Police didn't catch up with Anderson for another two months: They found him hiding under a blanket at his girlfriend's apartment. Anderson told detectives his car was stolen and filled out a four-page statement asserting that. But once he returned to the interrogation, the cops threatened to charge his girlfriend with hindering their investigation. Anderson crumbled.

"I was there when the robbery took place," he wrote in a new statement. "There was a BB gun being used that was provided by Jay Harris."

He told police that they were tooling around St. Charles in Anderson's car when Harris noticed bank customers making night deposits. Anderson insisted it was Harris' idea to pull over and rob a man they saw about to drop off his cash. Anderson said Harris pointed the BB gun. When the Burger King manager moved like he was going into his car for a weapon, Anderson says, he pointed his hand at him as if it were a gun and pulled his Rams sweatshirt up over his face. After they drove off, he ditched the car and called his girlfriend to come pick them up.

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Illustration by Kelly Brother
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"I take full responsibility for my actions and my involvement in this crime," he wrote.

In the months that followed, though, Anderson began having second thoughts about his confession.


Anderson's father, Cornealious Anderson II, admits that his son was a rebellious teenager: "He did get into some trouble."

Anderson's parents split up when he was still quite young. As a teen in the late '90s, Anderson moved in with his father in California and began testing boundaries. He hated homework and rejected the notion of going to college, though he did show an aptitude for working with his hands, especially on old cars.

Young Cornealious also developed a taste for partying. One night of heavy drinking ended with Anderson and a group of buddies stealing a car. That earned him a trip to a boot-camp-style school in Nevada as one of the terms of his juvenile probation.

"After he came out of that I thought he'd turn it all around," says Anderson's father.

It was also during this time that Cornealious became close with Laron Harris, his father's girlfriend's son from a previous relationship. The boys were only three years apart and developed a friendship that lasted even after Cornealious' father and Harris' mother broke up. Although they were not related by blood, the two referred to each other as "brother." Family friends would later tell police they thought Harris was a "bad influence."

After he graduated high school in 1998, Cornealious moved back to the St. Louis area to live with his mother and stepfather in Valley Park. He worked at an AT&T call center and eventually moved into his own apartment in Maplewood. In the summer of 1999 friends recalled that Anderson was excited because his "brother" was coming from San Diego to visit.

Harris never admitted his role in the robbery the two committed that summer. Instead he chose to plead out and was sentenced to ten years in prison. (Attempts to locate Harris were unsuccessful.)

Anderson took another tack. He believed that by cooperating with the investigation he would get a year or two of probation. But as his attorney moved toward a plea deal, it became clear he would receive a minimum of ten years. In February 2000, Anderson called the lead St. Charles detective who handled the investigation.

"Anderson stated he was upset because his attorney told him that he and the prosecutor said that if he kept his mouth shut and played stupid like his brother is doing now, he wouldn't be where he is today," wrote the detective in a subsequent report. "Anderson stated he got caught up in the wrong place, the wrong time, with the wrong person."

Against the advice of the private attorney he hired, Anderson went ahead with a jury trial in March 2000. From the start, it was a disaster for him. While searching the Maplewood apartment Anderson occupied at the time of the robbery, police found a letter-size, glossy advertisement for Beretta semiautomatic pistols. St. Charles prosecutor James Gregory used the gun brochure as evidence that Anderson owned and used a gun in the robbery, even though police never recovered any weapons. When Anderson testified in his own defense, Gregory hammered him.

Gregory: Did you think Laron was going to shoot you?

Anderson: No, I did not think he was going to shoot me, sir.

Gregory: You all planned this robbery, didn't you?

Anderson: No, sir.

Gregory: You came all the way over from...St. Louis because you knew that area... you knew about, that they make night deposits, and that's a common thing that happens in California is robbing night deposits, isn't it?

Anderson: No.

In Gregory's closing argument, he called Anderson a gang member.

"You can't sleep, walk down the street without being mugged, or something? It's people like him out there," he told the jury. "He would rather party than work. And how do people live like that that don't have enough ambition to keep a job and work like we do? They get it by stealing."

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39 comments
Xfacto
Xfacto

I feel sorry for his family but not for this POS. While he was on the lamb, did he bother to check on his victims to see how they were handling the fact that he was hiding from justice? Maybe I miss that part.

hubbabubba8890
hubbabubba8890

Prison was never intended to be a punishment. It was intended to keep dangerous criminals off of the streets until they were no longer a danger to society. This man clearly has proved that he is no longer a danger to society. Therefore, there is no need to put him in prison.

