In 2005, 20-year-old Ryan Ferguson was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. dream/killer is the story of how his father Bill embarked on 10-year campaign to prove Ryan’s innocence. The film is chock-full of incredible characters. From the questionable District Attorney Kevin Crane, and the highly-confused witness Chuck Erickson, to the high-powered Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, the doc depicts both a highly flawed justice system, as well as one that can work brilliantly.
In 20 years, she's righted more wrongful convictions than any private attorney in America.
"Ryan, pack your s---,” the sergeant said.
Ryan Ferguson didn’t know where he was headed when he heard those words in his cell at a Missouri prison.
Maybe another facility. Maybe another cell. His best guess was solitary confinement.
Ferguson put his clothes and belongings into a cart he rolled in front of him. He passed through a door to a point where he was typically handcuffed. This time, no handcuffs.
Then, he went to another room where he saw Kathleen Zellner, 10 feet and two panes of plexiglass away from him.
Unable to talk to Zellner, Ferguson raised his hands, looking for guidance.
She picked up a light-blue jail pamphlet on the importance of parenting. She flipped it over, scribbled something and pressed it to the pane.
“It is over.”
“When Kathleen tells you it’s over,” Ferguson said, “it’s over.”
After 3,533 days of custody, Ferguson was freed on Nov. 12, 2013. What Zellner called Ferguson’s “Kafkaesque nightmare turned into a reality” began March 10, 2004, when police started questioning him about a 2001 murder in his hometown, Columbia, Mo. He always proclaimed his innocence, but after being convicted of second-degree murder and robbery, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison.