Ferguson family hopes he's freed by Thanksgiving

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP/KSDK) - The parents of Ryan Ferguson hope to have their son home by Thanksgiving after a Missouri appeals court overturned his murder conviction in a 2001 killing.

Ryan and Leslie Ferguson were joined by their son's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, Tuesday at a news conference in Columbia. Earlier in the day, a panel of the Court of Appeals' Western District overturned Ferguson's conviction for the killing of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

The court said the prosecution failed to provide evidence to Ferguson's defense attorneys and that he didn't receive a fair trial.

The Fergusons say they're relieved by the ruling but won't rest until their son actually is freed.

Zellner has filed a motion seeking his release on bond while prosecutors decide whether to re-try him. She also compared his case to Amanda Knox's.

"And there are hundreds of thousands of people in the country following this case. Probably millions," Zellner said during the news conference. "So if the Italian government can let Amanda Knox go, even though her confession was coerced, surely a young man, who's done nothing but protest his innocence, when there is no evidence - her DNA is on the knife they think was the murder weapon – surely in America, someone like that should be set free."

You can watch the entire news conference below.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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