RYAN FERGUSON, A MISSOURI MAN RELEASED AFTER 10 YEARS IN PRISON, AND HIS FATHER, BILL FERGUSON, SPEAK TO “CBS THIS MORNING” IN FIRST SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW SINCE RYAN’S RELEASE
FERGUSON TELLS CHARLIE ROSE, NORAH O’DONNELL AND ERIN MORIARTY: “I NEED TO BUILD MY LIFE BACK”
Ryan Ferguson, in his first sit-down interview since being released from prison after serving 10 years for a murder he didn’t commit, told CBS THIS MORNING that right now his focus is on getting his life back together.
“My emotions, personally, I don’t think they’ve caught up to my yet,” Ryan told Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Erin Moriarty in an interview broadcast today, Wednesday, Nov. 13, on the CBS Television Network.
Ryan and his father, Bill Ferguson, spoke about the case and what Ryan planned on doing next. “I need to get clothes. It’s really just the basic things, the fundamentals, the things that people overlook on a daily basis. I need to build my life back,” Ryan Ferguson said.
Bill Ferguson also credited CBS News’ 48 HOURS for reporting on his son’s story for the past eight years. “Those were the leaders, the ones who brought attention to this case back in 2006,” he said, adding the broadcast stayed with the case all the way through.
A transcript of the interview is below.
CHARLIE ROSE: Ryan Ferguson and his father Bill are with us now from Columbia, Mo., for their first sit-down interview since being released. Good morning. I can imagine you might have thought you’d never see this day, or you always believed you would, but now that it has arrived, tell us your emotions.
RYAN FERGUSON: My emotions, personally, I don’t think they’ve caught up to me yet. It’s amazing. You know, it’s quite early in the morning, I haven’t really had the opportunity to experience the day yet. But I know as it unfolds there will be new adventures and it will be incredible. So definitely looking forward to getting into the day.
CHARLIE ROSE: You have said to get arrested and charged for a crime you didn’t commit is incredibly easy, and you lose your life very fast, but you get out of prison, it takes an army. Tell me about that.
RYAN FERGUSON: It does.
BILL FERGUSON: Well, it does take an army, and fortunately we had the Marines, in the form of Kathleen Zellner. That made all the difference in the world. Kathleen saved the day for our family, absolutely.
NORAH O’DONNELL: But Ryan, what about your parents? You gave a shout-out to your parents who have stood by you this entire time, for a decade.
RYAN FERGUSON: It no doubt begins and ends with my parents. They’ve been there since day one. They’ve believed in me, they’ve taken the time to look at all the facts. And they have been fighting non-stop. That includes my sister as well, my whole family. They have been incredible. And without them I know that it would have been very difficult for me to have hope and have faith in the process. And to be there when Kathleen came along to be able to help us.
CHARLIE ROSE: How do you restrain what must be a sense of deep injustice, a sense of rage, even the hostility you should feel or might feel, to Mr. Erickson, who helped put you there?
RYAN FERGUSON: Mr. Erickson was used, that’s pure and simple. It’s easy to see that by looking at the facts. There needs to be accountability for the way he was used, and there’s multiple cases where other individuals have been kind of pushed into false confessions. That’s a whole other subject. It would take quite a while to delve into that completely. But I feel sorry for that individual, hopefully he’ll get justice one day.
CHARLIE ROSE: What are the things you think you might want to do now?
RYAN FERGUSON: The things I might want to do. I need to get clothes. It’s really just the basic things, the fundamentals, the things that people overlook on a daily basis. I need to build my life back.
ERIN MORIARTY: I want to ask Ryan and Bill, did you ever, ever expect this to happen this quickly? Most people thought it would take months.
BILL FERGUSON: We’re quite surprised. We thought it would more likely happen today if it was going to happen. It wasn’t a question of if it was going to happen, it was a question of when it was going to happen. So we were surprised and we’re so excited, absolutely.
NORAH O’DONNELL: And Bill, what about Erin Moriarty who has been on this case since the beginning, and 48 HOURS?
BILL FERGUSON: They just did an excellent, excellent job. Those were the leaders, the ones who brought attention to this case back in 2006. They started filming during the trial in 2005 and they just stayed with it all the way through and that means so much to us. That was tremendous.
CHARLIE ROSE: Congratulations to you and your family and your father and your attorney, who fought so hard to make this happen, and also to our own Erin Moriarty, whose coverage for 48 HOURS led, I think, to the attorney who helped do so much for them to get involved in the case.
ERIN MORIARTY: I think the focus on this case, particularly now, may have helped contribute to the fact that they decided not to retry him. They didn’t drag it out any longer. I think there was so much focus on this case.
CHARLIE ROSE: Great work. Thank you again, Ryan and Bill Ferguson.
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Chris Licht is the Vice President of Programming, CBS News, and Executive Producer of CBS THIS MORNING.
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