Ryan Ferguson appealed for a pardon from the governor yesterday (Monday). Ferguson was convicted for murder in 2005 for the 2001 death of Kent Heitholt, a Columbia Tribune sports editor. Ryan’s father, Bill Ferguson says this is an unusual case.
“It’s the first time in the state of Missouri, we’ve ever had a situation where a person has been accused of a murder in which there is no physical evidence and which the only two witnesses have admitted to committing perjury on the witness stand." said Ferguson. "Based on that, we’re asking the governor to pardon Ryan.”
Bill Ferguson says there is no word yet on when Governor Jay Nixon will decide if he will pardon Ryan, who is currently serving a 40 year sentence. Ferguson has always maintained his innocence and is also seeking a new trial. Co-defendant Charles Erickson is serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Kathleen Zellner, who represents Ferguson couldn’t be reached but told the Columbia Missourian sometimes a pardon can happen faster than a case can move through the court system. Nixon's spokesman says the governor has never granted a criminal pardon. The Daily Tribune reports Missouri's Board of Probation and Parole will investigate the case and submit a report to Nixon.