Ferguson ‘trial’ still set for next week

Ryan Ferguson will be in a Cole County courtroom all next week — but he won’t testify, his attorneys told Judge Dan Green Wednesday afternoon.

Instead, key testimony in the case will be taken next Wednesday, when Ferguson’s former friend — Chuck Erickson, now 28 — will be called to explain to Green why Ferguson shouldn’t be in prison any longer, even though Erickson’s memory and testimony is a main reason Ferguson, now 27, landed in prison with a 40-year sentence.

The two men were convicted in 2005 of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, for the Nov. 1, 2011, killing of Kent Heitholt, the Columbia Tribune newspaper’s sports editor, as he was feeding a stray cat just before leaving work for the night.

Both were 17-year-old high school students who had snuck into a downtown Columbia nightclub on Halloween night 2001, then left the club around 1:15 a.m.

Heitholt’s body was found in the newspaper’s parking lot about 2:30 a.m. — he had been bludgeoned, and strangled with his own belt.

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