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THE WEEK'S MOST READ STORIES: Ferguson conviction vacated, Green-Beckham sets record

Sunday, November 10, 2013 | 5:02 p.m. CST; updated 5:37 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 10, 2013

COLUMBIA — The week's most read stories include Ryan Ferguson's vacated conviction and Dorial Green-Beckham's record-breaking performance against Kentucky.

Here are the 10 most popular stories posted last week on ColumbiaMissourian.com, according to Google Analytics. Most of the links provided are to stories available only for Missourian digital subscribers.

  1. The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated the conviction of Ryan Ferguson, citing a Brady violation regarding a trial witness. In 2005, Ferguson was convicted of the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, for which he received a 40-year sentence. The appeals court said the state failed to release information regarding the testimony of Jerry Trump, who said he identified Ferguson from a newspaper his wife sent him while he was in prison. The state did not disclose that a private investigator had interviewed Trump's wife, Barbara, who provided a conflicting account. (7,107 views)

  2. Fans at the Nov. 2 Missouri-Tennessee football game reported that some audience members began to boo loudly after the mention of President Barack Obama during a halftime ceremony. New members of the Missouri National Guard were sworn in by reciting an oath that said, in part, "I will obey the orders of the president of the United States." These words elicited a negative reaction from some people in attendance.  (2,692 views)

  3. Ryan Ferguson was not immediately released following a Missouri appeals court's decision to vacate his 2005 murder conviction. The state has several options at this point. It has 15 days to file a motion with the Appeals Court; if it declines to do so, the state prosecutor will have 15 days to decide if Ferguson should be retried. If the state decides against a retrial, Ferguson will be immediately released. A special prosecutor was assigned to the case Friday. (1,776 views)

  4. Missourian columnist George Kennedy wrote Thursday that the state no longer has any compelling reason to connect Ryan Ferguson with the 2005 murder of Kent Heitholt. A retrial is unlikely, he wrote, because both Chuck Erickson — Ferguson's co-defendant — and an eyewitness have recanted their testimony. (1,735 views)

  5. Up until his death, Kent Heitholt regularly fed a stray cat after his workday at the Columbia Daily Tribune was done. A Missourian librarian found out about the cat and was able to have local animal rescue organization Second Chance locate the cat and give it to Heitholt's family. Heitholt's daughter later named the cat Margot after a character in "The Royal Tenenbaums." Heitholt's widow later told the Missourian Kent Heitholt's parents took the cat. (1,415 views)

  6. The Missouri Tigers have several bowl possibilities ahead of them, depending on how they perform in their next few games. As of Nov. 7, the two most likely outcomes were the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 in Atlanta and the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla. Other possibilities include the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the AT&T Cotton Bowl. (1,383 views)

  7. The Missourian updated its timeline of the Ryan Ferguson case, which extends from the 2001 murder of Kent Heitholt to Ferguson's Nov. 5 vacated conviction. The Missourian also provides an interactive timeline that lets users navigate through the years of legal proceedings surrounding the case. (1,152 views)

  8. The Missourian captured social media reactions to Ryan Ferguson's vacated conviction. Many people tweeted at state attorney general Chris Koster in the hours following the decision to ask him not to appeal the vacated conviction. Other tweets expressed shock, happiness and hopes that Ferguson's family would finally be at peace. (1,033 views)

  9. A separate Missourian page collected real-time reactions from social media users who had been following the Ryan Ferguson case. The reactions overwhelmingly expressed sentiments of joy in regard to the appeals court's decision and frustration with the legal system. (968 views)

  10. Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has seen a drop-off in production since conference play started: He's faced some tough Southeastern Conference cornerbacks, encountered limiting coverage looks and has been willing to concede certain targets to other players. But at Saturday's game against Kentucky, Green-Beckham broke a school record by becoming the first wide receiver to catch four touchdowns in one game. (807 views)


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