Witnesses raise more questions about Heitholt death

Apr 17, 2012

Two more witnesses are raising questions about evidence that helped convict a Missouri man in the 2001 death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Ryan Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and robbery in Heitholt's death. A hearing on Ferguson's bid for a new trial opened Monday in Cole County Circuit Court.

A private investigator working for Ferguson testified that two Tribune janitors who implicated Ferguson could not have identified him from their location near the newspaper's employee entrance. Another defense expert criticized the work of Columbia police detectives.

Earlier Monday, former Tribune janitor Jerry Trump testified he was coached to identify Ferguson and accomplice Chuck Erickson by former prosecutor Kevin Crane, who is now a circuit court judge. Crane has denied Trump's revised account.