Ryan Ferguson Net Worth and How He Made His Money

Ryan Ferguson’s net worth is estimated at about $3 million to $5 million. His huge net worth is a result of the civil suit that he won against the Missouri police after he was wrongfully jailed for murder. He also makes a living from his other jobs as a trainer, motivator, and author.

Ryan Ferguson spent almost a decade in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Kent Heltholf. After his release on November 5, 2013, he filed a civil suit against the Missouri police which was the start of the accumulation of his huge net worth. Also, he has ventured into many other career efforts, which has added immensely to his net worth.

Here Is A Cursory Look At How Ryan Ferguson’s Net Worth Accrued

As already mentioned, Ryan Ferguson’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $3 to $5 million. He accrued his fortune from his various careers as a motivator, author, fitness and health trainer, and from his civil suit against the Missouri police.

He Won An $11 Million Civil Suit Against The Missouri Police

The Crime

In 2005, Ryan Ferguson was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for murdering Kent Heitholt, a sports editor at the Columbia Daily Tribune. The sports editor was murdered on November 01, 2001, around 2:12 to 2:20 am in the parking lot of his workplace. A few minutes before he was beaten and killed, it was revealed that he had a work-related talk with his co-worker, Michael Boyd.

At that time, the janitor who works at the newspaper company, Shawna Ornt, stepped out for a cigarette. When she returned, she noticed two figures in the parking lot and ran in to get her supervisor, Jerry Trump. When they returned, they saw two male college students beside Kent Heitholt’s car. They stated that someone yelled for help before the two male college students walked away.

On seeing this, they alerted other workers, who called the police. They also found out that Kent was beaten with weapons and strangled to death.

Meanwhile, Ferguson and his friend, Charles Erickson, were out at a Halloween party that night. They later left to get Ryan’s sister at a bar known as By George, where they spent all the money that they had left. The motivational speaker’s sister later got them more drinks before they left.

The Investigation

Two years after the murder, investigations were still going on. After Shawna Ornt, who claimed to have seen the male college students clearly gave a description, composite sketches were made, which turned out to be a close match for Ryan and Erickson.

The two were invited and interrogated by the police. Ryan narrated all that happened that night and told the police that he did not have a hand in the murder. However, Erickson could not narrate what happened on that day because he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine that night. After they gave their testimonies the police still did not give up.

On March 2004, both of them were arrested and charged with the murder of the sports editor. At the time of the trial, Erickson was offered a plea deal by the government to testify against Ryan Ferguson, which he did.

The Sentence, Exoneration and Law Suit

He gave false testimony on how Ryan strangled Kent in the parking lot. Jerry Trump also gave false testimony against the motivational speaker. After the false testimonies, Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years imprisonment for second-degree murder and robbery.

In 2009, a Chicago-based attorney, Kathleen Zellner, took over Ryan Ferguson’s case without demanding payment. She conducted a series of investigations and also made herself available on Ryan’s court sittings to prove his innocence. After proving his innocence, the motivational speaker was released on the evening of September 5, 2013. Meanwhile, Erickson was sentenced to 25 years for testifying against Ryan.

Notwithstanding, Ryan Ferguson moved on to file a civil suit against 11 individuals, including several police officers. He also included Boone County, Missouri, and the city of Columbia in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. The suit includes malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence, suppression of exculpatory evidence, recklessness, conspiracy to deprive constitutional rights, false arrest, and defamation.

In October 2020, the settlement hearing was held, and Ryan Ferguson was awarded $11 million of which $1 million, will be paid for each year that he spent in prison. He was also given $1 million in legal expenses, with all charges against him dismissed.

Ryan Ferguson Also Earns From a Series Of Onscreen Projects

Since Ryan Ferguson gained his freedom, he has dedicated himself and his time to a series of onscreen projects. In 2015, he appeared on a TV show known as Today, where he made $10,000.

From 2013 to 2016, he appeared in three episodes of a TV series titled 48 Hours. In 2013, he appeared on the TV series as the accused in the 2001 murder. He told the story of his imprisonment in 2014. His last appearance in 2016 was to let everyone know that he was wrongfully accused.

In 2015, a documentary about his case and his father’s efforts to prove his innocence, titled Dream Killer, was shown for the first time at the Tribeca Film Festival. Ryan Ferguson’s net worth increased by $10,000 in 2016 after he appeared on the Dr. Oz Show.

He further hosted an MTV series titled Unlocking The Truth appearing in 8 episodes of the show. In the show, he disclosed the truth about those who have been wrongfully convicted. This time, he made a whopping $75,0000 annually from the show until it ended.

In 2022, he competed on the American reality TV show The Amazing Race 33 alongside his friend, Dusty Harris. Together with his team, they finished in third place.

He Is A Personal Fitness and Health Trainer 

Having gotten into jail at the age of 19, his father urged him to become stronger, faster, and smarter in order to fit into his new environment. This motivated him to begin to engage in a series of workouts while in prison. A few months after his release, he became a certified fitness trainer.

His program involves six basic moves, including shoulder presses, diet plans, deadlifts, squats, basic cardio plans, and a basic nutrition program. Though he has not disclosed the amount that he makes from his career, he is sure to bag a reasonable amount from it.

The Motivational Speaker Has Authored A Fitness and Health Book

Ryan Ferguson also rakes in cash through his books. He is the author of Stronger, Faster, Smarter: A Guide To Your Most Powerful Body. The book contains all the diet plans, workout routines, and various other routines to maintain a healthy body and physique. It is sold at various bookselling platforms like Amazon, Publishers Weekly, and many others.

Other Means Through Which Ryan Ferguson’s Net Worth Increases

Aside from the mentioned endeavors that Ryan Ferguson has his hands on, he is also a social media star and influencer. He created a true crime podcast known as Prison Counts, which he co-hosts with David Dowling.

Ryan Ferguson became an advocate for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned since his release. He has been to so many places to give motivational speeches to people. He also earns from lending his voice to many though he has chosen to keep his earnings in this sector under wraps.

His podcast can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. Ryan Ferguson’s net worth is expected to increase significantly with his social media activities as the listening platforms pay users for their content.

A Rundown of Ryan Ferguson’s Net Worth Sources

  • Civil Suit
  • TV Projects
  • Personal Fitness and Health Training
  • Book
  • Podcast
  • Motivational speaking


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