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TODAY'S QUESTION: Should Ryan Ferguson be granted a new evidentiary hearing?

Thursday, May 5, 2011 | 11:19 a.m. CDT; updated 12:14 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Missouri Attorney General's Office filed its response Monday to Ryan Ferguson's habeas corpus petition from February. 

So far, Ferguson has served five years of his 40-year sentence after being found guilty of murdering and robbing Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt in 2001.

Ferguson's high school friend, Charles Erickson, testified that he and Ferguson committed the murder, but Ferguson has always maintained he and his friend were never at the crime scene at all and that he is innocent.

The case has drawn national attention. A "48 Hours" episode dubbed Erickson as "the dream killer" after he explained to police that he didn't remember what he and Ferguson had done until he began to dream about it.

Since the trial, Ferguson's father, Bill, and his most recent attorney, Kathleen Zellner, have fought to free Ferguson. Their current habeas petition argues Erickson and one other key witness both recanted their trial testimonies, saying they lied. 

Zellner also said the jury selection in Lincoln County from 2004 was unconstitutional because people had the option to pay a fee to get out of jury duty.

The Attorney General's Office rebutted Zellner on Monday. They argued that the jury selection didn't ultimately affect the outcome of the trial and Erickson's recantation isn't reliable.

Cole County Circuit Judge Danial Green is set to consider both arguments June 29. He could decide one of three options:

  • Ferguson can be freed if the judge doesn't accept the attorney general's response and decides the jury selection was unconstitutional.
  • Ferguson could be granted an evidentiary hearing.
  • Ferguson could not be granted an evidentiary hearing, and he stays in prison.

Should Ryan Ferguson be granted a new evidentiary hearing?

 


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Comments

Andrew Milton May 6, 2011 | 12:12 a.m.

The correct question is should Ryan Ferguson receive a new trial. The AG concedes in its response that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. I have read both the petition for habeas corpus(1000 pages) and the AG's response(28 pages) I must say there is no comparison. The petition lays out in meticulous detail how the conviction was based on false evidence. The AG's response ignores this mountain of new evidence and takes the position that despite the fact that the two key witnesses have conceded that their trial testimony was false it does not matter. Their basis for such an outlandish assertion? Well the AG does not really provide one. Very disappointing I must say. The AG of Missouri is suppose to seek justice when others have failed to do so. In this case they have been derelict in their duties to the citizens of Missouri.

(Report Comment)
Linda Cantu June 18, 2011 | 7:33 p.m.

Free Ryan! There is absolutely no evidence against him. The crime scene was an incredibly bloody one, and there was not a trace of blood found on him or any of his possessions. The only "evidence" used to convict him was the testimony of two shady characters--one a pathological liar, the other a convicted criminal, both of whom changed their story depending on who they were talking to. What's up, Missouri? Do the right thing and give this young man his life back. What's really criminal is holding an innocent man.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 18, 2011 | 8:36 p.m.

Correction:

@TODAY'S QUESTION: Should Ryan Ferguson be granted a new evidentiary hearing?

No. And, this should be laid to rest forever.

But needs to be revived: The 10P.M. question each night on television stations: "It is now 10:00P.M. Do you know where your high school children are?"

The end.

A lot of time and expense have gone into the trial for the citizens of this state, and a jury decided.

Must this go on forever?

Thoughts forever embedded in mind of those who lived through this, day and night, day and night, day and night, over and over:
"No. Please stop this.
He did it.
No doubt.
Time to move on."

[STET]

(Report Comment)
Nicalle Lane June 19, 2011 | 2:48 p.m.

Delcia Crockett, Are you crazy? How in the world can you say he did it. Everyone always trying to say that ALL men in prison say they are innocent. Well what about the ones who REALLY ARE INNOCENT? Who is going to advocate for them? How would you feel if you were thrown in a jail cell for something you had NOTHING to do with? What's wrong with people in Missouri? I am sure glad I don't live there and I will make sure that anyone who ever asks about that town knows about this sad story of a young mans life taken from him due to a hideous DREAM. My advice to people, don't dream something crazy and talk about it, it can land you in prison for dreaming it. I had a dream the other night that My husband killed me, but I am still alive and my husband would never do such a thing. This is the saddest case I have ever run into and the police and the prosecutors ought to be ashamed of themselves. But venegence is coming, God is going to get them. This is so wrong. Someone needs to contact Oprah or somebody. This needs to get in the hands of some powerful people because this Boy needs help fast. I will be praying for this family.

