Man convicted in editor's killing returns to court

Update: Wednesday April 11th at 3:25 p.m.:

The prelimary hearing in the case of Ryan Ferguson has ended.

A judge heard 17 different motions on both sides of the case in a hearing that lasted less than an hour.

The evidentiary hearing will start as scheduled Monday morning at 9. It's expected to last 5 days with more than a dozen people testifying.

Key witness Jerry Trump will testify on Monday and Charles Erickson will testify on Wednesday.

Original Story:

A Columbia man serving a 40-year sentence for the 2001 killing of a newspaper editor is returning to court with new evidence he hopes will prove his innocence.

Ryan Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of second-degree murder in the strangling of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. Colleagues said Heitholt was attacked while feeding a stray cat in the newspaper's parking lot.

Ferguson has convinced a Cole County judge that he deserves a new hearing based in part of the testimony of Charles Erickson, a former high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty and received a lesser sentence but now says he acted alone.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, with a five-day evidentiary hearing to start on Monday.

KRCG 13's Mark Slavit will be in the courtroom and will have the latest information on our news at 5 and 6 p.m.