Ryan Ferguson spent 10 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit — and now the exoneree is using his wrongful imprisonment as a way to help others who may also be innocent.
MTV's new docu-series Unlocking the Truth — the trailer can be seen above — will examine three controversial cases showcasing three convicted men fighting for their freedom. Ferguson, along with co-investigator Eva Nagao (from the Exoneration Project), will comb through evidence and seek answers for these inmates and their loved ones.
"Ten years was taken from me," Ferguson, who was sentenced to 40 years for the murder of 48-year-old Kent Heitholt after false confessions and police misconduct, states in the clip above. "If I can stop them from putting innocent people in prison, that 10 years will have meant something."
And now, a bit of background about the real-life stories featured in Unlocking the Truth. Michael Politte was 14 years old when was arrested for the murder of his mother Rita Politte. She was found dead in her home after being hit with a blunt object and then set on fire. Michael is now serving a life sentence in the same prison in which Ryan spent eight years of his life.
Next, Byron Case was 19 years old when his friend Anastasia WitbolsFeugen was found in a Missouri cemetery with a gunshot wound to the face. Three years later, Byron’s ex-girlfriend came forward to police and claimed Byron was the murderer. Byron was given two sentences — life and life without parole — for the murder.
Lastly, Kalvin Michael Smith was 26 years old when he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and robbery for attacking pregnant Jill Marker. He has served 18 years of his 29-year sentence. Kalvin’s case has garnered the attention of many people in his town, and a “Free Kalvin Smith” movement has started in the city of Winston-Salem.
Watch the clip, and be sure to catch Unlocking the Truth every Wednesday beginning on August 17 at 11/10c (right after Catfish).