A documentary series hosted by a Columbia native debuts Wednesday night on MTV. Ryan Ferguson follows alleged wrongfully convicted prisoners fighting for their freedom. He says he’s trying to take the blinders off of some police and prosecutors in the series “Unlocking the Truth”.
“Our mission is just to look at these cases individually to expose kind of the larger picture issues with what’s going on in our legal system today,” says Ferguson.
Ferguson was convicted of the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. His conviction was overturned in 2013, after spending nearly a decade in prison.
“A lot of people, when I got out, they thought I was the only one. They didn’t see this. Whenever I was arrested, I thought I was the only one. When you start to look deeper into our justice system, you see that there are a lot of people wrongfully convicted for crimes they had absolutely nothing to do with,” says Ferguson.
The series will take Ferguson back to the Jefferson City Correctional Center, where he spent most of his time in prison.
“Going back into prison to interview these guys, man, it’s not an easy thing. To expose injustice and to bring about the truth, it’s totally worth it,” says Ferguson.
Michael Politte, who was convicted of killing his mother in 1998 when he was 14 years old, will be featured in the series. Authorities said 40-year-old Rita Ann Politte was beaten and set on fire in their home in the southeast Missouri town of Hopewell.
The series begins at 10 p.m.