Judge: Can’t release Ferguson; ruling opens door to further appeals

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled late Friday afternoon he can’t release Ryan Ferguson from prison on Ferguson’s claim the jury selection violated state law because a trial court can’t hear an issue already decided by a higher court.

But Green also said his six-page judgment “is final for purposes of appellate review,” allowing Ferguson’s attorneys to take the case back to a higher court.

Ferguson, now 26, currently is in the Jefferson City Correctional Center, serving a 40-year sentence after a Lincoln County jury convicted him — in a Boone County trial — of helping kill Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2001.

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