COLUMBIA — The Attorney General's Office has filed a response with multiple arguments against Ryan Ferguson's appeal for a new trial.
Ferguson was convicted of murder in the 2001 killing of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, largely on Charles Erickson's trial testimony which implicated Ferguson in the murder. In a sworn statement last year, Erickson recanted his testimony and said he acted alone in the murder. The appeals court ruled that it would consider Erickson's new testimony and said it will decide whether to grant Ferguson a new trial.
But Assistant Attorney General Shaun Mackelprang filed a brief Friday with the Western District Court of Appeals asking that the court deny Ferguson's request.
Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, could not be reached for comment.
In his original appeal, Ferguson argued that his counsel was ineffective for failing to refute Erickson's testimony.
The prosecution's latest response argues that Ferguson's counsel wasn't ineffective because it called three witnesses to counter Erickson's testimony.
Mackelprang made other arguments in the brief supporting the circuit court's original decision to deny Ferguson's appeal, including that the court acted appropriately in denying Ferguson's claims that the prosecution did not properly share evidence.
Ferguson's defense has 15 days from Saturday to file a reply, Mackelprang said. If the court follows its normal practice, a three-judge panel will review all of the filings once Ferguson's defense files its reply, Mackelprang said. He said he didn't know when the court will finish reviewing the case.