Charles Erickson's latest challenge to his imprisonment for his 2004 conviction in the murder of former Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt has been denied. 

Erickson's attorney Landon Magnusson filed a petition for a new writ of habeas corpus on June 24.

The petition alleged that Erickson is wrongfully imprisoned because the guilty plea he initially entered was unconstitutional and involuntary, his previous counsel did not represent him well and there was exculpatory evidence not considered in the original case.

The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals denied the petition Monday. 

"If there is any bright side, it's that this denial came so swiftly," Magnusson said in a news release. "We have not yet reached the end of the road. Our next stop is the Supreme Court of Missouri.”

Erickson initially told police he and Ryan Ferguson killed Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt and pleaded guilty to all three charges. Ferguson pleaded not guilty to the same charges, but was convicted by a jury on the charges of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in 2005. Ferguson's conviction was vacated in 2013 and he was awarded $10 million in damages. 

  • Assistant City Editor. I am a senior studying data journalism. Contact me at, or 574-850-0257.

  • As senior editor of the Missourian, Fred Anklam manages general assignment reporters. He can be reached at or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

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