Ryan Ferguson returns to court today
Update: Monday, April 16th at 9:53 p.m.:
Ryan Ferguson won't testify, but his lawyers plan to call co-defendant Charles Erickson, a former high school friend to the stand on Wednesday. Defense attorney Kathleen Zellner says Erickson and Columbia Daily Tribune janitor Jerry Trump lied during Ferguson's 2005 murder trial. "The sole evidence tying Mr. Ferguson to the crime was the testimony of Charles Erickson and the identification of Jerry Trump," says Zellner. "A great deal of our evidence will focus on the recantation of those two witnesses."
Prosecutors say Ferguson does not deserve another murder trial because Erickson only changed his story so other prisoners would not consider him a snitch. Erickson is serving twenty-five years in prison for his
part in the murder of Kent Heitholt.
"If you're a rat or a snitch in prison, you got to fight," says special prosecutor Ted Bruce. "If you go further and keep pushing, if you fight in prison, then you end up in prison longer."
Witness Jerry Trump gave his testimony through a video deposition. Trump said former Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane coached him to identify Ferguson and accomplice Chuck Erickson.
"I told police that I could not identify the two individuals," Trump said on the stand. "That's correct."
Former Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane is now a circuit court judge. Crane is scheduled to testify on Friday.
Update: Monday, April 16 at 10:50 a.m.:
A janitor has recanted his testimony in the first day of a weeklong hearing for Ryan Ferguson.
Jerry Trump was a janitor at the Columbia Daily Tribune at the time sports editor Kent Heitholt was killed. He originally testified that he saw Ferguson at the scene of the killing. Now Trump says that was a lie.
Trump says former Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane coached him to identify Ferguson and accomplice Chuck Erickson. Crane is now a circuit court judge. Heâ??s scheduled to testify on Friday.
Ferguson sat in the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit as Trumpâ??s videotaped testimony played. So far he has sat emotionless, occasionally jotting down notes on a pad of paper.
Trump and Erickson are a big part of the defenseâ??s case in getting Ferguson a new trial. Erickson, who originally said he and Ferguson were responsible, now says only he killed Heitholt. Erickson is set to testify on Wednesday.
Ferguson is serving a 40 year sentence while Erickson is serving 25 years.
A Columbia man convicted nearly seven years ago for killing a newspaper sports editor in 2001 returns to court Monday in his latest bid for a new trial.
Ryan Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and robbery in in the strangling death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.
Ferguson has convinced a Cole County judge to allow new evidence during a hearing in Jefferson City, where he is imprisoned. The hearing is scheduled to last five days.
Ferguson won't testify, but his lawyers plan to call co-defendant Charles Erickson, a former high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty to Heitholt's slaying and received a 25-year prison sentence. Erickson now says the two men were together but only he killed Heitholt.