TODAY

TODAY   |  November 15, 2013

Ryan Ferguson: ‘Surreal’ to be out of prison

After his release following nearly 10 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, Ryan Ferguson is trying to find his way in life as a free man. He tells Dateline’s Keith Morrison that returning to his hometown is “very strange” and feels like “a whole different life.”

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> story of a missouri man that spent a decade in prison for a murder he says he did not commit. we spoke to ryan ferguson this week after he was released from prison and nbc's keith morrison was with him exclusively as ferguson explored his newfound freedom this week.

>> two different worlds, that's for sure.

>> this week we took ryan ferguson out for a walk. this newly free young man is now a tourist in his own hometown. columbia missouri .

>> do you recognize your town?

>> i do. however there's a lot of new things. it's very strange. it's surreal.

>> surreal, indeed. in case you missed this week's media frenzy , ferguson is the 29-year-old who was released from prison on tuesday after his murder conviction was overturned. he spent nearly 10 years behind bars.

>> we can compare.

>> reporter: this is ryan hours before he was set free . we have been following him for years through all of his hopes, his appeals and his set backs and now a big adjustment.

>> i'm starting to get stressed out about a few thing which is is strange to me because it's just --

>> stressed out about what?

>> i don't know. it's a whole different life. i know what to do in prison. i know where to be and when to be there and how to do things. out here it's completely different environment and i have to find my way essentially.

>> reporter: and as he finds his way, he has some items on his to do list. among them, a surprise to work to free chuck ericson, the same man whose testimony helped send ryan to prison. he later recanted. he is not a killer or guilty of this crime. he doesn't deserve to spend time for a murder he didn't commit.

>> she released a statement saying her client is relieved and overjoyed by ryan 's release.

>> reporter: and he told us about a more personal item on his to do list. a visit to the grandparents he feared he would never see again. so we arranged a little plane ride to florida for this --

>> oh my god.

>> reporter: a joyous family reunion .

>> i love you.

>> i love you.

>> reporter: he hasn't seen them since christmas 2003 and was now finally back at the house he had spent so many summers.

>> does it look like it used to?

>> reporter: his mother snapped pictures and finally for ryan ferguson , life could begin anew.

>> group hug.

>> wow, you can see more of keith's report tonight on dateline 8:00, 7:00 central time .