Ryan Ferguson's retrial bid resumes with five-day hearing

Monday, April 16, 2012 | 8:22 a.m. CDT; updated 9:32 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 16, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — A Columbia man convicted nearly seven years ago for killing a Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor in 2001 returns to court Monday in his latest bid for a new trial.

Ryan Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and robbery in the strangling of Kent Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.

Ferguson has convinced a Cole County judge to allow new evidence during a hearing in Jefferson City, where he is imprisoned. The hearing is scheduled to last five days.

Ferguson won't testify, but his lawyers plan to call co-defendant Charles "Chuck" Erickson, a high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty to Heitholt's slaying and received a 25-year prison sentence. Erickson now says the two men were together but that only he killed Heitholt.

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Graeme Clinton April 16, 2012 | 1:08 p.m.

Ryan Ferguson has been convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison off the back of a distorted confession by his friend who by his own admission was 'out of my mind on drugs and alcohol'. Ryan Ferguson left no physical evidence at the scene of the crime. The only two witnesses used to convict Ryan were Chuck Erickson & Jerry Trump. They have both recanted and claim they were coerced into modifying their statements in favour of the prosecution of Ferguson. This is a grave miscarriage of justice. Please sign this petition to grant Ryan Ferguson get a new trial:

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Sarah Snyder April 16, 2012 | 1:25 p.m.
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