Appeals Court Sides with Officers in Ryan Ferguson Lawsuit

Oct 19, 2016

Credit Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

  A federal appeals court has ordered a judge to revisit her refusal to throw out a $100 million lawsuit by a man whose conviction in a Missouri sports editor's death was overturned after his nearly a decade in prison.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided Wednesday with six Columbia police officers Ryan Ferguson alleges fabricated evidence, coerced witnesses and ignored other suspects.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey last year rejected the officers' request to dismiss the lawsuit. Wednesday's ruling directs Laughrey to reconsider over whether the officers have immunity shielding them from liability in Ferguson's case.

Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years for Columbia sports editor Kent Heitholt's 2001 death. Ferguson denied involvement and was released in 2013 after an appeals court ruled the prosecutor withheld evidence.