Judge denies new trial for Ryan Ferguson, convicted of killing Columbia Tribune sports editor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri judge has refused to grant a new trial for a Columbia man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2001 killing of a newspaper sports editor.

Ryan Ferguson was one of two teenagers accused in the beating and strangulation of Kent Heithold (HEYET'-hold) outside the Columbia Daily Tribune early on the morning of Nov. 1, 2001.

Ferguson based his bid for a new trial partly on recanted testimony from two key witnesses, including co-defendant Chuck Erickson. Ferguson received a 40-year sentence. Erickson received a 25-year sentence as part of a plea agreement for testifying against Ferguson.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Wednesday against Ferguson's request. The judge said he doubted that Erickson and a janitor who had implicated Ferguson were truthful when they recanted their earlier testimony.

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