Sunday, August 29, 2010

On The Case w/ Paula Zahn: The Long Road Home. Season 2, Episode 5

An Investigation Discovery Channel, May 16th 2010 episode on (version/edition of) my story.

Episode Cast (in credits order)
Paula Zahn...Herself - Host
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mark Abbott...Himself (voice: phone interview)
Dallas Butler...Himself - Eyewitness
Richard Callahan...Himself - Presiding Judge at Kezer's Hearing (as Judge Richard Callahan)
Chantelle Crider...Herself (also archive footage)
Kennenth Hulshof...Himself - Prosecutor (archive footage)
Josh Kezer...Himself (also archive footage)
Lelicia Martinez...Herself
Dawn Pierce...Herself
Ben Poston...Himself - Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
David Rosener...Himself - Kezer's Attorney
Stephen Snodgrass...Himself - Kezer's Attorney
Rick Walter...Himself - Scott County Sheriff's Office (also archive footage) (as Sheriff Rick Walter)
Charles Weiss...Himself - Kezer's Attorney
Jane Williams...Himself - Kezer's Friend (archive footage)

Update on Ryan's Recent August 2010 Hearing

Court grants Ryan Ferguson permission to seek new hearing

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | 5:34 p.m. CDT; updated 7:30 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ryan Ferguson, at his trial in 2004 in Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Ryan Ferguson, convicted of the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, can ask for another day in court.

On Monday, Missouri's Western District Court of Appeals granted Ferguson permission to ask for a hearing in Cole County in which he will seek a new trial. A previous Missourian story mistakenly reported that Ferguson had been granted the hearing.

The court said in its decision that Ferguson could not have been convicted without the testimony of his co-defendant, Charles Erickson.

In the 2005 trial, Erickson testified that he and Ferguson killed Heitholt in the parking lot of the Columbia Daily Tribune early in the morning of Nov. 1, 2001. But in November of last year, Erickson recanted, saying that while Ferguson was present, he alone strangled and beat Heitholt. Ferguson maintains he was never at the scene.

Ferguson's father, Bill Ferguson, is confident his son will get another trial.

"I am optimistic that with Erickson recanting and our new evidence that they will find him innocent of this horrific crime," he said.

Bill Ferguson said he believes neither his son nor Erickson were involved.

"Somebody's guilty of it, but I don't believe the two boys are," he said.

If Ryan Ferguson's request for a new hearing is granted, the hearing would be held in the Cole County Circuit Court. The court has jurisdiction over appeals filed from the Jefferson City Correctional Center, where Ryan Ferguson is incarcerated.

Bill Ferguson said his son's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, also has new witnesses and additional evidence that will serve to exonerate his son should the hearing be granted — including one witness who claims to have been at the scene around the time of the murder.


Permanently scarred forever? Maybe. Get over what happened to us? Never. What to do with that? Live. Get beyond it. Live. Work. Live. Go to church. Live. The bottom line. Live.

Many of us have done that with the help of the Lord Jesus Christ. I couldn't have done it without Him. Consider His scars.

~ Josh Kezer

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~
Kahlil Gibran

A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honor; so belike is that. ~
William Shakespeare

I just want to show off my scar proudly and not be afraid of it. ~
Carly Simon

Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love? ~
Fulton J. Sheen

God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars ~
Elbert Hubbard

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kezer Receives Settlement, Not Apology. August 14, 2010 by Erin Mcneill

Josh Kezer laughs after bowing to the media before getting in the car that was leading him away from Jefferson City Correctional Center as a free man on the day of his release.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Man Matters. The Other Doesn't Anymore. : 8/11/2010 Press Release Regarding The Recent Settlement In My Lawsuit

One of the many wounds of my time in prison involved my father. My father and I had a strained relationship prior to my incarceration in 93. We had both wanted one, but we both felt like we had been stripped of any potential while I was in prison. For those 16 years, I often worried about my relationship with my dad. I wanted one, but we had an impossible situation before us. I had been placed in a maximum security prison for 60 years. He couldn't come and see me but twice because it hurt him too badly to see me in that hell hole. He'd also been diagnosed with Diabetes early on in my sentence, was placed on kidney dialysis, had suffered a major heart attack as recent as 2005 and underwent major heart surgery. I remember talking to him just before he went into surgery. More than anything, I remember crying with him and praying. I remember being so angry and so hurt. I punched the concrete wall several times. I remember hitting my knees and crying out, like a little boy, to God.....PLEASE LET MY DADDY LIVE!

