Mistake sends man to prison for 1999 crime

ST. LOUIS - The knocks on the door were hard. The knock down was harder.

U.S. Marshals and a SWAT team stormed into Mike Anderson's home in the early morning hours of July 25, 2013. They'd come to take him after 15 years. They were years filled with the birth of children, the love of a better half, church, football, and a small business.

Anderson had worked hard to become the man his children could be proud of. That morning, they watched as the law took their father away. His wife would find out that day about the dark days in her husband's past.

It was 1999. Mike Anderson and his friend Laron Harris held up a Burger King manager in St. Charles as the man was making a night deposit at the bank. Harris had the gun.

Prosecutors didn't have the weapon. They made the case against Anderson by showing the jury a poster he had in his home of a berretta. The jury convicted him. The judge gave him 13 years in prison.

Anderson served 10 months. He appealed his conviction twice. He lost. He was supposed to go to prison to serve the sentence but somebody dropped the ball.

"It was a matter of a warrant that was supposed to have been issued that never got issued," said St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar. He wasn't in office at the time.

Anderson walked away from prison. He walked into a whole new life. He wasn't trying to hide. He didn't try to dodge the law.

"He was living the life you'd hope every single citizen would live, productive happy involved with the community involved with the family," said Lohmar.

The database still listed Anderson as in jail until that day in July, the day he was supposed to get out after 13 years, the day the Marshals came to get Anderson.

Now the state wants him to serve that time.

"If we allowed somebody to avoid an incarceration sentence it's just a slippery slope," said Lohmar.

Anderson's wife said the Mike Anderson she knows and loves at 37 isn't the same man he was when he was 22. The law only knows the crime he did at 22 is a debt he's now having to pay at 37.

The governor will have to decide if he'll still do the time for the crime. His only shot may be clemency.

Anderson's lawyers filed the paperwork to get him out of prison. The attorney general will have to respond to Anderson's request by April 15.

NBC's Today Show will have more exclusive details and interviews on this story on Tuesday morning.


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