After nearly a decade behind bars a Columbia man convicted of murder in 2004 walks free Tuesday, and receives a warm welcome in his home town.
Ryan Ferguson had murder charges vacated last week in the 2001 killing of Kent Heitholt. He drove out of the Boone County Jail with his parents as a free man last night. He said he tried to continually better himself while he was in prison.
“I didn’t want to look back and say I missed 5 or 10 years, however long it took. I didn’t want to get out and still be a 19-year-old kid in my mind. So I’ve done everything I can with the help of my family and a little hard work,” says Ferguson.
As far as the family of murder victim Kent Heitholt, Ryan says he hopes they are able to find closure to this terrible situation.
“I can’t imagine anything worse than that, really. So, I just hope they are able to look at the facts. And I hope that everyone is able to ask that justice is done and that they find who actually committed this crime,” says Ryan.
Ferguson says he is ready to start living his life again, but he still doesn’t know exactly what that means.