Retrial bid in Columbia editor's slaying continues

A Columbia man serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 2001 killing of a newspaper editor is returning to court Tuesday in his latest bid for a new trial.

Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Ferguson was convicted in 2005 of second-degree murder in the strangling of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.

A jury convicted Ferguson largely on the testimony of Charles Erickson, a former high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 25-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Ferguson.

But Erickson now says he acted alone. That claim is at the heart of Ferguson's latest post-conviction appeal.

The case is being heard in Cole County since Erickson is imprisoned in Jefferson City.

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