Criminal Justice

Man imprisoned as teen won't be retried in controversial murder case, says AG


A 29-year-old man who spent a decade in prison for a murder he says he didn’t commit was freed Tuesday night after the Missouri attorney general said Ryan Ferguson would not be retried.

The announcement by AG Chris Koster followed a decision last week by a state appeals court throwing out Ferguson’s conviction because Boone County prosecutors did not reveal exculpatory evidence. No direct evidence tied Ferguson to the slaying of Kent Heitholt, a sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, according to ABC News. The Associated Press and the Crimesider page of CBS News also have stories.

Ferguson said he realized he was being released, rather than simply headed toward a prison visit, when he saw his attorney Kathleen Zellner holding up a printed message: “It is OVER.”

In a press conference, he thanked his parents for standing by him. “Without them, I wouldn’t have had any hope,” he said. “As you can see, really, to get arrested and charged for a crime you didn’t commit, it is incredibly easy and you can lose your life very fast; but to get out, it takes an army.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Ryan Ferguson Update: Mo. man jailed for nearly 10 years released”

CNN Justice: “Picture of grace, Ryan Ferguson wants man who helped imprison him freed, too”

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