By Dianne Frazee-Walker
Last Tuesday morning when inmate #1137593 bent down to tie his shoes, he did not know what the rest of the day would bring.
The inmate’s name was Ryan Ferguson.
Ferguson remained neutral with his emotions because had been through the same scenario before. He was holding back from getting his hopes up that this would be the last day he spent behind bars. Ferguson had served ten-years of a 40-year sentence for a murder he claims he did not commit.
November 12, 2013 turned out to be Ferguson’s lucky day. Just seven-hours later, a composed Ryan Ferguson was surrounded by probing reporters outside the Tiger Hotel in Columba, Missouri. After ten years of being incarcerated for murder, 29-year-old Ryan Ferguson was finally exonerated and set free.
The main question inquiring minds want to know about Ferguson is this: is he bitter about having a decade of his life snatched away from him? Ferguson was a 20-year-old college student when he was arrested. He spent all of his 20s incarcerated.
Amazingly, Ferguson is more interested in moving forward with his new life on the outside than seeking revenge. He has even forgiven his friend that initially lied about his involvement in the murder. Ryan now wants to start a campaign to free this man.
On Halloween night, 2001, Ferguson and his friend, Charles Erickson went out for a night on the town. They engaged in a night of underage drinking until the bars closed at 1:00am. According to Ferguson, Erickson dropped him off at home and he went to sleep. During the wee hours of the morning, Kent Heitholt, sports writer for the Columbia Daily Tribune was brutally murdered in the parking lot of his office.