US

Missouri man freed after conviction overturned for 2001 slaying of newspaper sports editor

  • FILE - In this combination of undated file photos is Ryan Ferguson, left, and Kent Heitholt, right. The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 that he won't seek to retry Ferguson whose murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of Heithold, a newspaper sports editor, were recently overturned. The decision means that Ryan Ferguson could be released from prison soon. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE - In this combination of undated file photos is Ryan Ferguson, left, and Kent Heitholt, right. The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 that he won't seek to retry Ferguson whose murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of Heithold, a newspaper sports editor, were recently overturned. The decision means that Ryan Ferguson could be released from prison soon. (AP Photo/File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bill Ferguson. left, speaks with members of the media about his his son's pending release from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 near the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Mo.    The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday that he won’t seek to retry Ferguson's  son whose 2005 murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of a newspaper sports editor were recently overturned. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune/Nick Schnelle)

    Bill Ferguson. left, speaks with members of the media about his his son's pending release from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 near the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Mo. The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday that he won’t seek to retry Ferguson's son whose 2005 murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of a newspaper sports editor were recently overturned. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune/Nick Schnelle)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bill Ferguson, center, speaks with members of the media about his his son's pending release from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 near the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferrson City, Mo.  The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday that he won’t seek to retry a man whose 2005 murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of a newspaper sports editor were recently overturned. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune, Nick Schnelle)

    Bill Ferguson, center, speaks with members of the media about his his son's pending release from prison on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 near the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Jefferrson City, Mo. The Missouri attorney general said Tuesday that he won’t seek to retry a man whose 2005 murder conviction and 40-year prison sentence in the slaying of a newspaper sports editor were recently overturned. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune, Nick Schnelle)  (The Associated Press)

Freedom did not come easy for a Missouri man whose murder conviction was overturned in the 2001 slaying of a newspaper sports editor.

Ryan Ferguson was released Tuesday evening — one week after an appeals court panel overturned his conviction in the death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

But Ferguson said he first thought he was being sent to solitary confinement when he was told to gather his stuff. Then after his attorney told him he was being freed, prison officials made him change back into an orange jumpsuit and sent him to a county jail.

Ferguson said he feared he was being arrested again but instead was freed from the jail. He received a victor's welcome from supporters at a news conference later in the night.