Judge to Rule on Ryan Ferguson Re-Trial

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JEFFERSON CITY - Ryan Ferguson may soon have a shot at a re-trial. Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green heard arguments Tuesday for Ferguson's request for a new trial.  The petition includes recantations of two key testimonies that led to Ferguson's conviction.

In 2005, Ferguson was convicted of the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt.  Heitholt was beaten and strangled to death in the Tribune parking lot in 2001.  Ferguson is currently serving a 40-year sentence for first-degree robbery and second-degree murder.

Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, flew in from Chicago Tuesday to speak on his behalf.  She said she is confident the judge will rule in favor of a new trial because she believes he is innocent.

"When someone is actually innocent and they've been convicted on perjured testimony, that conviction can not stand. Not in America.  And this one is not going to stand," Zellner said.

Ryan Ferguson's father, Bill Ferguson, was also present at the Cole County Circuit Court Tuesday. 

"The only reason he [Ryan] is in jail is because of lying testimony," Bill Ferguson said.

Judge Green did not say when he would rule on the request, but did say it would be "soon."