Erickson's New Lawyer Wants Him Released

4 years 5 months 6 days ago Thursday, February 06 2014 Feb 6, 2014 Thursday, February 06, 2014 7:38:00 PM CST February 06, 2014 in News
By: Brittany Pieper, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

COLUMBIA - In November 2013, Ryan Ferguson was released from prison after nearly a decade behind bars. He was 1 of 2 people serving time for the murder of Columbia Tribune Sports Editor, Kent Heitholt. The other man, Charles Erickson, remains in prison, but he has a new lawyer. Laura O'Sullivan, with the Midwest Innocence Project, took the case not long after Ferguson's release, and she hopes to get Erickson released from prison, as well.

"I lied and said I remembered things I didn't remember," said Erickson on the stand at a hearing in April of 2012. He claimed he had previously given a false confession when he told police he and Ryan Ferguson had killed Heitholt.

Erickson and Tribune janitor Jerry Trump changing their story were two major developments in the case, but their testimony is not what ultimately led to Ferguson's release from prison. The court found the prosecution withheld evidence, and that vacated the conviction. O'Sullivan thinks key information was also withheld from Erickson.

"Those very same things are the things that went wrong with Charles," O'Sullivan said. "Information that should have been turned over that wasn't turned over."

According to O'Sullivan, similar circumstances led to 4 of the 6 overturned convictions in Missouri last year. "Violations where the prosecution or police were required to turn over information and did not, so that's really concerning," she said.

O'Sullivan would not let KOMU 8 News interview Erickson, but she did discuss what comes next. "Reviewing documents, investigation, consulting with experts, and visiting Charles and getting to know him a little bit better, too."

O'Sullivan hopes to have some sort of motion filed within the year. She says she realizes while Ferguson and Erickson served time for the same crime, the cases are different. Ferguson always maintained his innocence. Erickson did not. He pleaded guilty and told police he and Ferguson had committed the murder.

However, O'Sullivan claims false confessions are more common than most people think.

"People confess to crimes thinking that maybe they can clear it all up once they get out of the room," she said. "Once they get out of the room with the police they can clear it up, so there's a variety of reasons why people give confessions, give statements that are false."

In the 2012 hearing, Erickson told the court he gave a false confession because he was scared.

"I said look man, I don't know," Erickson said. "They started telling me well we're gonna put your head on the chopping block. Which to me basically tells me I'm gonna be executed."

"Charles did not get a fair shake in the system in the same way that Ryan did not get a fair shake, and as Ryan is getting out of prison his call to the public and his call to action was let's not leave Charles behind," said O'Sullivan.

Kent Heitholt's daughter did not wish to comment on recent developments in the case. At this time, Columbia Police Department detectives are reviewing more than 400 police reports connected to the case, but it's still considered cleared.

"We still made 2 arrests, so that clears the case," Sgt. Joe Bernhard said. "Whether the convictions further on down the line- when we clear a case it's because there's an arrest or an exception."

For more information on the Midwest innocence project, click here.

To visit the Free Charles Erickson Facebook page, click here.

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities shot and killed a man suspected of shooting three Kansas City police officers, a newspaper... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, July 15 2018 Jul 15, 2018 Sunday, July 15, 2018 1:34:00 PM CDT July 15, 2018 in News
CHICAGO (AP) — Footage from body cameras and surveillance cameras shows that a man who was shot and killed by... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, July 15 2018 Jul 15, 2018 Sunday, July 15, 2018 11:07:56 AM CDT July 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A proposed ballot initiative aims to replace Missouri's system for drawing state legislative districts with a... More >>
5 hours ago Sunday, July 15 2018 Jul 15, 2018 Sunday, July 15, 2018 10:46:43 AM CDT July 15, 2018 in News
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The amount of water being released into the lower Missouri River will likely remain above normal... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, July 15 2018 Jul 15, 2018 Sunday, July 15, 2018 10:27:00 AM CDT July 15, 2018 in News
MORGAN COUNTY - 37-year-old Brett Davidson of Clarksville, Tennessee was pronounced dead after drowning in the Lake of the Ozarks,... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, July 15 2018 Jul 15, 2018 Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:53:00 AM CDT July 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Senator Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley both met with supporters and volunteers Saturday at each of their... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 10:43:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - A 17-year-old from Jefferson City will be competing at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin, in August.... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 6:50:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - House hunters are looking beyond Columbia due to a lack of middle-income housing in the city. Realtor... More >>
23 hours ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 5:00:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
(CNN Money) -- Microsoft has helped innovate facial recognition software. Now it's urging the US government to enact regulation to... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 3:22:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Seven cases of cyclosporiasis in Missouri may be linked to eating McDonald's salads, the Missouri Department of Health... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 2:33:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The U.S. homeland security secretary said on Saturday there are no signs that Russia is targeting this... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A paragliding protester hovered within surprising proximity of President Donald Trump on Friday night as the president admired... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 1:38:05 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - KOMU 8 News was in contact with the Callaway County Sheriff at 1 p.m. They said that... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 1:09:00 PM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some Missouri nurses will soon be able to take advantage of a pilot program that allows... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 11:00:00 AM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- If movie-streaming seems like Goliath, Blockbuster video store owners are an industry's Davids still fighting to keep the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, July 14 2018 Jul 14, 2018 Saturday, July 14, 2018 8:29:00 AM CDT July 14, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Elder law attorneys and the Department of Health and Senior Services are warning the community to keep a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 13 2018 Jul 13, 2018 Friday, July 13, 2018 9:37:00 PM CDT July 13, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A Chinese spy ship is currently spying on a major US-led military exercise off the coast of Hawaii,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 13 2018 Jul 13, 2018 Friday, July 13, 2018 8:29:00 PM CDT July 13, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - An investigation into the theft of trailers, ATV’s, farm equipment and other items in Callaway County lead... More >>
1 day ago Friday, July 13 2018 Jul 13, 2018 Friday, July 13, 2018 6:29:00 PM CDT July 13, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 95°
5pm 94°
6pm 93°
7pm 90°
8pm 87°