Mid-Missouri Reacts to Ferguson Appeal on Social Media

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Video of the complete news conference can be viewed by clicking on the embedded player to the left.

COLUMBIA -  In a Friday news conference, Ryan Ferguson's family and attorney repeatedly said they hope he is out of prison and home in time for Thanksgiving.

A Missouri appeals court vacated Ryan Ferguson's 2004 conviction in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

The following is a running account of the press conference held by parents Bill Ferguson and Leslie Ferguson, along with attorney Kathleen Zellner.

Updates were made in reverse chronological order:

6:07 p.m. - Press conference by Ryan Ferguson's family and his attorney Kathleen Zellner has wrapped up.

6:02 p.m. - Bill Ferguson: We cannot thank local, national and international reporters enough, this just goes to show you the power of social media.

5:57 p.m. - Bill Ferguson says the "missing link" is a person who witnessed the murder but has not come forward. Family is offering $10,000 reward for locating that person.

5:56 p.m. - Bill Ferguson: Family did what any other would in this situation: "always defend them, always protect them, always listen to them."

5:55 p.m. - Bill Ferguson: All the things we talked about and complained about, they're pretty much in that 54 page document - the court opinion.

5:55 p.m. - Bill Ferguson of son Ryan Ferguson: he never changed one syllable of his opening statement.

5:54 p.m. - Bill Ferguson said one of the first things he will do with Ryan Ferguson is play basketball. He says he feels vindicated for Ryan.

5:51 p.m. - Zellner: "We'll never stop fighting for him, and we're gonna walk out the door of that prison with him, and we're gonna do it sooner rather than later, and we're gonna get him sitting at that Thanksgiving table with these three people."

5:50 p.m. - Zellner: I dont think it was surpising there was a conviction, because nobody knew the witnesses were lying.

5:49 p.m. - Zellner: "I've been talking to missouri attorneys all day...and they believe this case is bulletproof."

5:47 p.m. - Ryan Ferguson's mother, Leslie Ferguson, says, "It's really an exciting moment for our family." She says, "It's just sad that all of this is going on and Ryan can't be a part of it."

5:46 p.m. - Bill Ferguson says of his son, Ryan Ferguson, "Until he's free then he's not free."

5:45 p.m. - Zellner: I recommend everyone study this opinion, because it shows the complexity of the law and how difficult this is...courts don't like to recognize mistakes have been made.

5:44 p.m. - Zellner: "It's really difficult to convinct someone who is innocent if the witnesses are lying."

5:43 p.m. - Zellner says there were numerous constitutional violations that were described in the court opinion. She calls them a "trademark" of the case.

5:41 p.m. - Zellner says, "I dont think there's way it will be overturned, but if they want to battle on we're up for a fight."

5:40 p.m. - For the first time I really saw joy on his face - attorney Kathleen Zellner speaking about Ryan Ferguson after hearing of the appeals court decision.

5:39 p.m. - Attorney Kathleen Zellner now speaking: We've filed the motion this afternoon and about 4:30 we got a court order giving the state seven days if they want to file objections to the bond motion.

5:33 p.m. - The hashtag #FreeRyanFerguson is picking up steam on Twitter.

5:18 p.m. -  Steady Twitter traffic on the Ferguson story, many people tweeting directly at Missouri Attorney General Chris Kostner (@Kostner4Missouri), asking that he not file new charges.

5:17 p.m. - Bill Ferguson mingling with press, waiting for arrival of attorney Kathleen Zellner.

4:43 p.m. - Bill Ferguson apologizes for the delay. He is waiting for attorney Kathleen Zellner, who was visiting Ryan Ferguson in prison.

4:41 p.m. - Bill Ferguson's press conference delayed until 5:30.