A man jailed in Missouri 13 years after his conviction now has his freedom. In 2000, 23-year-old Cornealious “Michael” Anderson was sentenced to prison for his role in a robbery at a fast food restaurant.

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Despite asking when he would go to prison, Anderson avoided jail time due to a “clerical error.”

Over the past 13 years, Anderson turned his life around and stayed out of trouble. He started his own business, got married and had a family.

This past July, when his sentence was supposed to end, correction officials realized their mistake. U.S. marshals were sent to Anderson’s home and arrested him. Thanks to a huge public outcry, the judge released Anderson on Monday after 10 months behind bars.

Upon giving Anderson credit for full time served, Mississippi County Associate Circuit Judge Terry Lynn Brown said, "You've been a good father. You've been a good husband. You've been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri.

This morning on Happening Now, Jenna Lee sat down with Anderson. He thanked the public for their support and said he got through his time in jail with “prayer and a lot of reading.”

While waiting for the clerical error to be resolved years ago, Anderson said he had to prove to himself and everyone else that he could do better. “I gave my life to God, and I just let Him work on me, let Him change me.”

If he hadn’t been released, Anderson would have been in prison until 2026. But Anderson kept his faith throughout that difficult time.

“I knew something good was going to happen. I didn’t know when. […]God was always there in my ear, either through someone comforting me, someone giving me words of encouragement or reading His word.”

To his critics, Anderson said that he hopes they can look at the person he has been for the past 13 years. “I’m not that person that everybody was saying I was,” he said.

His lawyer Patrick Michael Megaro said they’re looking into a pardon for Anderson.

Now that he’s free, Anderson said he’s looking forward to getting back to work, giving his wife a vacation and playing with his kids.

Hear more of Anderson’s story in the video above.

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