(Report Comment)
Terri Mudd June 22, 2011 | 9:59 p.m.

This case makes me sad to say I live in Missouri. It is very disappointing to see that the AG's office failed to look at all the information. I would agree that Ryan was found guilty based on statements by a drug user and a sex offender. That is scary. Ryan Ferguson should be freed. No, it will never be a waste of taxpayer money to free Ryan, the waste of taxpayer money comes from the prosecution team that used questionable tactics to get a conviction in the first place. FREE RYAN.

(Report Comment)
Sheila Taylor June 23, 2011 | 12:57 p.m.

When I first saw this case on 48 Hours, I could not believe that this handsome young man, Ryan Ferguson, was a murderer. Not that looks determine character, but his life determined it. He had never committed a crime, he had a stable, happy, loving home life and seemingly good associates. There was not a shred of physical evidence to tie him to the murder scene! I cannot believe that he was convicted on the testimony of an idiot who had a nightmare, and criminals. How flimsy and pathetic! Where were the jurors minds? Did the defense not prove reasonable doubt? Of course they did! It goes to show you how willing people are to believe a lie over the truth and convict someone, anyone, whether they're guilty or not! Ryan is level headed and has never wavered or changed his story.

I have seen enough of these programs to know that even when authorities, the courts and attorneys have proof of innocence, it takes years to free a convicted killer. If this case isn't one for the Innocence Project, I don't know one that is.

Why are people wrongly convicted? Two things that I've seen. One is the fact that police will hone in on someone, to the exclusion of all others, and the evidence they present twists the facts. Every suspect is a liar and not capable of telling the truth. Then you have the competitive spirit that exists among lawyers. The prosecution sees it as a win/lose situation. Some are so determined to win that the truth is blurred, and facts are twisted to conform to their theories. They're not really interested in getting to the truth of the matter. And that is the case here too. Nicalle put it correctly when she said that the police and prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves...and they should be. Free the boy! He's innocent and you're stealing his life and the lives of his family!

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 23, 2011 | 3:22 p.m.

When you attempt to say "everyone" is on the "Free Ryan" bandwagon, you are sadly mistaken. People don't hate him or wish him bad vibes, but people just know there has been a fair trial and the police did their job. It gets kind of old to hear about someone being convicted and the aim taken up on "not guilty." Consider Rios, or anyone you like. I know of a case in another state where someone did a crime, and the lawyer who defended the person said to the person, "I have never defended a guilty person" then he winked - meaning you have to plead the case and you have to give your client all you have. Ferguson had his trial, and his lawyer is defending him for retrial. I have never met an officer or a person of court of law that did not listen to both sides, and then make a judgment on hearing both sides, as if for the person who would be arrested or sentenced in court. Ferguson was already breaking the law that night, by being an underage drinker - and was that not on a school night? I am only repeating what a lot of people see and do about cases like this - and that is our police are not out to haul in innocent people, and our courts spend hours upon hours, hearing all sides of anything. And, I know a recent case in which the jury concluded the person killed a victim, but it had to acquit because the "it was evident he could be convicted on a lesser charge, and still justice was served." If you have a problem with the way laws are set up to protect innocent/guilty people, then you should consider that people who are not innocent will use the law to try to be free when they have done the crime. How many of the convicts get "born again" and become model citizens in prison, but moment they are released, they go right back into all they did before? I know there are people who use the police to try to harass people, by calling them, and I know that the police listen to both sides and then make their call. I know that the justice system is fair, because there are people who will try to use them to cover a multitude of sins and look innocent. But they listen, and your guy had all ears of all. Time to let it go - and I am not alone, by far, in saying this. Sad it has to be true, but the young man should have been home at that time of night, and not out breaking the law.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 23, 2011 | 3:49 p.m.

I believe that it is necessary to look upstream to identify the source of that which somebody must be allowing to be discharged into your local water supply. The results are apparent.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 23, 2011 | 4:56 p.m.

