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Judge Rejects Ferguson’s Retrial

A judge has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of killing a Columbia newspaper editor.Wednesday afternoon, Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled that Ryan Ferguson did not prove his “actual innocence” of killing Columbia Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt.Ferguson filed the appeal for a new trial in February 2011 and a five-day hearing was held in April 2012. Ferguson did not testify at the hearing, but his lawyers claimed that the witness Jerry Trump’s testimony had been recanted. Judge Green also rejected the notion that co-defendant Charles Erickson had recanted his testimony. Both Trump and Erickson originally stated Ferguson was at the scene of the murder, but then changed their testimonies.In the end, Judge Green ruled that there was not enough new evidence to cast doubt on Ferguson’s original conviction.Ferguson’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, says they will file a new writ of habeas corpus in the Western District Court of Appeals. Bill Ferguson, Ryan’s father, tells ABC 17 News that process has already started. Zellner says her case will focus on Jerry Trump’s testimony being classified as perjury, just in essence, being thrown out.Ferguson is currently in the Jefferson City Correctional Center serving a 40-year sentence for his role in the 2001 killing. In 2005, Ferguson was found guilty of second degree murder and first degree robbery. Erickson received a 25-year sentence as part of a plea agreement for testifying against Ferguson.

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