Yesterday was my father's 60th birthday. For the first time I can remember, I meet my dad's older brother Lee. Lee's birthday is the 13th of this month. He's 2 years older. I got to see my dad with his sisters, one of which is recovering nicely from cancer treatment. And my dad was glowing because, along with his brother and sisters, there sat his son. Thursday night, my dad and I went to see Grown Ups at the theater and we laughed together. Yesterday we shot pool and ate steaks. Today we're gonna go on the river and boat together. We're gonna fish. We've also got a rope and tube and we plan on acting like idiots The key word here being "together". God so obviously heard my cry in 2005.

To quote my dad, "It's like everything is brand new."

Some of you are wondering why I settled. You should know that we settled with an agreement that granted me a substantial amount. Second, had I not settled, this could have lasted years with appeals and more suits. I wanted to move on with my life.

Bill Ferrell (the old sheriff of Scott County) is irrelevant to me. During this process, I once offered him forgiveness. We were in the same room during mediation and I offered him forgiveness. He then responded directly to me by saying, "had I known the things we know now, I would have done things differently. I'm not the devil. I just want you to know that." And then he laughed. To me, it was obvious that he wasn't sincere. That was a crucial period for me. I had offered this man forgiveness for things the entire country knows he had committed and he still thought he could politic his way through the apology and deny things he and I know to be true. The truth being that Bill Ferrell concealed evidence regarding my case during the 93/94 expanse of the Lawless murder investigation that resulted in my wrongful conviction and 16 years of incarceration.

To quote Judge Richard G. Callahan's February 17th 2009 ruling/judgement in regards to the criminal case and Ferrell's involvement and my declaration of innocence:

"There is little about this case which recommends our criminal justice system. The system
failed in the investigative and charging stage" (pg. 1)


"Late on November 18, 1992, Lt. Bobby Wooten of the Scott City Police
Department interviewed Mark Abbott. Abbott unequivocally told Lt. Wooten that the person in
the white car looking for gas was Ray Ring, who is half African-American. He also told him that
he did not go to the Sheriff’s Office with this information because Deputy Beardslee thought he
was responsible for the murder.

In violation of the Missouri Supreme Court Rule 25.03, the State failed to disclose
the Wooten Report of the November 18, 1992 interview of Mark Abbott." (pg. 24)


"In violation of the Missouri Supreme Court Rule 25.03, the State failed to disclose
the investigative notebooks of Scott County Deputy Brenda Schiwitz, the primary investigator
for the Scott County Sheriff’s Department." (pg. 25)


"This Court concludes that the nondisclosure of the above-described exculpatory materials
constituted a violation of Josh Kezer’s constitutional due process rights within the holding of
Brady v. Maryland" (pg. 36)


"Howard admitted in a statement to Rosener that he made up the story of a confession under pressure from the Sheriff" (pg. 40)


"Another cellmate with Kezer and Howard, Jeff Rogers, testified by deposition that Josh
Kezer did not confess, but always insisted he was innocent. He also testified that Sheriff
Ferrell called him into his office and presented him with a statement, which already was
prepared, claiming that Josh Kezer confessed. He did not want to sign it because it was
not true but did sign after the Sheriff threatened to make life difficult for him if he
refused and to help him out if he cooperated. (Rogerts Dep. pp. 8-13). On advice of
counsel, he refused to discuss the matter in his deposition before Josh Kezer’s trial, rather
than lie; and the prosecution did not call him as a witness (Id. pp. 13-14). (pg.19)


