Trial delayed in Ryan Ferguson civil case against CPD, prosecutor

2 years 7 months 1 week ago Monday, May 04 2015 May 4, 2015 Monday, May 04, 2015 9:58:00 AM CDT May 04, 2015 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - The trial for Ryan Ferguson's civil lawsuit filed against several Columbia Police Detectives and a former Boone County Prosecutor which was originally scheduled for Monday, has been delayed.

Ferguson spent nearly 10 years in prison for the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. Ferguson's conviction was vacated in November 2013 and he was released.

The trial for the civil lawsuit was originally scheduled to begin Monday, May 4. In 2014, the city and two other defendants requested the trial be delayed to August. Those defendants, including the city of Columbia, have since been dismissed from the lawsuit.

The trial is now set to begin Aug. 24, 2015 in Jefferson City.

The suit alleges Columbia Police failed to properly investigate evidence in their investigation of Hietholt's murder, including the potential involvement of then-Tribune sports writer Michael Boyd. It also alleges police officers fed information about the murder to Charles Erickson, who was with Ferguson the night of the murder. The lawsuit claims Ryan Ferguson was arrested on March 10, 2004 on "fabricated evidence." 

The lawsuit originally named both the city of Columbia and Boone County. A judge dismissed both from the lawsuit in April 2014, but Ferguson's attorney Kathleen Zellner filed paperwork to have the city added back to the lawsuit. The city was voluntarily dismissed from the lawsuit in September 2014.

The suit names seven defendants, including six Columbia Police officers and former Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane.

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to fix grammatical errors.]

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