Careers123
Careers123

This was the Justice system's fault.  This man has turned his life around.   He was young and stupid.  Even the victim said to let him go.  Give him a second chance! 

kravers13
kravers13

Yet HSB and its managers and CEOs, which laundered money for drug cartels, is too big to prosecute for its known crimes. It's a fool who looks for justice in these cynical times.

Thornquist
Thornquist

If the point of our judicial system is to serve "justice," then the only way to serve that interest in this case is to allow this man to return to his life, his family, his work, and everything else that defines his existence now, 13 years after he erred.  If this sets a new precedent, so be it.  That would be a good precedent to set, since it would set a standard for what constitutes gross negligence on the part of the government versus what harm would result from a clearly obscene level of nonsensical retribution for a crime.  An opinion can be written to establish the bounds of this standard, but certainly any other result in this case would not be "justice".

Larry
Larry

JerQuan?  What is a JerQuan, a hero from the Pre-Civil War era?   Perhaps an amalgamation of different words words describing his father's gangster behavior?  This kid is almost destined to be in the Womens' bathroom at Meramec College in a couple of years........

warlordsworld
warlordsworld

If he's looking for "sympathy..". he will find it in the dictionary about half way between "shit" and "syphilis..."

carol.gilster
carol.gilster

The system can break down and allow the individual not be be persued.  So he leads a normal and honest life.  Then, when the break down is discovered, it takes him back to when the incident occurred.  As if he lived in limbo all that time.   But, he did not.  He lived an honest, god fearing, loving family life with an established business he ran in a dedicated way.

When will it be allowed that REASON can be introduced into the system?  Why break up the life of this man and his family?  His business, income, family and community will suffer if that happens.  Should taxpayers now support him for years and diminish the lives of his family and him?  Surely many community members will vouch for him.  Why not parole him to the community for a few years and let him continue to support his family?  What is the point of incarceration?  We say it is to make people behave better but it seems to be purely vindictive if a person in this man's situation is sent to prison.  ???????????

rrruby7
rrruby7

Nixon should do the right thing and let him out. He belongs with his family, not in prison. He had some inept lawyers. He was not properly represented. I am also a resident of Webster Groves. I am glad to have a neighbor like him.

Tim Garner
Tim Garner

Yes he did the crime Idc if the govt screwed up a CRIMINAL should not b allowed to walk free bc of it

Kevin Rotellini
Kevin Rotellini

re-sentence him give him 20 years probation with 13 year sentence to be imposed if he violates probation. It's a win-win for everyone let him be with his family and gives state piece of mind in case he does screw up

Jacinda Santora
Jacinda Santora

Sounds like 13 years of living an honest life have done more for rehabilitation than the prison system would have.

Brian Brown
Brian Brown

Once they let you out , that's it . Your mistake

ted148
ted148

@warlordsworld You are a typical brain-dead teabagger/troll -without a shred decency or common sense - how does depriving his wife and family  of a taxpaying, law-abiding father, at the cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars serve the greater good?  Now mind you dumb dumb, that the man who was robbed has forgiven him, yet somehow you sitting in your easy chair, passing judgement and stuffing your fat-ass face with potato chips, think he needs to rot for 13 years.  You sir, are a douche of magnificent proportions.


imastar7
imastar7

@carol.gilster Because you will set an example if the system screws up or you remain at large and live a FORCED good life then somehow you get a free pass

suetoo
suetoo

Better call Saul

Thornquist
Thornquist

The victim is on record saying he believes the man ought to be free.  So that ends that, since no once else has the right to speak for the victim.

mplo
mplo

Quite frankly, if I'd heard that a neighbor of mine had been charged with armed robbery , no matter how long ago that was, and then not put into prison due to a clerical error or technicality, I would more than likely not trust  him, because  there's  no telling what else a guy like that might do somewhere  along the line, no matter what kind of an honest life he was living.

gwpurdy
gwpurdy

@ted148 Google his "sympathy" quote and you'll see he can't even come up with his own saying but one from "Major Pain." which others have used from the count I get. I guess this moron wants to spend $32,000 for the next 13 years on a person who did MORE for himself that the judicial and prison system ever would! Please pull the cash out of your arse and make those payments for the rest of us warofhatever!

Lets count them:
-Worked and paid taxes
-Coached or should I say like above VOLLENTEERED his time to coach, 

-Started a business EMPLOYING how many?? Wwhich BTW is MORE TAXES coming into the system because OF Mr. Anderson
-He PAID HIS OWN business taxes into the system
-Was very active in his church
What else do we NOT know which is really non of our busness!
What have YOU done War? Come on slick. You posted something copied from a movie which tells us you might be one of those welfare suckers on the system or completely oblivious to the cost to your wallet to put what many of us consider a completely REHABILITATED criminal by doing MORE than most of the whole paroled prisoners in America and you are posting crap from a movie? Go pay his taxes for him! He probably has done MORE in the past 13 years than you have!