Paul:

I find your post, above, to be truly profound. Thanks for sharing.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 25, 2011 | 11:11 p.m.

True. One does not find snakes in the mailbox every day.

: )

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith June 26, 2011 | 6:44 a.m.

And if the fox hadn't stopped to scratch his posterior he'd have caught the rabbit.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 26, 2011 | 10:37 p.m.

Parable of the story: Moving your mailbox does not mean anything to snakes who care not where they lounge. Nor in whose perimeters where they coil, ready to strike. Best to just build a fort and blind against such predators, and life goes on with the good. Tune out the snakes whose whole objective is to coil and strike. No snake can bite you, if it does not get close enough to do so. And, once you have almost been bitten, you can ignore them ever after, ahead of time.
:)

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 26, 2011 | 11:04 p.m.

It's kind of like people who just draw government checks and never work at anything, but just sit around and stare 24/7 at everyone else who works all around them. These folks who do not need the check and are able to work, watch soap operas and stare at everyone else, making rude remarks about them, hoping that the working folks will notice them staring as they try to get in the face of working all the time. The whole concept of their feeling adequately esteemed is to try to bring on drama for anyone else, trying to pile it on others, So, the person who is being stared at and infringed upon constantly just ignores and enjoys life and keeps going - happily - without making comments about the snakes placed in the mailbox by the ones who stare. If you have not had this happen to you, where you live, then count yourself a step above. Not that it makes any difference anyway, when you have decided to move on and ignore, after which you have only the good left after you have shut out the bad - and are enjoying your life to the utmost, as a result of no longer the negative apparent every day in stares and remarks by such, no matter how hard they try to bring it on.

Now, if we are way off "Free Ryan," do not blame me. It's all Paul's fault anyway. He started it. Ha, ha.

: )

All in fun.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 27, 2011 | 11:56 a.m.

I had a dream they sent a snake to IRAQ!!!

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett June 27, 2011 | 1:13 p.m.

Wasn't the same snake. Got this snake a new home, and out of sight is out of mind.

:)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 28, 2011 | 10:12 a.m.

Oh WAIT!!! I just lied about the dream.

Imagine that.

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 25, 2011 | 12:18 p.m.

Just saw the show and wanted to say that I think the prosecutor of this case should be thrown in jail! He has got to be the most ignorant ahole I have ever heard talk. He said almost verbatim, "I will not let a lack of evidence prevent me from charging someone with a crime." WTF? Not only is there an entire lack of evidence in this case, there is however a mountain of evidence to the contrary. All of the evidence in this case says that these two boys did not commit this crime. Did anyone ever figure out who the tuft of hair in Mr. Heidholt's hand belonged to? It wasn't either one the two who have been convicted and sentenced for the crime. The conviction should be thrown out immediately and the state of Missouri should begin begging for forgiveness from both Ryan and his family. You see it over and over again in cases like this, where prosecutors refuse to believe that they were wrong and will "stick to their guns" to the very last straw, even in those cases which end up getting overturned convictions. Well I am sorry I have to state the obvious but in every single case ever, in the history of life itself, there has got to be one side which is wrong and one side which is not. So I am asking you all is it really that unbelievable to believe that Ryan Ferguson has been both wrongly accused and convicted of one of the worst crimes a person could possibly commit? Murder. I am very disappointed in the justice system in this case. It seems that people were quick to judge and wanted someone to blame. This case really needs a second, fair, chance.

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 25, 2011 | 12:56 p.m.

I forgot to mention that the State of Missouri should not be allowed to prosecute anybody for any crimes ever again, if this case is to be precedent. If they have their heads to far up their a@@es to be able to fairly prosecute anyone then they should not be given the right to do so.

(Report Comment)
Mary Blumreich July 25, 2011 | 1:01 p.m.

