A Mid-Missouri judge refuses to grant a new trial for a Columbia man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2001 killing of a newspaper sports editor.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Wednesday against Ryan Ferguson’s request. Ferguson was one of two teenagers accused in the beating and strangulation of Kent Heitholt outside the Columbia Daily Tribune early on the morning of Nov. 1, 2001.
Ferguson based his bid for a new trial partly on recanted testimony from two key witnesses, including co-defendant Chuck Erickson. The judge said he doubted that Erickson and a janitor who had implicated Ferguson were truthful when they recanted their earlier testimony. Ferguson is currently serving a 40-year sentence at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. Erickson got a 25-year sentence as part of a plea deal for testifying against Ferguson.