Convicted murderer Ryan Ferguson returns to court for another hearing

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 8:03 a.m. CDT; updated 10:36 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Ryan Ferguson talks to a Missourian reporter in a visitors room at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for first-degree robbery and second-degree murder in the killing of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. A preliminary hearing in Ferguson's case was held Wednesday ahead of a five-day evidentiary hearing that starts Monday, where he hopes new evidence will prove his innocence.

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.

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Melissa Turner April 11, 2012 | 1:36 p.m.

Praying for you Furgeson family! It would be nice to see Ryan come home where he belongs.

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