Finding of fact, " Moreover, the testimony of Jeff Rogers—that Josh Kezer never told Rogers that he killed Mischelle Lawless and that Sheriff Ferrell coerced a false statement that Josh Kezer confessed from him too—corroborates Howard’s recantation." (pg. 27)


"This Court finds that Josh Kezer’s testimony that he was in Kankakee, Illinois at
the time of the murder, is innocent of Mischelle Lawless’s murder, and did not confess is
credible. He testified at the hearing and he answered all questions in a straightforward and
forthright manner." (pg. 28)


So, I had to decide what I was gonna do, how I was gonna respond.

Choosing to be the better man, I relunctantly shook his hand and reiterated my offer of forgiveness. Since that incident, I've been at a crossroads. I had to decide how to proceed. I knew I was tired of letting Ferrell get off easy, but I also knew that this case was exhausting me and I was ready to move on, so....I settled. Figuring I would be in a better position to make a difference in this world and in the fight against men like the old sheriff with the vast amount of money I would get in the settlement, I chose to accept it.

Bill Ferrell is nothing in the big scheme of things. His friends and connections in the Southeast area are nothing as well. If this case has taught me anything, it's that people, who think they're powerful enough to ruin lives and run others into the ground without any consideration of the consequences to the people and the communities they hurt, are nothing. Their substance is weak. In prison we had a term for men like them. "Paper tiger". It's a tiger that for all intents and purposes appears to be a real tiger from a distance, but when you get right up on it, where you can touch it and experience it first hand, they're merely paper. They're nothing. God has blessed the people of Scott County with a new era. More than once now the people have spoken up and anybody resembling the old good-old-boys network has failed getting re-elected. Paul Boyd and Rick Walter, if nothing else, are proof that in the hearts and minds of the good people of Scott County, Bill Ferrell is nothing but a paper tiger now. ....and....

....I am alive, free, at peace and headed toward something special in Christ Jesus. Case closed! (at least for now)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ryan Ferguson Hearing ...Invitation / Prayer Request

Just to clarify ~ this is an invitation to attend this event by way of actually showing up at Ryan's hearing and/or attending by way of prayer and support on this Facebook event page, on your own Facebook, Myspace or Twitter status or blog and on my blog. So, we're asking everyone to click attend on the Facebook events page...regardless if you can come to the actual hearing or not, if you're at least willing to stand or kneel with us in prayer for Ryan's vindication.

Address of the event: Kansas City Courthouse, 1300 Oak Street, Downtown Kansas City, 64106

Ryan Ferguson has been in a maximum security prison, as an innocent man, since he was 19. He's now in his mid 20's. I know this young man. For the final few years of my own 16 years of incarceration, prior to my exoneration in 2009, I came to know Ryan as a friend. We were both in Jefferson City Correctional Center together. I believe he is innocent.

I will be going to his hearing, this Thursday, and supporting his efforts and his family. I'd appreciate it if you went with me and showed him the support he deserves.

I'll be leaving Columbia between 6:30 and 7am, no later than 7:15 (taking the traffic and the media into consideration).

Following the hearing, the plan is to visit the Kansas City House of Prayer on Ryan's behalf.

The oral argument on Ryan's case is scheduled for 10:30 am on August 5th in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District (Kansas City).

The judges who will hear the argument and decide the appeal are Victor Howard, Thomas Newton and Gary Witt.

It is not clear if Ryan will be present or not. His family will be though. CBS will be. I will be. And we'd all appreciate it if you were also.

The hearing will be open to the public. We also want to encourage people to attend and build peaceful and creative prayer gatherings outside the court.

CBS 48 Hours Mystery will film the Oral Arguments.

CBS 48 Hours is planning to release an updated version of Ryan's story which will hopefully air this September considering all the new evidence discovered since the 2005 trial. (Direct your attention to 'Dream Killer: A Young Man Dreams He Murdered A Man')

This is very exciting.