"It is painful. You just want to let go and lead your life," Evangelista said. "I have to keep reminding myself that whatever happens, God is in control and justice will ultimately be served by him."
Ferguson had expressed sympathy Tuesday night for Heitholt's family, saying "they've been lied to" by law enforcement authorities who pursued the case against him.
Ferguson's appeal was handled by Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, who specializes in cases in which she believes someone was wrongfully convicted. His quest for freedom was aided by an intense social media campaign.
The Free Ryan Ferguson Facebook page was changed Wednesday to "Freed Ryan Ferguson" and had 82,000 "Likes," including almost 8,000 in the past day. It included a new fundraising appeal to help Ferguson as he begins his life outside prison.
Follow David A. Lieb at: http://www.twitter.com/DavidALieb.