Day 2 in Ryan Ferguson??s hearing for a new trial brought a forensic pathologist to the stand.
Dr. Larry Blum said an autopsy showing Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt died of strangulation and a blow to the head suggests the murder was not motivated by robbery. This questions the theory from police that Heitholt was killed during a robbery. On top of that, Ferguson??s attorney said former medical examiner Eddie Addelsteen missed some evidence because he wasn??t trained in forensics.
Witness Jerry Trump also appeared in court. A video of his testimony was played Monday, but the judge decided he wanted Trump to deliver his testimony in person.
Trump was a janitor at the newspaper when Heitholt was killed. He originally identified Ferguson and his accomplice Chuck Erickson to officials, but now he says former Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane coached him into identifying the two."I told police that I could not identify the two individuals," Trump said in the video.
Trump is now a key role in the defense??s case for getting Ferguson a new trial.
"The sole evidence tying Mr. Ferguson to the crime was the testimony of Charles Erickson and the identification of Jerry Trump," said Kathleen Zellner, Ferguson??s lawyer. "A great deal of our evidence will focus on the recantation of those two witnesses."
All week various witnesses will take the stand as the defense aims to convince the judge that Ferguson deserves a new trial. Ferguson himself will not take the stand, but Erickson will. He??s scheduled to speak Wednesday.
Ferguson is serving 40 years behind bars. Erickson has 25. The push for a new trial started when Erickson changed his story. He said he alone killed Heitholt and Ferguson was not involved.