COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Missouri judge awarded Columbia native Ryan Ferguson $5.3 million in connection with his 2005 wrongful prosecution and conviction for the murder of local newspaper editor Kent Heitholt.
St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, doing business as Travelers Insurance, covered the city of Columbia for law enforcement liability from 2006 to 2011 for up to $2 million per year. On Aug. 3, the company was ordered to give Ferguson $1 million for each year he was in prison under their policy. The additional $354,000 was awarded for Ferguson's legal fees.
Ferguson served 10 years in prison before his murder conviction was thrown out by the Missouri Court of Appeals in 2013.
The $5.3 million award is only in partial satisfaction of a $11.04 million federal court judgment Ferguson won last year. The city of Columbia and its current insurer have paid out $2.75 million to Ferguson.