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Monday, 09 December 2013 06:08

Newspaper editor's murder under review

  COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia police detective is taking a fresh look at a journalist's 2001 slaying after one of two men originally convicted of murder was freed after his case was overturned.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports police are reviewing the sizable case file in the death of former Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, who was strangled and beaten to death in the newspaper's parking lot.

Ryan Ferguson spent nearly a decade in prison, but was released in November after an appeals court panel ruled that prosecutors wrongly withheld evidence from the defenses. Missouri's attorney general opted to not retry Ferguson.

Chuck Erickson continues to serve a 25-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to killing Heitholt. Ferguson says his former high school classmate is innocent.

Published in Local News

   Prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether to retry a man convicted in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.  

   A state appeals court panel Tuesday overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 conviction.  The court ruled 3-0 that he didn't get a fair trial because prosecutors withheld evidence from Ferguson's defense team.  

   The case had garnered national attention because Ferguson's friend Chuck Erickson had testified that he had remembered in a dream that he and Ferguson had been involved in Heitholt's death after a night of heavy partying.  

   Erickson is serving a 25 year sentence as part of a plea agreement, but later recanted his testimony.  So did a security guard who had testified that he saw Erickson and Ferguson at the newspaper offices the night Heitholt was robbed, beaten and strangled to death. 

   Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she has petitioned for her client's release on bail while prosecutors decide whether or not to retry him.

Published in Local News

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