COLUMBIA â A lawyer for a man convicted in the same murder case as Ryan Ferguson said he is "just really disappointed" Charles Erickson will remain in jail.
Erickson pleaded guilty of killing a Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor in 2001.Â
âThe reason weâre going after things now and he hasnât in the past is because I think, frankly, for the first couple of years, he thought he did it,â Erickson's lawyer Landon Magnusson said.Â Â
Magnusson filed a writ of habeas corpus on Erickson's behalf, a legal right to determine whether detainment is lawful or not. Â
The petition was denied Tuesday.
KOMU talked to Ericksonâs mother over the phone Wednesday. She said she and the defense team were prepared for that.
âWe take it one day at a time. Then and now,â Marianne Erickson said. âItâs been difficult. Itâs been really difficult. Excruciatingly difficult.â
Investigators said Erickson and Ferguson were on the scene when Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt was shot on November 1, 2001.Â
Ferguson consistently maintained his innocence, and after years of appeals and petitions, his sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Jay Nixon in 2013.
Erickson now contends his confession was coerced.
Magnusson said a petition is the only way to get Erickson cleared.
âWhen itâs the only pen on the table and you need to write something down you grab it,â Magnusson said. âIt was all that there is.â
Marianne Erickson believes there is one answer for her son.
âFor ultimate justice for him, he needs to be exonerated,â she said. âHe needs to have those convictions wiped off his record.â
Erickson is up for parole in 2023, but his mother and Magnusson said thatâs not how they want him to leave prison. Â
âEven if he gets out of prison in four years and he walks,â Magnusson said. âHeâs still someone that has to try and live a life with a murder conviction.â
During the first aired recent interview with Erickson he said he doesnât expect the public, or even his family to believe his new claim of innocence.
Ericksonâs mother said she believes her son. Â
âHis confession and wrongful conviction, for me, and his admission of guilt in 2009, was always an enigma to me and difficult to understand knowing my son,â she said.
The next step in Ericksonâs case is another writ of habeas corpus filed in the eastern district court of appeals.
Magnusson said he will speak to Erickson in the coming days about how far he wants to take his case.