COLUMBIA - Ryan Ferguson's father, Bill Ferguson, said Friday he does not think the decision to appoint a special prosecutor in his son's case makes much of a difference.
"We don't care what they do," Ferguson said. "The result will be the same whether it's a retrial or a release."
Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight filed a motion requesting a special prosecutor in the case because of a conflict of interest, according to a Friday press release from Knight. The press release states the motion was granted.
The original case was more than 10 years ago now. Ryan Ferguson was convicted of the 2001 murder of former Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, but a state appeals court overturned the case earlier this week. The court ruled the prosecutor's office withheld evidence from Ferguson's attorneys that could have helped Ferguson's defense. Now the state has to decide whether to release Ferguson, who is currently serving a 40-year prison term, or retry him.
"I think it was a good move for the Boone County Prosecutor to look for someone else," Bill Ferguson said. "I think it was a political move to shield himself from public opinion. It makes sense because he was on the original trial, and they wanted a neutral prosecutor."
A Boone County Court document states Assistant Attorney General Susan Boresi has been appointed as the special prosecutor. Boresi has been an Assistant Attorney General since 1993, is an adjunct faculty member at St. Louis University Law School and was appointed Deputy Chief Counsel for the Eastern Region in 1997, according to the St. Louis University website. Boresi is a special prosecutor for the Missouri Public Safety Unit.
Neither the Attorney General's Office nor the Boone County Prosecutors Office would comment on the decision.