I just watched a re-run of that trial and must say it confirms my opinion of juries in general. I am in favor of professional juries...not a perfect answer but better than peer juries. The things they base their decisions on are just pitiful. One juror said he decided on the basis of the appealing look the "dreamer" gave his co defendant during his testimony. Wha???? Why bother to present evidence with such a prescient juror on hand. As for the prosecutor in that case, I disliked him and distrusted him from the first scene in which he appeared. An idiot and not interested in justice, interested in winning. I had some better questions for him than were asked by the host of the show. I just read a bit ago that the "dreamer" has also recanted, and states he alone killed the victim but Ryan waited too long to try to stop him. That kid is seriously mentally ill. Ryan Ferguson needs to be released. Talk about a miscarriage of justice. About as much reasoning power on that jury as was present for Casey Anthony.

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 25, 2011 | 3:21 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
bret tvrdy July 25, 2011 | 11:42 p.m.

WOW! Missouri, way to go. Just saw another show about a different man, Josh Kezer, who was also wrongly convicted of murder in the great state of Missouri. Railroaded by an out for revenge sheriff and convicted with no evidence whatsoever. You have to wonder if the people who sat on these juries are typical of the types of people who live in Missouri and whether or not these people are even educated beyond a grade school education. I am asking this question because I truly don't know the answer, but, are people selected for jury duty required to have at least a high school education and or some type of high school equivalency? If the answer is no then I believe that we have uncovered why these types of things keep happening.

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debi osmus July 26, 2011 | 1:17 a.m.

yes he should!! when i 2st saw this program i was appalled at how unfair this trial was. chuck didnt even know where the vrime scene was he had to be told by the det. and using the belt?? ridiculous how ryan could be convicted!!!! can someone let me know if there is a petiotion to sign or something???? thx debi

(Report Comment)
darci carter July 26, 2011 | 2:16 a.m.

RYAN FERGUSON IS INNOCENT I truly believe he is.especially. now that Erikson has now once again changed his story to that now he was alone and Ferguson wasn't there. Ryan has maintained the same story never once changed and how many times has Erikson has hanged his story? The jury based their sentence on a sexual offender who is a liar and a troubled teen who couldn't keep the same story ... they have no evidence against Ryan. He deserves to be set free he has had enough of his life taken away already.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 26, 2011 | 7:35 a.m.

@ bret tvrdy:

Interesting last name you have. I grew up with kids whose family names had few vowels.

Would you prefer that juries be composed of PhDs? I damned sure wouldn't! There is no proven correlation between level of formal education and having common sense.

You're aware, I assume, that in jury selection, whether the case is criminal or civil, the tendency is to excuse any persons who have special knowledge of the type of case being tried. That's not just in Missouri. For example, I have been selected on a jury to try a criminal case but will probably never be selected for a jury in a civil tort litigation case.

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke July 26, 2011 | 9:36 a.m.

I used to have respect for Kevin Crane and our local criminal justice system. Now, not so much.
Aside from the drivel from Delcia, Paul, and the like it seems most reasonable people believe there should be a new trial with all the factual evidence as it stands. I consider myself to be among the reasonable people. The jury didn't have a chance to come to a fair conclusion as they were deliberately misled.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 26, 2011 | 10:13 a.m.

Um...

Where, if anywhere, did I give you the impression that I am in any way supportive of what has transpired? Must I condense my sentences to the length of a bumper sticker so that even you can understand them?

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke July 26, 2011 | 10:28 a.m.

Paul, your posts are alreay bumper-sticker quality. How 'bout you try communicating like the average person if you're concerned about everyone understanding you. Or I could go on ignoring you which is my usual modus operandi.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 26, 2011 | 11:25 a.m.

I disbelieve you severely. You were able to understand the last sentence that I wrote and you proved as much by responding to it. And you betrayed the fact that you do NOT ignore me when you made your reference to my comments above.
This makes you a liar, and in this instance a PETTY liar. You lied about ignoring my post because you thought that it would lower my standing in the eyes of the readers.
So therefore, in the future when I debate you I will try to remember that I am dealing with a PETTY liar.
As far as I am concerned, an AVERAGE person would be someone much like yourself or that jury that you disdained, low in critical thinking or reasoning ability yet completely confident in lecturing others despite those and other shortcomings. It is beyond my ability to express how much contempt I have for the AVERAGE person who chooses to ASSert himself or herself in the manner that I see you doing here. While the AVERAGE person is busy deriding others the average person often fails to address the substance of the comments made to them.
For instance, where did I give you the impression that I am in any way supportive of the events that transpired?

