Retrial bid in Columbia editor's death resumes

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia man convicted nearly seven years ago for killing a newspaper sports editor in 2001 returns to court Monday in his latest bid for a new trial.

Ryan Ferguson is serving a 40-year sentence for second-degree murder and robbery in in the strangling death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in the newspaper's parking lot.

Ferguson has convinced a Cole County judge to allow new evidence during a hearing in Jefferson City, where he is imprisoned. The hearing is scheduled to last five days.

Ferguson won't testify, but his lawyers plan to call co-defendant Charles Erickson, a former high school friend. Erickson pleaded guilty to Heitholt's slaying and received a 25-year prison sentence. Erickson now says the two men were together but only he killed Heitholt.

Fegurson's case was featured in a 2011 Dateline NBC report. To see video clips of that report, visit

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