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THE WEEK'S MOST-READ STORIES: Ryan Ferguson's evidentiary hearing; Gary Pinkel separates from wife

Sunday, April 22, 2012 | 6:38 p.m. CDT; updated 7:10 p.m. CDT, Sunday, April 22, 2012

Last week, readers took special interest in the evidentiary hearing of Ryan Ferguson, who was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the 2001 strangling death of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. Six of last week's most-read stories on ColumbiaMissourian.com covered Ferguson's hearing but are not presented in chronological order below. These are the stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics.

  1. Witness testimony in Ryan Ferguson's evidentiary hearing Monday challenged Columbia Police Department detectives' interrogation techniques when interviewing Charles "Chuck" Erickson after he confessed in 2004. Erickson testified in 2005 that he and Ferguson killed Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt together, but detection of deception examiner Joseph Buckley was called by the defense to testify that detectives weakened Erickson's confession because they didn't ask Erickson to provide specific details not released to the media or public. 1,724 page views
  2. During the fourth day of witness testimony in Ferguson's evidentiary hearing,

    Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane — who was the prosecuting attorney in Ferguson's trial in 2005 — denied allegations that he coerced Columbia Tribune janitor Jerry Trump to place Charles "Chuck" Erickson and Ferguson at the scene of Heitholt's murder. Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner cross-examined Crane, who denied that he bargained with Trump in exchange for his identification of Ferguson. 1,688 page views

  3. Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel announced Friday that he and his wife, Vicki, separated at the beginning of this year. Pinkel and his wife met while they were both students at Kent State University and married in 1973. They have three children. 1,555 page views

  4. MU veterinarian Leah Cohn and a North Carolina State University professor Adam Birkenheuer discovered a drug combination that treats "bobcat fever," a fatal tick-borne disease that affects domestic cats. Cohn, professor of veterinary internal medicine, has worked on treating cytauxzoonosis, or "bobcat fever," for nearly a decade. In Birkenheuer and Cohn's study, 60 percent of infected cats survived with the treatment, which consists of two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-protozoal drug that is similar to those used to treat malaria. 1,499 page views

  5. After being postponed from its originally scheduled date in October, Ryan Ferguson's hearing for a new trial began Monday in Cole County Circuit Court. The Missourian compiled a timeline of important events related to the case since Kent Heitholt's death in 2001. 1,276 page views

  6. During Ryan Ferguson's 2005 murder trial, Columbia Tribune janitor Jerry Trump recalled the events of the night of Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt's murder. He said that he saw two young men behind Heitholt's car and that one of them called out that someone was hurt. In Ferguson's evidentiary hearing Tuesday, Trump revised his earlier testimony and said he falsely identified Ferguson as one of the men he saw in the Columbia Daily Tribune parking lot the night of the killing. In other testimony, forensic pathologist Larry Blum called into question the use of the tire tool as the weapon that killed Heitholt. Blum said Heitholt's pattern of injuries do not fit the wounds a tire tool could cause. He also testified that a tool like a nail puller has all the components to produce the three injuries found on Heitholt: two prongs, a long stem with sharp edges and a round tip. 1,259 page views

  7. Missourian columnist J. Karl Miller wrote that President Barack Obama is waging a class war on the wealthy. Miller said Obama's administration denies the class warfare designation, instead implementing the virtues of the "Buffett Rule," a newly described federal minimum tax imposing a levy of 30 percent on the income of anyone earning more than $1 million a year. 1,105 page views

  8. At halftime of the Black and Gold spring football game April 14, Missouri unveiled its new uniforms for football, men's and women's basketball, women's soccer and volleyball. Missouri worked with Nike for 18 months to design the new uniforms, which put more emphasis on the Mizzou nickname and the oval tiger head logo. 967 page views

  9. In Ryan Ferguson's week-long evidentiary hearing, Charles "Chuck" Erickson testified Wednesday that he has no memory of the night Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt was murdered in the Tribune parking lot. Erickson said he is "trying to do the right thing now" after he admitted to lying in previous testimonies to protect himself and later to help Ferguson. 915 page views

  10. Charles "Chuck" Erickson admitted Wednesday in Ryan Ferguson's evidentiary hearing that he was under the influence of alcohol, Adderall and cocaine. Erickson said he wasn't sure if he was the sole perpetrator in the murder of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001 after he testified in 2005 that it was Ferguson's idea to commit the crime and that Ferguson strangled Heitholt to death.


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