(Report Comment)
Ellie Funke July 26, 2011 | 11:57 a.m.

Paul Paul Paul, before you make accusations and go about with your childish name calling(at the risk of causing you to fully implode) maybe you would like to brush up on your reading comprehension.
usu•al … Function: adjective
: done, found, or used in the ordinary course of events : NORMAL, REGULAR <less than the usual fee> <the usual route to work>
Modus operandi ...[1] The term is used to describe someone's habits or manner of working, their method of operating or functioning.
Doesn't mean this is a steadfast rule, although you just got me closer to making it one.
BTW, I am happy to hear we are in agreement on this particular article.

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 26, 2011 | 12:16 p.m.

Ellis--All I am saying is that I would appreciate it if juries were made up of people who can think for themselves and are capable of forming their own opinions. I think that this quality goes hand in hand to some extent with having or not having some sort of formal education at or above high school level.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz July 26, 2011 | 12:27 p.m.

Bret, you might find such a juror in close proximity to the mythical informed voter.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 26, 2011 | 12:33 p.m.

Bret, in a good world that might be the case.

Ellie, if you enforce that rule there will be less possibilities for you to misinterpret my statements. A real "win - win" as far as I can see! Now quit trying to be a personification of the doubts I wish to express to Bret regarding his well intentioned plan...

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 26, 2011 | 12:59 p.m.

I'm sorry for putting so much of the blame on the jury. I do understand that there are probably a lot of aspects of the trial that we as outsiders to the actual trial itself will probably never be able to understand. I just find it hard to believe that any resonable person could come to the conclusion that Ryan is guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt given the evidence, or lack thereof in this case, at hand. I do however believe it is important to find out exactly where the system broke down in this case, and there is no doubt in my mind that the system did in fact break down, and it probably is not solely the responsibility of the jury itself. I am sure there are other factors involved and the state of Missouri owes it to not only its people but also the people of the United States to find out what went wrong and resolve the situation accordingly.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 26, 2011 | 1:58 p.m.

@ bret tvrdy:

What you'd like to have and what you are going to get are not the same. Any attempt to select juries based on excluding persons having less than some arbitrary level of education would be patently unConstitutional.

One way the composition of juries could be improved would be if people with better education and jobs and their employers (if they aren't self-employed) didn't manage to get excused from jury duty. That skews the jury pool toward retired persons and/or younger persons who are unemployed. That's the composition of many juries today, and I find it scary.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 26, 2011 | 2:25 p.m.

You can blame that jury as much as you want. They don't deserve your sympathy. You are correct, however, in looking outside of the jury as well. At least a hundred people had to essentially hold hands and each one of them do their part, either out of pure ignorance, pathetic fear of retribution, or plain maliciousness, for the sake of greed or otherwise, to cause the situation as it is now. Any one of them could have broken the chain of events but they each instead chose to be a link in the chain for their own reasons, whatever they were.
Your idea regarding educational requirements was excellent. However, I have slept through enough college to remember that critical thought is seldom, if ever, taught. The article regarding the book banning caused me to rethink your suggestion. It seems that we are still struggling to define what constitutes an education. It appears that some people who have little to no experience engaging in critical thought have injected themselves into the process of deciding what other people may be allowed to use in their quest for knowledge, in essence assuring that their own lack of critical thinking ability will be repeated. I have no confidence in the Missouri school system regarding it's ability or it's willingness to teach people to think. There are too many people trying vigorously to push the system in the opposite direction, and more yet who fail to see that this is a problem. I believe that a significant portion of the students carry the same genetics as those who would work to subvert the possibility of any real education and because of that I feel that much of the efforts that could be made to counter the problem are largely a waste of time.
I believe it was a Foxworthy who said "You can't fix stupid." And I don't know who said "Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church." But when I read comments saying that someone thought he did it because he was disruptive in class or because somebody they knew said that he had used drugs I am inclined to remember those lines of wit. And when I read somebody stating clearly that it was his fault being caught up because he was an underage alcohol indulger I want to buy the T shirt and wear it.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire July 26, 2011 | 2:33 p.m.

