Ryan Ferguson conviction vacated
A settlement conference in Ryan Ferguson's civil case against the city of Columbia, Boone County and several officials is scheduled for Thursday, but Ferguson's father says he and his son are not interested in a settlement.
Ryan Ferguson, convicted in 2005 of killing Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt before his conviction was vacated, sued the city of Columbia, Boone County and several law enforcement officers.
The lawsuit claims Boone County and the other defendants withheld evidence, failed to investigate other suspects and defamed Ferguson.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, the program that helped catapult Ryan Ferguson into the national spotlight will focus on Ferguson's life after he was released from prison and will feature "exclusive interviews" with Charles Erickson.
Lawsuits like the one Ryan Ferguson filed Monday can be difficult to win. But one attorney said Ferguson has a definite advantage since a court has already determined there was prosecutorial misconduct in the case.
The lawsuit is seeking $100 million in damages.
The complaint accuses eight current and former Columbia police officers, former Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and two investigators, the city of Columbia, and Boone County of trying to build a murder case against Ferguson despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.
Ryan Ferguson's attorneys filed a complaint in U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, on Monday, accusing eight current and former Columbia Police officers; former Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane and two investigators; the city of Columbia and Boone County of violating Ferguson's civil rights by building a murder case against him despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.
Josh Kezer, who was released in 2009 after being convicted in the murder of a southeast Missouri college student, will testify at a judiciary committee hearing. Ryan Ferguson's father, Bill, also will appear.
Supporters continue to donate to the Ferguson family, who has spent the past eight years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to free Ryan Ferguson.
Josh Kezer, who spent 16 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, said what the community needs to do is treat Ryan Ferguson, who was freed on Tuesday, like an ordinary person.
When the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated Ferguson's 2005 convictions, it left the door open for him to face charges again if prosecutors decided they had the evidence to go forward.
Ryan Ferguson was released from prison Tuesday after serving almost eight years of a 40-year sentence in the 2001 slaying of Kent Heitholt. Columbia police issued a statement Wednesday morning saying that any new leads would be pursued by investigators.
The Missourian features a collection of live reporting leading up to and during Ryan Ferguson's news conference about his release from prison.
Ryan Ferguson was released from custody Tuesday after the Missouri attorney general's office announced it would not pursue action against him.
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight said his office had a conflict of interest with the case. Knight was the assistant prosecuting attorney during Ferguon's trial, according to Missouri Case.net.
If a conviction is vacated, is it also overturned? This week's announcement by the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District gave the Missourian a chance to review legal terminology.
More than 12 years after Kent Heitholt's death, the man originally convicted in his slaying may soon be released from prison. On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 murder conviction.
Nina Johnson, former librarian at the Columbia Daily Tribune and current librarian at the Missourian, recalls a series of events following the slaying of Kent Heitholt.
The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated Ferguson's conviction based on a Brady violation, ruling that the prosecution failed to share vital information with his defense.