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Man freed from prison because of clerical error accused of purse snatching

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The subject of one of the most bizarre criminal cases the courts have ever seen is in trouble with the law again.  Cornealious "Mike" Anderson escaped a 13 year prison sentence earlier this year because of a clerical error.   The sentence followed a 2000 armed robbery.

Now Anderson is charged with 2nd degree robbery, following an early morning arrest on Sunday.  St. Louis Metropolitan Police say Anderson took a purse from the shoulder of a victim. They say it happened at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of S. Broadway.  Anderson's attorney, Patrick Megaro, says his client is, "100% innocent."

We talked with Anderson earlier this year.  The 2000 clerical error was discovered last year.  He was arrested after he had moved on with his life.  Anderson started a business and a family.  Here's what he told us in April of 2014.

"I wake up some times and I have to figure out where I'm at out," he said.   "I wake and have to catch myself, you know, I just had a dream that I was at home or with the wife and the kids out fishing or something, I wake up and I'm here."

Megaro says his client was out celebrating his boss's birthday Sunday with friends, and was on his way to his car when police arrested him.  Megaro claims a description of the purse snatching suspect differs from the clothes Anderson was wearing.  He questions why police arrested his client.

Through a statement, Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce rejected Megaro's claims.  She says the victim and an eyewitness identified Anderson.

Megaro question's why his client would risk losing his life with his family after escaping the 13 year prison sentence.

"He's been getting his life together.   He's been doing very well with work.  He's been doing very well with his wife and children," said Megaro.

Megaro plans on gathering evidence he believes will prove his client's innocence.  He plans on presenting that evidence to the Circuit Attorney's office.  Megaro says is client has made bail and is home with his family.

Here is the full statement from Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce:

While ordinarily, I would not speak beyond the Probable Cause statement, I am allowed, under the law, to respond to false and/or inaccurate statements made to the media to ensure the community has accurate information.

About 1 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a call for a purse snatching. An officer in the area who overheard the call, noticed a person matching the description of the suspect provided by the victim and an eyewitness. Within minutes of the robbery, the officer then approached the suspect matching the witnesses' descriptions and immediately escorted him back to the scene. The victim and another eyewitness both positively identified Cornealious Anderson as the suspect with certainty. Both witnesses had observed the defendant prior to the robbery.  In addition, as in all criminal cases, a full lineup was conducted by police for witness identification purposes and Mr. Anderson was again identified as the perpetrator.

Arresting officers who responded to the call did not speak to Mr. Anderson's family at any time during the weekend or since. The witnesses described for police the jacket and the boots the robber was wearing. Upon Mr. Anderson's arrest, in addition to identifying his face, the victim and the eyewitness also identified his jacket and boots as those worn by the perpetrator. To our knowledge, the witnesses did not make mention of a hoodie and Nike sneakers, as Mr. Anderson's attorney claims. Based upon the facts, there is sufficient evidence at this time to charge Mr. Anderson with this robbery.

I cannot comment further as this is a pending criminal case. If anyone has additional information, they are encouraged to contact police immediately.

The investigation will continue and I ask the public for patience as the matter proceeds through the criminal justice system. ​

Statement regarding Cornealious Anderson from Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce

Previous Coverage:

Missouri corrections head responds to Anderson release

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