JEFFERSON CITY — Ryan Ferguson, a Columbia man serving a 40-year sentence for the 2001 killing of a newspaper editor, is returning to court with new evidence he hopes will prove his innocence.
Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of second-degree murder in the strangling of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. Colleagues said Heitholt was attacked while feeding a stray cat in the newspaper's parking lot.
Ferguson has convinced a Cole County judge that he deserves a new hearing based in part on the testimony of Charles Erickson, a high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty and received a lesser sentence but now says he acted alone.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon with a five-day evidentiary hearing to start Monday.