Unfazed by a Stiff Prison Sentence
By Annika Young
The 700 Club
CBN.com - Here is a much different scene from the one in July of 2013 when Cornealious Anderson was picked up by federal Marshals. For the past 13 years he had been living life as a free man, time he was supposed to spend behind bars. He was convicted for his part in a robbery in 1999. While he was out on appeal, a clerical error kept him free.
“They thought I was in jail for 13 years because the prosecuting attorney told the judge I was in jail. And my attorney called and when he found out that I wasn’t in jail, he called me. And tried to tell them, hey, this guy’s not in jail. And the marshal’s like ‘well, we’re showing that he’s in jail, there’s no warrants for him, there’s nothing we can do.’”
His attorney gave him some advice.
“Should I turn myself in or what? He’s like ‘well, I mean, I can’t advise you to, I can’t advise you not to. So just keep your nose clean, be prepared to be picked up. The Marshals are going to come get you.’”
Cornealious also remembers what God told him the day he was sentenced.
“When that judge said ‘you’re guilty,’ I remember specifically. It was like a smile on my face. And I almost thought to myself ‘man, these people are going to think I’m arrogant or cocky, but it was a smile on my face. And I looked back at my mom and I said ‘it’s going to be okay.’ It was like an immediate thing on me. God said, ‘I got you. I told you you’re not going to serve this time. I got you.’”
Cornealious realized he was getting a chance to change his life, and he rededicated it to Christ.
“You know, I hear people a lot say, ‘oh I found Jesus.’ You didn’t find Jesus. He’s always been there; He found you. He found you in the low place that you were at and got you up out of there. You can’t find Him. He’s always been there.”
Over the years people came to know him as a loyal husband, dedicated father and man of faith.
“Got married, had kids, coached my son’s little league football, fishing.”
But the thought that he could go to prison at any moment was haunting.
“I said ‘God, I’m putting You in remembrance of what You told me. You told me that I will not serve this time. That You got me. Lord, I believe in faith that I’ll never see another day in a jail cell.’”
Then on July 25th, 2013, the day Cornealious was supposed to be released from prison, federal Marshals came for him.
Cornealious remembers, “Streets were blocked off, they had on the gear, they had helmets. They had full riot gear. Shields, AR15s, everything. And I’m just like ‘oh my God.’ I mean, I almost passed out.”
They took Cornealious into custody. His family, friends and church members started rallying for his release. His story made the national news and a petition was started. 35,000 people signed it. His attorney appealed his arrest and petitioned for his release. But it was a long process. Cornealious would spend almost a year in prison.
“I said ‘Lord, You said, I got you. I told you you’re not going to serve this time. What is going on? Lord, what do You want me to do? What do You want me to do?’ And He just—blatantly He said, ‘how can you say you’re strong unless you go through something to make you strong?’“
On May 5th, 2014 Cornealious stood before a judge to learn whether he’d have to serve his original 13-year sentence or walk out a free man.
“So the judge just starts talking. ‘You committed a crime 13 years ago. I feel that the time was justifiable, that you committed the crime.’ He was just going on. I said ‘oh my God, what’s happening?’ And he said ‘you have turned your life around. You did something that the criminal justice system couldn’t do for you. You rehabilitated yourself. I’m releasing you.’”
NewsOne Clip: “I’m just so thankful. Thank God for everything. Thank the public, say thank you, cut my hair and get all this off my face.”
He's grateful that he will be there for his wife and children - no missed birthdays, holidays or fishing trips.
“God is a loving God. And God will allow you to mess your life up or allow you to allow Him to fix your life. And I was trying to do things my way back then. I was trying to do things my way, I was seeing people out here, all these guys with these nice cars. I wanted the nice cars and the money now. I was a very impatient person and God is a type of God that will sit back and say ‘okay, you want to do it your way, go ahead. I’ll allow you to do it your way, but I’m here. You know, I’m here. Whenever you’re ready, I’m here.’”
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