Mar 17, 2022
“Amazing Race” Season 33 contestant Ryan Ferguson spent nearly 10 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a 2001 murder in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri.
Ryan was a 17-year-old high-school student at the time of the
murder he was wrongfully accused of murder and was sentenced to 40
On November 1, 2001, Kent Heitholt, sports editor for the Columbia (Missouri) Daily Tribune was murdered in the newspaper’s parking lot around 2:10 am.
Two years later, a young man named Charles Erickson began publicly sharing recurring dreams that he and his former classmate Ryan Ferguson were involved.
What followed was viewed by many as a series of finger-pointing, confusing confessions, questionable police work, awkward eye witnesses and a prosecution team hell-bent on solving the case.
The result: Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years in prison based almost exclusively on “eye witness” accounts from teenage dreamer Erickson and Tribune janitor Jerry Trump who, at trial, miraculously gained the ability to positively identify Erickson and Ferguson.
Both witnesses later recanted their testimony, claiming that police and prosecuting attorney Kevin Crane, now a circuit court judge, had coerced them to lie.
The 2005 conviction was vacated on November 5, 2013, by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, and Ferguson was released on the evening of November 12 after spending nearly a decade in prison. He won $11 million in a civil suit against Missouri police.
A documentary entitled “dream/killer” chronicles the story of how Ryan’s father, Bill Ferguson, embarked on a 10-year campaign to prove Ryan’s innocence. Ryan’s podcast, PRISON COUNTS, can be found wherever you get your podcasts.
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Ryan Ferguson Online:
Prison Counts Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/prison-counts/id1602931878
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