Following his 2005 trial, Ryan Ferguson was sent to prison with a 40-year sentence for the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.
The prosecution's case against Ferguson centered on Chuck Erickson's confession and testimony. He had confessed to beating Heitholt with a tire tool and testified that Ferguson had strangled Heitholt to death.
In a statement that was made public Monday, Erickson says he acted alone in the murder.
Ferguson's lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, filed a motion asking the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District to send the case back to the trial court based on the new evidence. If the court denies the motion for reconsideration of the evidence, it could make a decision based on the previous evidence presented.
In the motion filed, Zellner notes the risk Erickson has created for himself as his recent statement violates his plea agreement requiring him to present the truth in his testimony against Ferguson. Ferguson has remained consistent in his denial of involvement in the crime since his arrest and has maintained that he was not at the scene of the crime.
In July 2008 Richard Leo, a false confessions expert, testified at a evidentiary hearing that Erickson's statements contained many signs of a persuaded false conviction.
Do you think that Ferguson should get a new trial? Do you think Erickson is telling the truth?