Appeal filed in Columbia sports editor's slaying

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- A Columbia man convicted in the death of a local newspaper sports editor is asking a state appeals court to overturn a Cole County judge's denial of a new trial.

The Columbia Daily Tribune ( reports 28-year-old Ryan Ferguson filed a 154-page petition Wednesday with the Missouri Court of Appeals. He is serving 40 years for the 2001 slaying of Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.

Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green in October rejected Ferguson's request for a new trial, even though the two primary witnesses against him have recanted their testimony.

Ferguson's petition says Green made several errors in applying the law and also was mistaken in his factual findings.

His lawyers say there is no evidence he was involved in Heitholt's death.