts to hide, and those involved in his case assumed he was in prison. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Missouri Department of Corrections discovered the oversight, leading to Anderson’s arrest by a SWAT team.


Recounting the moment to Jessica Lussenhop on NPR’s “This American Life,” Anderson described the shock of being woken by a team of marshals at 6 a.m., armed and ready to take him into custody. Anderson insisted they had the wrong person, but they confirmed he was the right individual.

After spending nine months in prison, Anderson’s request for release was granted by Judge Terry Lynn Brown, who acknowledged the positive changes in Anderson’s life during the years he was supposed to be incarcerated. This decision underscored the belief that Anderson had indeed become a changed man, leading to his eventual release and return to his family.