Heitholt murder still making headlines 10 years later
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 01:00:00 GMT —
It was exactly 10 years ago on Halloween night when one of the most mysterious murders took place in Columbia TMs history.
Someone attacked and strangled Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt and left him in the newspaper TMs parking lot to die.
Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder.
Ferguson said he can prove he TMs innocent as he continues his quest for freedom.
At the time of the murder, Columbia police investigators were frustrated because they had very few leads in the case. It wasn TMt until 4 years later when Ryan Ferguson TMs friend Chuck Erickson told authorities they killed Heitholt.
Erickson said he helped Ferguson kill Heitholt. Tribune employee Jerry Trump said he saw Ferguson at the scene of the crime.
Both men now said they were lying during Ferguson TMs 2005 trial. They also said the prosecutor at the time, Kevin Crane, helped them with their false testimony. Ryan TMs father Bill Ferguson has made it his life TMs goal to free his son from prison and clear his name.
Bill Ferguson said, We absolutely feel that the perpetrator of that crime is still at large. I believe that within the next year or so that we are going to find out who actually committed this heinous act.
Nationally known defense attorney and high-priced lawyer Kathleen Zellner is now representing Ryan Ferguson. Zellner said there is no question that Ferguson will eventually be free based on the evidence.
A judge granted Ferguson a habeas hearing that TMs been delayed until April 16. That hearing will allow defense attorneys to present the evidence they believe shows their client was wrongfully convicted.Ryan Ferguson TMs case has been featured numerous times on the CBS News program 48 Hours.