Ferguson lawsuit puts strain on Boone Co. budget

Ryan Ferguson, shown here shortly after his release from prison last year, filed suit against Boone County and the City of Columbia for a total of $100 million.

Boone County has spent nearly $100,000 on outside attorneys to defend it and three employees in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of Ryan Ferguson and are expected to budget another $100,000 for addition legal fees.

County Counselor C.J. Dykehouse says in his request to County Auditor June Pitchford and the Boone County Commission he can't guarantee the additional money will be enough to get through the year.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Ferguson's lawsuit names 14 defendants, including four at the county level, the city of Columbia and its police department.

Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of first-degree robbery and second-degree murder in the 2001 death of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. Last year, a state appeals court panel vacated his convictions.

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