Columbia man, police reach settlement in ‘wrongful conviction’ case; police accused of fabricating evidence

COLUMBIA — A man whose conviction was overturned after spending nearly a decade in prison has settled a portion of his lawsuit against police.

A federal judge was informed during a teleconference Tuesday that the settlement in Ryan Ferguson’s lawsuit against six Columbia Police Department members is awaiting signatures. Court records say the attorneys expect the deal will be finalized this week or next. No details were disclosed. Attorneys for Ferguson and police didn’t immediately return emails from The Associated Press.

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 evidence was withheld. His lawsuit alleges detectives fabricated evidence, coerced witnesses and failed to investigate other possible suspects.