Witness recants account in Columbia editor’s death

ALAN SCHER ZAGIER

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Columbia Daily Tribune janitor who testified he saw convicted killer Ryan Ferguson at the scene of sports editor Kent Heitholt’s death in 2001 now says his previous testimony was a lie.

Jerry Trump says he was coached to identify Ferguson and accomplice Chuck Erickson by former Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane, who is now a circuit court judge.

Trump’s videotaped testimony was shown Monday morning in a Cole County courtroom at the start of a weeklong hearing in which Ferguson is seeking a new trial.

Crane has previously denied Trump’s revised account. He is scheduled to testify on Friday.

Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and robbery in the strangling death of Heitholt in the newspaper’s parking lot. Erickson will also testify this week.

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