And those are what we do know about Mr Anderson. You want to take away incoming taxes and PAY MORE OUT to feed him, clothe him, shelter him, pay for his ACA which a president forced down our throats and now criminals get it for FREE which is completely unnecessary as they get all that IN prison so why add costs to US?

Please think before posting War

Careers123
Careers123

Wow... Couldn't have said it better!

ted148
ted148

@imastar7 @carol.gilster   You are a typical brain-dead teabagger/troll -without a shred decency or common sense - how does depriving his wife and family  of a taxpaying, law-abiding father, at the cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars serve the greater good?  

Thornquist
Thornquist

@imastar7 @carol.gilster  No free pass argument is persuasive, given the 13 years of anguish this man must have been weighed down with, given the harm inflicted on his wife and children on watching this travesty unfold, given what will no doubt be his changed image in the community upon his release, all of which constitute a part of the "punishment" aspect of our judicial system.  As for the "rehabilitative" aspect of the system, the facts suggest they have been successfully achieved, and in a spectacular way (which is not likely a result the system would have even marginally achieved had this man served his sentence in prison, at great public cost).  The system needs to allow for some measure of common sense.

carol.gilster
carol.gilster

@imastar7 @carol.gilster Hi, I take positive results wherever I can find them.  Perhaps living a "forced" good life outside prison walls bears more positive weight than forced good living inside prison where one has little choice as to how one lives?

gwpurdy
gwpurdy

@ted148Google his "sympathy" quote and you'll see he can't even come up with his own saying but one from "Major Pain." which others have used from the count I get. I guess this moron wants to spend $32,000 for the next 13 years on a person who did MORE for himself than the judicial and prison system ever would! Please pull the cash out of your six and make those payments for the rest of us warofhatever!

Lets count them:
-Worked and paid taxes
-Coached or should I say like above VOLLENTEERED his time to coach.

-Started a business EMPLOYING how many?? Which BTW is MORE TAXES coming into the system because OF Mr. Anderson
-He PAID HIS OWN business taxes into the system
-Was very active in his church
-What else do we NOT know which is really non of our business!

What have YOU done War? Come on slick. You posted something copied from a movie which tells us you might be one of those welfare suckers on the system or completely oblivious to the cost to your wallet to put what many of us consider a completely REHABILITATED criminal by doing MORE than most of the whole paroled prisoners in America do, and you are posting crap from a movie?

Go pay his taxes for him! He probably has done MORE in the past 13 years than you have!

And those are what we do know about Mr Anderson. You want to take away incoming taxes, employed people in his area, and PAY MORE OUT to feed him, clothe him, shelter him, pay for his ACA which a president forced down our throats and now criminals get it for FREE which is completely unnecessary as they get all that IN prison so why add costs to US?

Please think before posting War

tdwilliams99999
tdwilliams99999

@imastar7 I agree with ted - thanks for making his point dumb dumb - enjoy your trailer park 

Careers123
Careers123

I agree.  Let the man be free.  he changed his whold life.  Give him credit for that.  He was young and stupid.  Even the victim said to let him go! 

carol.gilster
carol.gilster

@imastar7This man could have easily broken the law many times because he was not imprisoned.  He did not.  Had he been in prison, his opportunity to break the law would have been very limited.  Therefore, he has proven his ability to be a good, lawabiding citizen.
Is prison to make people behave better or to punish people?  He now behaves better already.  so the question becomes should he now be punished?  If so, also punished will be his family and we, the taxpayers, who will have to support him during his imprisonment.
And, it is not necessary to make demeaning comments in a discussion.  It tends to draw attention away from the actual discussion.

carol.gilster
carol.gilster

This man could have easily broken the law many times because he was not imprisoned.  He did not.  Had he been in prison, his opportunity to break the law would have been very limited.  Therefore, he has proven his ability to be a good, lawabiding citizen.

Is prison to make people behave better or to punish people?  He now behaves better already.  so the question becomes should he now be punished?  If so, also punished will be his family and we, the taxpayers, who will have to support him during his imprisonment.

And, it is not necessary to make demeaning comments in a discussion.  It tends to draw attention away from the actual discussion.

imastar7
imastar7

@carol.gilster @imastar7 When you wake up you may realize what you just said is prison on BOTH counts... AND NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CRIME....
 

 
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