He and a friend were convicted of killing a Columbia, Mo., newspaper editor and sentenced to prison. Ferguson, now 29, had insisted on his innocence. And last week, an appellate court voided his conviction.
Ferguson had been implicated in the 2001 slaying by a friend, Charles Erickson, who said he'd had had dreamlike visions that the pair, then both 17, had committed the murder after a night of drinking.
A Missouri appeals court found that prosecutors had failed to turn over important evidence to the defense before Ferguson's 2005 trial. The jurists threw out his conviction and presented the state with an ultimatum: Charge Ferguson again, or set him free.
On Tuesday, Missouri Atty. Gen. Chris Koster conceded and said he would not file new charges. In a one-sentence statement, Koster said he had reviewed what remained of the evidence and decided not to try to mount another trial against Ferguson "at this time."
"The guy's a lot of things, but [the] thing he is, more than anything else, is innocent," Ferguson said.