The last line I half quoted was one that sets me off more than others because people use it and similar lines to assure themselves and others that they have nothing to fear from the system that just screwed their neighbor. Lack of critical thinking impedes one's ability to place themselves in the same situation or, more importantly, ANY VAGUELY SIMILAR situation. It is the person who is most lacking in any critical ability who is the first to believe the first few words of an article or a headline before they have even examined what they have read. The more assuming a group of people are, the less likely it is that the one who sees otherwise will speak.

(Report Comment)
bret tvrdy July 26, 2011 | 3:18 p.m.

Paul--Thank you! I believe that your last statement is precisely what I've been trying to say, just wasn't quite sure how to say it. I think that people who tend to believe the first few words and or headline of an article as you say are the people that tend to make up most juries. It scares me to death to think that I myself could be placed in the exact same position as Mr. ferguson if for some reason a distant friend of mine woke up some day and had a dream which implicated me in some sort of horrific crime and then a jury of my so called peers could convict me based on that information without even attempting to formulate their own opinions or thoughts about the situation at hand. Scary stuff.

(Report Comment)
Nicalle Lane July 29, 2011 | 6:33 p.m.

I just want to say that it is easy for someone like Trump who already has a police record and who was in prison to sit there and go along with the prosecution and lie about what he saw. It's easy for someone like Erickson who went to police and said he MIGHT HAVE been the person who did this crime, (because he had a dream after reading the newspaper) to then find himself facing a life sentence for coming forward to lie and implicate Ryan. The reason being is because these two people had something to protect, THEMSELVES!!!! Now let's move on to the other people who police talked to who didn't testify in this trial. All the others, which I believe was 4 people ALL SAID the police falsified their statements to implicate Erickson and Ryan and so they could tie them to this crime. NOW THOSE PEOPLE HAVE NO REASON TO LIE!!! Now let's move on and talk about the so called murder weapon. Erickson didn't even know how this man died. He didn't even know where the crime took place in the parking lot. Now obviously the hair didn't match that was found in the victim's hand. Why was the hair there? Where did it come from and whose was it? It's not every day that people will walk around with someone else's hair in their hands RIGHT? So of course the hair will match the person who really killed the victim. Now let me say this. There is no way that a random person is going to watch this man walk out of his place of employment, watch him stop and talk to a co-worker,wait for the co-worker to drive off and then run up and kill this man. You know why? Because how does that random person know there aren't others who work there, will walk outside next to go home? And risk the chance of them being caught in the act? THIS IS ABSURD!! Someone who knew this victim and who knew his routine killed him point blank. This was not a random act and do not believe either of these boys had anything to do with this murder. The detectives are flat out stupid for even charging them, let alone playing a part in sending them to prison. This conviction is a mistake and I just hope these detectives can live with themselves because the truth always comes out.

(Report Comment)
Nicalle Lane July 29, 2011 | 6:40 p.m.

Oh and let's not forget the phone records they presented that showed Ryan making calls to his friends at the same time he was supposed to be killing this man. I want to know why wasn't that phone tracked to see what tower it was hitting during that time. That would have clearly showed that he wasn't no where near the crime scene. But I bet the detectives didn't want to do that huh? Because it would have proved they had the wrong guys!!! This makes me sick to my stomach.

(Report Comment)
Robin Gorfine August 5, 2011 | 9:42 p.m.

"Better 10 Guilty Men Go Free than to Convict a Single Innocent Man"

I don't know why every court seems to be so reluctant to look at new evidence. I sure won't say I think this person is innocent based on a tv show, but I sure don't think there would be anything wrong with looking at the case again. Yes, give him a new trial!!

(Report Comment)
Dale Ballou August 5, 2011 | 11:08 p.m.

It's Columbia Missouri for fricks sake. Hang this sob and get it over with. who cares whether he is innocent at all. Doesn't matter cause the DA already prosecuted him in return for becoming a Judge and we know that the DA, now judge would not ever set anyone up for a crime they did not commit. why that would just be wrong and he is pure as the driven snow...but he drifted. Actually if anyone should be in prison for life it is the idiot now judge, but he wont come clean on what he did because of the arrogant conceited self centered pompous spineless gutless worm that he is. But enough about his good points. One can only hope that Ryan once freed, sues Columbia Missouri into Bankruptcy. This really puts Columbia Missouri in a bad light world wide for injustices and shams on the law. Columbia the whole world is watching. Do the right thing and free this man once and for all while you can muster some form of dignity.

