More than 12 years after Kent Heitholt's death, the man originally convicted in his slaying may soon be released from prison. On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 murder conviction.
Nina Johnson, former librarian at the Columbia Daily Tribune and current librarian at the Missourian, recalls a series of events following the slaying of Kent Heitholt.
The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated Ferguson's conviction based on a Brady violation, ruling that the prosecution failed to share vital information with his defense.
The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District vacated Ryan Ferguson's 2005 conviction for murder. Here's a timeline of the evolution of his case.
If the state decides it will try to keep Ryan Ferguson behind bars, Kathleen Zellner said she will be ready. "If (the prosecutors) want a battle, we're always up for a fight." Her record of legal victories suggests that's no empty boast.
The court wrote that Ferguson did not discover until after his appeal and post-conviction motions had failed that the prosecution had not disclosed key evidence to the defense. That opened the way for the appeals court to consider the significance of that evidence.
As Ryan Ferguson's story is being told once again, here's a guide to some of the key people who have been connected to the case.
Kent Heitholt was killed in the parking lot of the Columbia Daily Tribune in 2001. Ryan Ferguson has been serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Heitholt's death.
The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District granted Ryan Ferguson's request to vacate his 2005 conviction for the murder of Kent Heitholt.
Local, state and national news organizations covered the breaking news of Ryan Ferguson's vacated conviction. Many also posted and updated stories throughout the day.
Follow the news conference with the family of Ryan Ferguson here.
The state's failure to disclose evidence that would have cast doubt on crucial eyewitness testimony is central to the decision by the Western District Court of Appeals.
"Erin Burnett OutFront," a news program on CNN, aired a special report Thursday on the Ryan Ferguson case. Here's some background and previous Missourian coverage on the case.
Ryan Ferguson's attorney and an assistant attorney general battled in court Tuesday over whether the state withheld important information about how eyewitness Jerry Trump identified Ferguson as one of two men he saw in the parking lot of the Columbia Tribune after the slaying of a sports editor.
Ferguson's attorneys will argue his case before a panel of three judges in the Western District Court of Appeals in September.
Ryan Ferguson, charged with Kent Heitholt's 2001 murder, is making his 14th attempt to overturn the 2005 murder conviction. A hearing has been set for Sept. 10.
The order calls upon the state to respond to the claims in Ferguson’s petition, which include a lack of physical evidence, a lack of credible witness testimony and a constitutional violation in the trial's jury selection.
Keeping the focus on the Ferguson case, the Midwest Innocence Project is co-hosting a panel discussion case Monday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School. People are invited to watch online and tweet questions or comment via Facebook.
Ryan Ferguson's lawyers filed a response to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster in the Western District Court of Appeals on Friday. Koster asked the court to deny Ferguson's petition earlier this month.
Chris Koster calls the effort unjustified and a waste of judicial resources. The appeal is Ferguson's 14th attempt to get his conviction overturned or his case back into court.