COLUMBIA — In light of new evidence and a recent habeas corpus petition filed on Ryan Ferguson's behalf, "Dateline" and "48 Hours" visited Columbia this week to film new shows about the murder of Kent Heitholt and the investigation that followed.
The show "48 Hours" aired its first story about the case in February 2006. They called it "Dream Killer," referring to Charles Erickson, who came forward in 2004 and admitted he and Ferguson had killed Heitholt. The boys were both 17 at the time of the murder.
Erickson said he didn't remember what he and Ferguson had done until he dreamed it.Erickson received 25 years in prison as part of a plea agreement. Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2005.
The "48 Hours" story was updated in April 2008, but Erickson has since recanted his testimony, saying he alone committed the murder. He maintains Ferguson was there, but did not participate in slaying Heitholt.
A writ of habeas corpus, which orders a person in custody to be brought before a court and places the burden of proof on those detaining the person to justify his or her continued detention, was filed on Feb. 14. The writ cited, among other things, that two key witnesses during Ferguson's trial recanted their testimonies and the jury selection for the trial was unconstitutional.
Ferguson's father, Bill, said both shows spent time with him this week revisiting the parking lot where Heitholt died and interviewing his son at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. He said he didn't know if Erickson was interviewed as well.
A producer for "48 Hours" said the show is set to run March 26. "Dateline" has not yet aired a story about Ferguson's case.