(Report Comment)
Tracy Lester August 5, 2011 | 11:19 p.m.

It is your prosecutor---now a judge---who should be in prison.

How can someone that criminal become a judge???

How can citizens living in this jurisdiction sit still while such a dishonest man sits on the bench?!

(Report Comment)
Kim Peters August 6, 2011 | 3:00 p.m.

After watching Dateline and reading about the BLOTCHED trial the Missouri Judicial System represented a decade ago, Ryan Ferguson and his family have a 40 year sentence that is so undeserved/unproven. I am not from Missouri, thank goodness, and despite this, I feel it is my duty as a US citizen to write the Attorney General of Missouri as a plea for this family! I pray the new lawyer who is representing Ryan can bring justice for this family. Shame on the prosecutor who obviously met his objectives through intimidation. It makes me wonder if this prosecutor/judge will win popular vote to be reelected for future terms. Thanks Dateline for bringing an awareness to the American people, I truly hope Ryan Ferguson becomes a free man soon.

(Report Comment)
Patty Fuller August 7, 2011 | 12:32 p.m.

Tracy Lester August 5, 2011 | 11:19 p.m.
It is your prosecutor---now a judge---who should be in prison.

How can someone that criminal become a judge???

How can citizens living in this jurisdiction sit still while such a dishonest man sits on the bench?!

******Tracy!!!!! I totally agree with you!!!!

(Report Comment)
Patty Fuller August 7, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.

I truly do not see how this young man could have been convicted of this crime...ok he was out drinking but that does not mean that he is guilty of killing someone...come on that is just crazy!!!...its a crime that the prosecutors and the judge were able to pull this off...well I wonder if this happened to their kid and he lived in another state how would they feel...this is not justice!!!! Hang in there Ryan and your family!!!....what has happened to him is just crazy!!!

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett August 10, 2011 | 9:49 a.m.

And constructive debaters, with factual points to make, call what you are doing "tossing a red herring" - which neither proves your guy's' innocence or makes a case. Your guy does not have a sufficient alibi for the time of the murder, but he does apparently have hands strong enough to strangle a person, and he was placed at the scene by more than one person. Call me what you like, but that changes nothing in the minds of folks who disagree with you. I have not been on here since Sunday night, and it is still the same on here. Anyone who disagrees with you is a "yo-yo" in your mindset, and while your guy has "a hearing," he is a long way from free. If he is never free, please feel free to blame those who disagree or the facts that are presented in the case against your guy. Illegal is illegal, and your guy was breaking the law with something he has not even been charged with [illegal drinking] - and he has no solid alibi for what he is charged. The judge who will hear the same old story is being generous and that is what courts often do - so much so that they are criticized for returning the convicted to the street way too soon, sometimes, and way too often. Your guy got his day in court, and he is getting a hearing. Blame me or anyone else who disagrees with you, and it is red herring and counterproductive to making your case. The sports editor has a wonderful article in the other town paper. You might want to go over and read it, to get a gist of what a heck of a lot of people think about the murdered victim, the case builders to free your guy and innocent people getting caught in the trap of the red herring antics. Try to not get too unhinged or get your blood pressure up. This is the only place I am commenting on this today, as it is the same old thing, and I have better things to do than chase in circles the same old content. Have a great day! It is wonderful to be alive on a day like this. Too bad the sports editor does not get the same chance. ~Delcia Crockett

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett August 10, 2011 | 9:55 a.m.

And, I think it is wonderful that the present sports editor, who knew the man murdered, is such a compelling/thoughtful writer concerning his co-worker and his predecessor, the sports editor who was strangled by some very strong hands.

Of such the moments of life's honesty mean the world.

May his tribe increase in writings of humanity's tragedies and those who red herring and rail against the innocent.

What you state others are guilty of, is exactly the tactics used in trying to build a case. Red herring.

(Report Comment)
Adrian H September 26, 2011 | 7:28 p.m.
This comment has been removed.

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