“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” said actor Robert Blake in his popular “Beretta” TV series.
Blake was later charged with murdering his wife, but was acquitted and avoided doing any time.
A Missouri man convicted in the armed robbery a Burger King and sentenced to 13 years didn’t go to prison either, thanks to a clerical error, reports Today.com.
The prison system realized its mistake only as they prepared to release the prisoner they never had.
Cornealious “Mike” Anderson was convicted in 1999 but was released and told Missouri’s Department of Corrections would tell him when to voluntarily report to prison.
Corrections never got around to doing that.
Anderson said he waited a long time and never left the St. Louis area, but eventually just started living his life like many other people.
NBC said Anderson “got married, had children, opened a successful business, coached youth football and joined a church group.”
That life came to a crashing halt last summer when “a SWAT team descended on Anderson’s house and dragged him off to jail,” writes The New York Daily News.
Anderson is once again awaiting word on what happens next.
The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday he will let Anderson go free if Anderson sues the state for its mistake.
Anderson’s attorney says the nine months his client has spent in jail amount to “cruel and unusual punishment.”
An online petition demanding Anderson’s release has the signatures of at least 14,000 people.
The Burger King manager said his daughter read a local newspaper’s article about Anderson to her high school class without realizing her father was the man Anderson robbed. When she told her dad about the interesting news article he told her the state “dropped the ball” and Anderson should remain a free man.
Then he told his daughter he was the robbery victim.
“Our government screwed up. Who’s paying for that? Does [Anderson] have to pay for that again? Doesn’t seem right,” said the former Burger King manager.
I may have missed something, but when did Anderson pay for his crime the first time?
More news from Ye Olde Internets: