Erickson's New Lawyer Wants Him Released

3 years 1 month 2 weeks ago February 06, 2014 Feb 6, 2014 Thursday, February 06 2014 Thursday, February 06, 2014 7:38:00 PM CST 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
LINN - State Technical College in Linn opened up its campus to recruit prospective students and to show off what... More >>
3 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:49:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fire Protection District said Saturday it is conducting a search and rescue at the Katfish... More >>
4 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:37:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two men each are jailed on $750,000 bond after being accused in connection with the St.... More >>
5 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:38:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Two semi trucks and multiple cars were part of a wreck Saturday that closed westbound I-70. The... More >>
5 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:23:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Republican-led Missouri Legislature will get back to a business-friendly agenda when it returns from... More >>
8 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:35:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole... More >>
9 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — An activist who helped shut down a St. Louis-area freeway during protests commemorating the first anniversary... More >>
9 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:45:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a 15-year-old boy was killed and six other people were critically wounded... More >>
9 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:41:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – A group of local artists hosted a fundraiser Friday night, giving people people the chance to view works... More >>
14 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 5:40:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia businesses are coming together to encourage community members to lead healthy and balanced lives. Keystone Chiropractic... More >>
15 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 5:28:00 AM CDT in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a Kansas City suburb where a fire destroyed a multimillion-dollar apartment building under... More >>
16 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:30:30 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police say a man arrived at a Missouri hospital with his lips apparently glued together after coming... More >>
16 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:19:00 AM CDT in News
COLE COUNTY - Deputies arrested a man Friday evening for shooting a gun near Rainbow Hills Road, the sheriff's office... More >>
23 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:39:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said Friday it will begin patrolling areas with a high concentration of student housing... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 7:09:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri judge says summaries of initiative petitions against right to work no longer fit since... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:59:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Republican Gov. Eric Greitens will be visiting the U.S. Capitol this weekend to talk policy with... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:49:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A Mid-Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to multiple sex charges. ... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:22:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
PITTSBURG, Kan. - Former University of Missouri head basketball coach Kim Anderson has agreed to join Division II Pittsburg State... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 4:43:00 PM CDT in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 55°
9pm 54°
10pm 53°
11pm 55°
12am 53°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00p
Despicable Me 2
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
10:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 10
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Despicable Me 2
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld