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      Ferguson family accepts apology from key witness

      Members of Ryan Ferguson??s family have accepted an apology from a key witness in Ferguson??s 2005 murder trial.

      Ryan??s father Bill Ferguson said Jerry Trump was courageous and sincere when he gave tearful testimony during a recent hearing that could lead to Ryan Ferguson??s freedom.

      The former Columbia Daily Tribune janitor testified that he lied when he said he saw Ferguson at the murder scene.

      Ferguson is serving 40 years in prison for the 2001 murder of Kent Heitholt.

      Cole County Judge Daniel Green is looking over new evidence that could overturn Ferguson??s murder conviction.

      Trump could face perjury charges for changing his testimony.

      Bill Ferguson said, ??I don??t know of very many of us that could have withstood the pressure from the prosecutor to lie. He was in a survival mode. He did lie for the prosecutor. He admitted that. Now to come forward and tell the truth, and expose yourself to 10 to 20 years in prison, that takes a tremendous amount of courage. For that, we sincerely accept his apology.??

      Prosecutors and defense attorneys have until June 15 to give any additional documents or written testimony to Judge Green for Ferguson??s hearing.

      After that, Green will look over evidence from the week long hearing that took place last month.

      Bill Ferguson predicts it will take the judge about a year to reach a decision for a new trial.

      The case is expected to end up in the Missouri Supreme Court.