Ferguson's Conviction Upheld
The court did not comment, but only re-affirmed the verdict, which is unusual. The family and attorneys really wanted to know some reasons why, but Ferguson's attorney didn't expect to have the full decision until Wednesday.
Ferguson is jailed in Jefferson City serving a 40-year sentence for the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. Ferguson's family posts all information, new and old, on the internet since the conviction, including posting video of his police interrogation on YouTube.
Now, Ferguson's attorney has 15 days to file a request for re-hearing in the same court. She said most times those requests are denied. After that, Ferguson has a few different options, one of them is appealing to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Ferguson's father, Bill, said the family has found new evidence since Ryan's conviction, evidence that was inadmissible in the original appeal. Because of that, he said Tuesday's decision was expected.
"We were not surprised. We were prepared for it, and it's due to the limited scope that the appellate court has," Ferguson said. "They could only look at the mistakes the judge made. They could not look at any new evidence. Very narrow scope. We would have been very surprised had we gotten a new trial or had he been exonerated at this level."
Since she had not received the official decision Ferguson's attorney would not speak with KOMU on Tuesday.
Heitholt's daughter, who now lives out of state, said her family is just trying to move on after her father's murder. Meanwhile, Ferguson's father said the family is exploring every option available as it moves on in the appeals process.