Segment on Ryan Ferguson to Appear on "Today" Monday Morning
COLE COUNTY - Ryan Ferguson is back in the national spotlight.
The Today Show will air a four-minute segment on Ferguson's case at 7:29 a.m. Monday, just three days after his defense team submitted official paperwork in its bid for a retrial of his 2005 murder conviction.
Judge Daniel Green will begin reviewing briefs from the defense and the attorney general's office Monday, and he will then decide whether to grant a new trial for Ferguson. Green has not set a timetable for the decision, but his office said he will rule as soon as possible after reviewing all evidence. In addition to the briefs submitted Friday, Green already listened to arguments in court during week-long evidentiary hearings in mid-April.
In those hearings, two witnesses recanted their original testimonies. Chuck Erickson, who pleaded guilty in the murder and received a reduced prison sentence in exchange for testimony against Ferguson, told the court in April Ferguson actually did not help him kill Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. Janitor Jerry Trump also recanted his original statements. He told a jury in the trial he saw Ferguson at the crime scene, but he said in April he made the story up because former prosecutor Kevin Crane (now a circuit judge in Missouri) told him it would be "helpful" to the case.
Crane denied those allegations when he took the witness stand in the hearings. The state also attacked the credibility of both Trump and Erickson during the hearings and in its briefs. To open April's evidentiary hearings, special prosecutor Ted Bruce told the court it would hear a "series of evolving lies" from Erickson's new testimony.
Ferguson's defense team introduced new evidence in the briefs submitted Friday-- information not presented to Green in April. Please refer to our earlier report for full details.