Court Hears Ferguson Appeal
KANSAS CITY - The Western District Court of Appeals heard new arguments Thursday in the appeal to overturn Ryan Ferguson's conviction for the 2001 murder of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. The court heard from both sides for about one hour according to Ryan Ferguson's father Bill Ferguson. The appeal surrounds the 2001 Halloween night murder of Heitholt.
Ferguson is pushing for a new trial after being convicted in October 2005 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. His attorney, Kathleen Zellner, says the courts should hear new evidence of co-defendant Chuck Erickson retracting his testimony that Ferguson committed the murder.
Both Ferguson's father and his attorney agreed that Thursday morning's arguments went well. Bill Ferguson said he was happy the case is being heard outside of Boone County. "We are very excited to present our new evidence and the new witnesses to a panel of three judges that have never seen it before outside of Boone County," Ferguson said. "We feel so much better about that."
Zellner said, "I believe the Western District will send the case for an evidentiary hearing on Erickson's new statement to Cole County."
Bill Ferguson said they are very optimistic and hope a decision will be made within the next two months.