Cornealious "Mike" Anderson was supposed to go to prison in 2002—but due to, he says, a "clerical error," the Missouri man just started serving his 13-year prison sentence nine months ago. Anderson was convicted in a 1999 armed robbery, and was supposed to go to prison after he exhausted all his appeals. But the state never ordered Anderson to prison, because it somehow mistakenly believed he was already there, CBS News reports. Then, when the time came for what should have been Anderson's discharge date last summer, the state realized it couldn't discharge him ... because he had never been in prison. Anderson had made no attempt to hide over the ensuing years—he got married and is a father of four, started a contracting business, and built a house—where he was re-arrested in July.
Anderson's attorneys have filed a motion arguing that after so long, jailing Anderson amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and thus he should be released. Even Anderson's victim agrees, as do the more than 11,000 supporters who've signed an online petition calling for Anderson's release. The state attorney general is expected to respond Tuesday. Anderson, now 37, was 22 when he and a friend robbed a St. Louis Burger King night manager at gunpoint, the New York Post reports. No one was hurt, but the victim talked to the Riverfront Times after Anderson went to prison last year and said that he was emotionally "screwed up" by the crime. Even so, he says it "doesn't seem right" that Anderson should have to go through this ordeal because of a government error. (Anderson may not have fled the law, but this female fugitive—who was caught last month on a Florida houseboat 18 years after her conviction—most definitely did.)