Petition Asks MO Attorney General Chris Koster to Release Cornealious "Mike" Anderson

Thumbnail image for cornealious_michael_anderson.jpg
Courtesy LaQonna Anderson

Update 11:40 a.m.: This American Life just posted the petition to their Facebook page and the signature count has skyrocketed. Currently, there are over 1,300 names.

Last weekend, the national radio program This American Life ran a piece on Cornealious "Mike" Anderson. The report is based on a Riverfront Times feature we published back in September. It tells the strange story of how Anderson was convicted of armed robbery back in 1999, but was never picked up by Missouri authorities. The state finally realized its mistake this past July and re-arrested him. In the past thirteen years, Anderson rehabilitated himself and started a family with his wife. Today, he's back in prison. His release date is currently set for 2026.

Since it aired, RFT and Anderson's attorney, Patrick Michael Megaro have received a steady stream of e-mails from listeners asking how they can advocate for Anderson's release. In response, Megaro posted an online petition at, entitled "Release Cornealious Michael Anderson III From Prison." And the signature ticker is slowly rising.

See also: Cornealious "Mike" Anderson: An Epilogue to the RFT Story Featured On This American Life

If you missed the feature that broke this story in the Riverfront Times, read it here. Or, listen to the segment on This American Life below -- the piece about Anderson begins roughly at the 35:20 mark:

In late December, Megaro filed a petition for a write of habeas corpus against the warden of the Southeast Correctional Center where Anderson is currently being housed, arguing that after all this time the state of Missouri lost its right to incarcerate Anderson. The prison will be represented by Attorney General Chris Koster and the matter will be heard by Mississippi County Judge T. Lynn Brown. There are no hearings currently scheduled.

Nevertheless, Megaro is already encouraging supporters to write both Koster and Brown. Here's what he wrote, in part, in his online petition on Anderson's behalf:

If [Anderson] is required to serve the sentence, he will be 50 years old when he is released. His kids will have grown up without a father, his wife will have had to raise 4 children alone, and they will lose their home and business - everything he had worked so hard to attain in the last 13 years of leading a normal life.

The victim of the robbery believes that Mike Anderson should not be forced to now serve a 13- year sentence, and believes the State of Missouri dropped the ball. He has said that he believes it would serve no purpose in now incarcerating this man.

I am representing Mike Anderson in his petition for release from prison. Join us in petitioning the Attorney General of the State of Missouri and Mississippi County Judge T. Lynn Brown to release this man from this unjustice.

"Before the hearing, I plan to print it out and file it with the court and say hey, look how many people support you doing the right thing here," Megaro wrote Daily RFT in an e-mail. He says he hopes it to see the number of signatures hit 10,000 -- as of this writing it's at 261.

Update: After this post by TAL the petition is really off to the races:

Click here to view the petition at Megaro is also encouraging Anderson's supporters to file a letter directly with the court in Mississippi County. Here's the address he provided:

Honorable T. Lynn Brown

Mississippi County Circuit Court

200 North Main Street

Charleston, Missouri 63834

Re: State of Missouri ex rel. Cornealious Michael Anderson, III vs. Ian Wallace, Warden,

Southeast Correctional Center

Docket #13MI-CV-00776 (Mississippi County)

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at

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Having heard this on NBC Today' Show and listened to it on TAL, now the eyes of the entire Nation are on you! I can only hope a fair decision is made. I understand the prosecutors need to 'prosecute'.... But please understand that circumstances have changed as a result of a mistake made by the clerk's office: A family is now at risk of losing a father, an income, a home, etc. Had Mr. Anderson promptly been sent to prison, NONE of this would have been a consideration. But now it is. 

And how HAS he served his time in "suspense?" He's served it commendably and as one would wish a rehabilitated man would.

I want to be fair: He does have to give up something for a wrong was committed. Perhaps a compromise can be reached: community service. Probation if necessary. Something along those lines. But he should not have to serve one day in prison.

The idea of Mr. Anderson having to leave his family would  be a disservice of justice on top incompetent  justice. I wish everyone well during this challenging time. 


He got 13 years of being free. He needs to pay his debt to society, just like everyone else in prison. This is not double jeopardy, that's when you are found innocent by the courts, then it comes evident your guilty. They can't recharge you. That's double jeopardy. 13 years state prison, he will do half of that. He needs to be a man and stop trying to run away from his responsibility.


"On the day of his scheduled release". From the "record", the man served his time. They should have known the man wasn't in the system. Does this give new meaning to being lost "in" or "out" of the system. How did he get missed in the count? He was not an escapee. This was pure negligence on the part of the DOC. They can't say, "Oh, he knew he was sentenced to prison, so he should have turned himself in." Seriously? It was their jobs to know that he was there and secured. Re-arresting him and re-sending him to prison smacks of double jeopardy. One thing is certain, this incident shook him up so badly in 1999, he straightened up and lived right. That's what should have been taken into consideration before sending the man to prison to correct and egregious error of the DOC. Yet, when we look at the current trend of for-profit prisons demanding that their facilities stay full or be paid even for empty beds, this is no surprise. 


I signed the petition and wrote letters to the judge and to the governor. All should do the same. This man deserves it.

Jen West
Jen West

Interesting. In general, this would be a dangerous precedent to set. In his case, considering he's stayed out of trouble, built a good life, and has the victim's blessing, I hope he is released. He's obviously rehabilitated.

Ted Funkhouser
Ted Funkhouser

Very interesting article. I hope he can be released.


@mktrrzs9  He didn't run away or hid. He has been a model citizen for the last 13 years. He was given a break and he changed his life around. Guys in prision cant say this. Give him a chance to prove himself, Suspend his sentence and let him live his NEW life.

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