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Man convicted of murdering Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor released on parole


A man convicted of killing a Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor in 2001 was released from prison on Monday at 8 a.m. according to Missouri's Department of Corrections.

Charles Erickson was originally sentenced to 25 years behind bars after confessing to the murder of Kent Heitholt and is set to be released on parole from the Missouri Department of Corrections. He served around 18 years behind bars.

Erickson's lawyer told ABC17 News that although they are disappointed he will not be exonerated from the crime, they are both excited for his parole on Monday.

Back in December 2018, Erickson filed his first petition to get out of prison. This petition was denied by the courts in April of 2019 because the judge claimed that Erickson, "freely, knowingly, and voluntarily" pleaded guilty back in 2004 to the crimes and did not ask for a plea at the time. 

However, his attorneys argued that Erickson should not be in prison because they said he was innocent, his guilty plea was not voluntarily or knowingly made and because police and prosecutors withheld and fabricated evidence. Erickson told police and prosecutors that he and Ferguson attacked Heitholt, who was strangled to death because they had run out of money while out partying and wanted some cash. 

Ryan Ferguson was also arrested along with Erickson despite maintaining his innocence from the start of the case. 

Ferguson was convicted of second-degree murder but was later exonerated after serving 10 years.  

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Kennedy Miller


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