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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

   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.

IL House OKs $33M to set up conceal-carry system

Wednesday, 06 November 2013 02:41 Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has allocated $33 million to set up a program designed to regulate the carrying of concealed firearms.

   Lawmakers voted 96-17 for the $50 million supplemental appropriation Tuesday. Rep. Luis Arroyo - a Chicago Democrat - says about $500,000 is new general-revenue spending.

   The legislation gives the Illinois State Police authority to use money from $150 concealed-carry permit fees to pay for the additional staff and equipment necessary to set up the program.

   Lawmakers approved concealed carry last summer after a federal appeals court said Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban was unconstitutional.

   Several complained the measure does not include $112 million a court has ordered be paid to union workers who didn't get their full raise in 2011.

 

   Former Illinois state trooper Matt Mitchell is asking for the fourth time to have his driver's license reinstated at a hearing Tuesday morning at the Secretary of State's Mount Vernon office.  A similar appeal in July was denied.  

   Mitchell lost his license after pleading guilty to causing the 2007 crash that killed Collinsville sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl.  Mitchell had been driving his patrol car in excess of 120 miles an hour and texting when he slammed into the Uhl's car.  

   A decision on Mitchell's license reinstatement is not expected for 90 days.

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