A happy ending for the man who was sent to prison 11 years late—and after turning his life around: Cornealious "Mike" Anderson is once again a free man. A Missouri judge today ordered the state to release Anderson, who was convicted of robbery in 2000 but only sent to jail last year, thanks to a clerical error. Anderson, who was originally sentenced to 13 years in prison for the crime, which took place when he was 23, never tried to run from the law—in fact, he tells the AP, he even asked his attorney about going to prison, but was never ordered there.
So he went on to start construction-related businesses, have a family, volunteer at his church, and coach youth football—and the judge today lauded all of that. "You've been a good father. You've been a good husband. You've been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri," he said. "That leads me to believe that you are a good man and a changed man." About 10 of Anderson's relatives started crying when the decision was announced. More than 35,000 had signed a petition urging the state to set the 37-year-old free, and even the victim in the original crime didn't want to see him behind bars. (Read more weird crimes stories.)