Jerry Trump was crying as he said Tuesday afternoon: "I'd like to have forgiveness from Ryan and his family."
His comment in a packed Cole County courtroom came just minutes after the former janitor told Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green: "My testimony was false" when he told a Boone County trial in October 2005 that Ryan Ferguson was one of two men who killed Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt almost four years earlier.
And he said then Prosecutor Kevin Crane had helped him make up a story for his courtroom testimony.
Trump was one of two key witnesses who testified Ferguson was at the murder scene. The other was Ferguson's co-defendant, Chuck Erickson, who testified Ferguson helped kill Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.
But Erickson, who pleaded guilty and received a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for his 2005 testimony, now says Ferguson tried to prevent the killing and that only Erickson was responsible.