COLUMBIA — Ryan Ferguson, convicted in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt, has been denied a hearing before the state Supreme Court by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District.
Ferguson's father, Bill Ferguson of Columbia, said the decision was no surprise and will allow Ferguson's legal team to file a habeas corpus petition, in which he can present new evidence not available during the first trial. That petition could result in a new trial.
Attorney Kathleen Zellner of Chicago, working on Ferguson's case pro bono, said she is confident Ferguson will be granted a new trial.
"We have gathered new evidence that will be the basis of our habeas corpus petition, which we will file in Cole County before Jan. 1," Zellner said.
Ferguson is incarcerated at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, in Cole County.
Bill Ferguson said that the recent recantation of trial testimony by Chuck Erickson, Ryan Ferguson's alleged accomplice, will be among the new evidence.