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Liveblog: Ryan Ferguson's Release

Posted: Nov 12, 2013 7:38 PM by Taylor Beck and Elaina O'Connell, KOMU 8 Digital Producers
Updated: Nov 13, 2013 1:40 AM

Rating: 4.0 (8 votes)

COLUMBIA - (Complete video of Ryan Ferguson's press conference can be viewed by clicking the thumbnail to the left.) Ryan Ferguson thanked his family, his attorney and his supporters as he spoke at a news conference Tuesday at the Tiger hotel following his release from prison just a few hours before.

Ferguson said it was a "confusing" day and he was at times unsure whether he would be arrested.

His conviction was overturned by an appeals court last week. Attorney General Chris Koster decided not to pursue further action.

His father, Bill Ferguson, said there were times during the afternoon he "had his doubts" that Ferguson would walk free.

Attorney Kathleen Zellner said Ferguson remained strong on a day of upheaval as plans for his release kept changing. Ferguson had been allowed to dress in civilian clothes at one point, but was then ordered to redress in his orange jumpsuit and was reshackled to wait for further instruction.

This KOMU 8 News liveblog tracked developments and reaction throughout the day. Events are presented in reverse chronological order with the newest on top:

7:28 p.m. Zellner says it's time for the family to leave, calls news conference to an end.

7:25 p.m. Ferguson thanks supporters, said they gave him hope.

7:24 p.m. Ferguson says Charles Erickson is "not a killer." He says, "The guy is a lot of things...but the thing he is more so than anything, is innocent."

7:23 p.m. Ferguson says, "I didnt want to get out and still be a 19-year-old in my mind."

7:22 p.m. Ferguson says he is writing a book about his experience.

7:21 p.m. Zellner says Ferguson has shown great grace under pressure.

7:20 p.m. Ferguson says he would like his first post-jail meal to be from Dairy Queen.

7:19 p.m. Ferguson says he is happier for his parents right now than himself. "They've had to deal with so much."

7:18 p.m. Ferguson says he's still confused about what happened over the past couple of hours, as he was told different things about how he would be released, including changing into civilian clothes and back into the prison jumpsuit. "I was incredibly stressed out."

7:17 p.m. Ferguson says he really doesn't know what will be the first thing on his agenda, says he hasn't been looking too far into the future. "I'm ready for anything really."

7:15 p.m. Ferguson said he felt like the appeals court decision was the first time any judges were listening to him and his family and thanks the court.

7:14 p.m. Ferguson says he is looking forward to getting on with his life, but if what's happening today is any indication, it will be "weird."

7:13 p.m. Ferguson says of the crowd at the Tiger hotel, "There are a lot of people, it's kind of scary."

7:12 p.m. Ferguson says of his parents: "Without them...I wouldn't have had any hope. It would have been very difficult."

7:11 p.m. Ryan Ferguson greets applause by saying "I feels like Jay Leno or something."

7:10 p.m. Attorney Kathleen Zellner says Ferguson was told to put on civilian clothes, then told there was an issue and he had to put on prison garb.

7:09 p.m. Before introducing attorney Kathleen Zellner, Ferguson's father Bill Ferguson said, "I really had my doubts."

The Freed Ryan Ferguson page post about his release has gotten more than 9,000 hits and 935 comments.

Ryan Ferguson ReactionRyan Ferguson ReactionRyan Ferguson Reaction

Despite Ferguson's response to his release, it does not necessarily mean the case is over:

A Facebook page supporting the family has changed its name from Free Ryan Ferguson to Freed Ryan Ferguson.

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Dateline NBC reporter Keith Morrison tweeted this, referring to the many changes of plans for Ferguson's release:

In a press conference after an appeals court vacated Ferguson's conviction, both his father and attorney said they hoped to have him home by Thanksgiving day. This is from Twitter just moments ago:

On KOMU 8 News at 5 p.m.:

Bill Ferguson says, "It won't hit me until he's in the car and we are leaving the prison for the last time."

Kim Heitholt's daughter says, she "100 percent" did not want to comment on the issue.

Reaction on the streets: "To put the wrong person away does not heal that wound and we need to find the truth in the case" and "it's a classical example of what I think is prosecutorial miscondut."

The Free Ryan Ferguson page has changed its cover photo to a shot showing Ryan Ferguson with a Dateline reporter shortly before learning of his release.

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

KOMU 8 News has posted raw video of Ferguson's parents arriving at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.

Here is the bond ordering Ferguson's release by the Department of Corrections. Bond Order.pdf

The Free Ryan Ferguson Facebook post initially announcing the decision has now received more than 15,000 likes and more than 3,000 comments.

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

KOMU 8 News will have a host a Twitter chat with reporter Eric Hilt Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. He'll answer viewer questions about the case.

Few people on social media are being critical of the decision, and their reaction is being met with criticism.

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

While much of the social media reaction is positive, several people are raising questions about what happens now regarding the murder of Kent Heitholt.

The Free Ryan Ferguson Facebook page has gotten more than 8,000 likes on its post announcement the news.

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Ryan Ferguson ReactionRyan Ferguson Reaction

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Here are some of the comments KOMU 8 News has received on its Facebook page since the announcement.

Ryan Ferguson reaction

Ryan Ferguson reaction

Ryan Ferguson reaction

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

Ryan Ferguson Reaction

A sample of tweets as of 2:26 p.m.

The Facebook page Free Ryan Ferguson posted it's reaction.

Facebook Screenshot

4:44 PM - 11 Nov 13 zellner

KOMU 8 News broke the news for its audience via Twitter.

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