Missouri man freed; no retrial in murder case
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A Missouri man whose conviction in the killing of a newspaper sports editor was overturned was freed from custody on Tuesday because the state attorney general said he would not hold a new trial.
Ryan Ferguson was released from a state prison in Jefferson City and taken to the Boone County Jail in Columbia, which freed him shortly before 6 p.m. local time. He had been imprisoned since 2005.
Ferguson, 29, waved to a crowd of cheering supporters from the back seat of his father's car on the way to a news conference.
A Missouri appeals court last week overturned Ferguson's conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the 2001 strangling and beating death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. Ferguson was 17 at the time of the killing, in which a high school classmate implicated him.
The appeals panel said the prosecutor's office had withheld evidence from defense attorneys, and Ferguson did not receive a fair trial.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office said in a written statement that it had carefully reviewed the remaining evidence and decided not to retry or pursue further legal action against Ferguson at this time. Koster's office filed a court document indicating it had no objection to Ferguson's immediate release.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- FBI blames North Korea for Sony hack
- Meningitis suspects to be freed from jail while awaiting trial in 64 deaths
- Immigration agency chief OK’d
- NYC teenager a liar, not a penny stocks whiz worth $72M
- West Virginia man dies after being shot with arrow in Wellsburg
- Computer hackers’ attack on Sony ‘merits an appropriate response,’ White House says
- Bondage ‘Master Bob’ Bashara convicted in wife’s slaying in Detroit area
- Sharing day of protest in New York, SantaCon pulls back on reins
- Supreme Court will hear dispute over toy
- Social Security resumes aggressive method of trying to collect debts from families
- ‘Person of interest’ arrested in connection with shooting outside Oregon school; 2 others sought