Columbia man convicted of killing sports editor gets hearing date

The Columbia man serving time for killing a sports editor there has a new court date — and a new chance to argue that he should be released from prison.

Ryan Ferguson, now 26, is serving a 40-year sentence at the Jefferson City Correctional Center for helping kill Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2001.

After co-defendant Chuck Erickson talked with Columbia police about the then unsolved crime, Ferguson was charged in March 2004 with second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, and convicted Oct. 21, 2005, by a Lincoln County jury imported to Columbia for the Boone County trial.

Erickson cooperated with officials and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, after he testified against Ferguson.

Because he’s being held in a prison in Cole County, Ferguson’s latest appeal to win his release from prison is being argued in the Jefferson City-based courts.

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