Family, support group hold rally for Charles Erickson's freedom

9 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago Sunday, April 28 2019 Apr 28, 2019 Sunday, April 28, 2019 1:38:00 PM CDT April 28, 2019 in Top Stories
By: Temi Oshadiya, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Family members and a support group met in Peace Park Sunday to gather signatures for a petition to help free Charles Erickson.

Erickson is currently serving a 25-year sentence for his connection to the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. He's been in prison now for 15 years.

His mother, Marianne Erickson, was one of the people at the park Sunday. She described her son as loving, beloved and caring. 

"Charlie is our beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew and scholar currently working on his undergraduate degree at Ohio University," Marianne said. 

She argues certain police techniques used in Charles' case contributed to his "unjust" sentence. 

"Prosecutors and police can use something called the Reid technique, which allows police to lie to people that they are interrogating, and it's because of the lying and the withholding of evidence that would prove Charlie innocent that convinced him and coerced him into giving a false confession," she said. 

Marianne said prosecutors should do more investigating before bringing cases to court.

"I really think that prosecutors should not bring cases to trial when there is no evidence to support guilt," she said.

Marianne and Les Masters, founder of Voices of Innocence, organized Sunday's petition rally to gather signatures that might help free Charles. They had nearly 20 signatures in an hour. 

Masters said there are many people sitting behind bars who are wrongly convicted and rallies like the one held Sunday help raise awareness.  

"A friend of mine, Rodney Lincoln, said if it happened to him, it can happen to you. We need to put a stop to this," Masters said. 

Charles has a new lawyer, Landon Magnusson, who has filed a 98-page petition he hopes will help Charles' case.

Marianne said she is very pleased to have Magnusson on board and knows he will continue to fight for her son's freedom. 

"We're in a wonderful stage in Charlie's case because a professionally trained appellate attorney has taken on his appeal - his habeas corpus appeal - to demonstrate actual innocence," Marianne said. "He [Landon Magnusson] has taken on this case with so much diligence and we have not had this before."

According to previous KOMU reporting, here is a timeline of events relating to Charles' case and Heitholt's murder.

  • Nov. 2001 - Kent Heitholt is found dead in the Columbia Daily Tribune parking lot.
  • March 2004 - Charles is charged and arrested for the murder along side his high school friend, Ryan Ferguson, who maintained his innocence. 
  • Nov. 2004 - Charles pleads guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and accepts a plea bargain for 25 years in prison in exchange for his testimony against Ferguson. 
  • Dec. 2005 - Ryan Ferguson is found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison. 
  • Nov. 2006 - Sept. 2013 - Ryan Ferguson files multiple motions and appeals to have his conviction vacated. 
  • Nov. 2013 - Ferguson's conviction is vacated and he is released from prison.
  • Dec. 2018 - Landon Magnusson filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Charles. 

Charles has a parole date set for 2023, but his family and friends are hopeful that he's free before that. 

"His motto is to take everyday as it comes. He is very hopeful too," Marianne said. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY — Former U.S. Attorney General and former Missouri governor John D. Ashcroft is defending current Attorney General William... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 8:10:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
A new study shows a substantial number of young adults are starting college feeling depressed or anxious. The study... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 7:45:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County Officials announced their plan on Dec. 5 to transfer ownership of the Boone County Fairgrounds to... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 7:24:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, (AP) — Missouri is the only state without a statewide database to track prescription opioids, and it's unclear... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 5:17:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - Ashland chief of police Lyn Woolford has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ashland and its mayor,... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 4:47:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A new Missouri Senate bill would require judges to have hearings to certify whether or not to... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 4:02:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
TUSCUMBIA, Mo. — A former seventh-grade teacher in central Missouri has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for providing... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 3:49:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council is meeting Monday afternoon to discuss new polices on trash pickup. During their Pre-Council,... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 3:21:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
FERGUSON (CNN) - An off-duty Ferguson police officer was shot multiple times when he confronted a shoplifter at a Walmart... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 2:42:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Medicaid enrollment in Missouri has both lawmakers and citizens concerned. The state has dropped more than... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 2:29:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who was driving a boat when a... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 12:21:00 PM CST February 17, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA -- A man charged with shooting at an Ashland Police officer will be going to court tomorrow on charges... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, February 17 2020 Feb 17, 2020 Monday, February 17, 2020 10:28:00 AM CST February 17, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Members of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri will spend two days at the capitol,... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:34:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Members of Rock Bridge High School’s Students Demand Action group hosted a forum Sunday where local leaders answered... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:07:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
LACEDE COUNTY- One teen died and three others suffered injuries in a single-car-accident Saturday afternoon. The driver of the... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:48:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
VIENNA- On Thursday, February 13, Task Force Officers, Vienna Police Department, and the Maries County Sheriff’s Office executed a search... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:43:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (AP) — Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with a fatal shooting last week, and authorities... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 4:00:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
HALLSVILLE- A house fire broke out off North Frink Road Sunday afternoon. Firefighters found a fire in the attic... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, February 16 2020 Feb 16, 2020 Sunday, February 16, 2020 2:19:00 PM CST February 16, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 40°
2am 38°
3am 35°
4am 33°
5am 32°