Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ryan Ferguson Not to Be Retried

Missouri attorney general decides not to retry Ryan Ferguson after murder conviction overturned

AP file
Ryan Ferguson
 JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri's attorney general has dropped all charges against Ryan Ferguson, who was convicted 10 years ago of brutally beating and strangling well-regarded newspaper editor Kent Heitholt on a fateful  2001 Halloween night in Columbia, Mo. The state will not retry Ferguson.
“We are on our way to Missouri. We will not leave until Ryan Ferguson walks out of the front door of the Jefferson City Correctional Center,” tweeted Ferguson’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, Tuesday afternoon.
"Dateline NBC's" Keith Morrison first profiled Ferguson in 2011, six years after his 2005 conviction, and sat down with him hours before the announcement of his release. "Dateline's" new interview will air later this week.


Tania Cadogan said...

off topic

The Florida home of Casey Anthony's parents where her daughter Caylee died in 2008 has gone into foreclosure.

George and Cynthia Anthony are now facing eviction from their Mount Dora residence after NationStar Mortgage LLC filed foreclosure papers with the Orange County Register of Actions against the coupe last week.

The value of the house located in the 4900 block of Hopespring Drive is listed between $50,001 and $249,999, the notice of intent obtained by RadarOnline stated.

According to the real estate site Zillow.com, the Anthonys' 1,472-square-foot home was built in 1986 featuring four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The couple bought it in 1989 for $90,000.

This marks the second time that the Anthonys have found themselves on the brink of being ousted from their home.

In February 2010, Bank of America began the foreclosure process against the property, but eventually dropped the case, HLN-TV reported.

In July, George and Cynthia Anthony made national headlines after selling off their dead granddaughter's toys and other items during a garage sale in an attempt to raise cash.

Casey Anthony has stayed out of the spotlight since she was acquitted of her daughter's death in July 2011 following a high-profile trial.

Last month, Anthony agreed to pay $75,000 to a Texas-based search charity that helped look for her missing daughter as part of a settlement.

The mother reported her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie missing in the summer of 2008, 31 days after her daughter was last seen.
Following a massive manhunt, the toddler's badly-decomposed body was found four months later buried in a trash bag in Florida woodland not far from George and Cynthia's home.

Anthony was charged with first-degree murder. At her trial in 2011, a jury believed Anthony’s version of events that Caylee had accidentally drowned and she had panicked and buried the girl with her father George.

Although Anthony was found not guilty of murder in 2011, she was convicted of lying to police after it emerged that she had made up her explanation of why Caylee was missing.

She claims to be nearly $800,000 in debt thanks to heavy legal fees, and a bankruptcy trustee has sought to sell off the rights to her life story in order to pay her bills

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2504112/Casey-Anthonys-parents-facing-EVICTION-Florida-home-granddaughter-Caylee-died.html

It couldn't happen to a nicer couple :)

Jo said...

So happy for Ryan and his family. I hope they finally look into the employee that was last to see the victim alive.
Curious if there will be any change for Erickson's sentence.

Anonymous said...

If he didn't deny it,I can't deny items on his behalf.

Anonymous said...

"Victim"use the NAME evil one.

Anonymous said...

Foreclosure or not, the Anthony home will be a hard sell. It is stigmatized due to little Caylees' death that very well may have occurred either inside or outside the home, in the pool or in the yard.

In any event, it appeared that Casey had tried to bury her in the backyard but gave up due to being unable to dig a hole in the hard ground with the neighbors shovel. IIRC, didn't cadaver dogs hit on an area of decomp odor in the backyard?

Many buyers (and renters) are leery of stigmatized homes where someone is believed to have been murdered, (at any price), including investors. Hard sell.

Sus said...

It's sad to see what a good public relations team can do.

I read all court testimony, I think most interviews , and I have yet to hear Ryan Ferguson give a reliable denial.

I understand Chuck Ericson will be represented by the Innocence Project, also. I'm betting he knew that in his last changed testimony.

Jen said...

K A R M A! I love when I get to see it in action!

elf said...

I may be wrong, but I think Peter did an analysis of ericksons 'confession' and was indicated for deception.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I imagine a bulky you,me in handcuffs,me blindfolded,yuk yuk mmmmmmmmmmm

John Mc Gowan said...


Oh Dear.

Hundreds line up to buy limited-edition Rob Ford bobblehead doll


Sus said...

I will look back for that. Thank you. Could you tell me which confession your speaking of...the original on tape that many consider coerced?

John Mc Gowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update..

Memorials scheduled for Dylan Redwine, case still being investigated as homicide:

I wonder if Dylans Dad will have anything to say ?.


elf said...

Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me. So tie me up and spank my @$$ and show me that you like me :D
happy hump day anonymous kinkster ;) lol

John Mc Gowan said...

OT Update:

Toronto mayor admits to buying illegal drugs.

The city council debates formal motion to urge Rob Ford to apologize over drug scandal.


Anonymous said...

I'm twitching!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my giddy Gordon!!!! *chomps on a steak* yuk yuk Mmmmm :)

Unknown said...

Ugh! I have tried several times to create a nifty profile like John, Apple, Lemons or Hobs, with a cute pic and everything...but my phone hates me, so this is the best I could do, lol!

So from now on I shall post as Jen Ow, (apparently because I can't figure out how to change my profile name to just plain Jen either, any tips are welcome)!


Unknown said...

Well I'll be...the pic finally worked! Now I just have to figure out how to edit my name, lol

My DBT Life said...

This case has intrigued me. The lack of physical evidence and yet a 40 year conviction is frightening. His "drug addicted" buddy's testimony, getting clearer over time and being BELIEVED is even more frightening.

I read a jurors interview some years after the fact and it was stated that he (and other jurors) felt that Ryan came off as a spoiled, arrogant, rich kid and his attorney was not that great.

What I would like to know is:
1) Dallas Mallory categorically denies seeing Erickson sometime after the murder at a traffic light, even claiming he didn't have a car or his license at the time. Yet in the police reports he says that he knew of Erickson from school and he did see him that night and that Erickson had made the comment that "they had beat someone down"- I want to know and understand the discrepancy here. Had Ryan and Chuck been involved in a bar fight?

2) I have yet to locate Mike Henry's statement to police following the discovery of Kent. I've found blurps of his testimony that he saw two "college aged students earlier that day" What I am intensely curious about is does he corroborate Mike Boyd's statement that Kent came out while the two were talking outside or not? Basically, which one of Boyd's five versions does Mr. Henry share? The http://freeryanferguson.com/ site has offered the most comprehensive location of information, but no police record of what Mr. Henry's take on that evening was.

Taking into consideration what has transpired and statement analysis, body language analysis, etc. it is my belief that Ryan and Chuck had done things that evening, sneaking into a college bar - perhaps both did drugs, that they felt compelled to be less than honest about. That led to the sensitivity in Ryan's not so strong denial (that we can see, his video was chopped) and led to Chuck later second guessing what actually happened that night.

It is a total miscarriage of justice that Mike Boyd did not have fingerprints taken, DNA sampling done and a search of his house and vehicle. If for no other purpose than to rule him out. Since in all 5 versions Mr. Boyd offered as to what he saw that night, he places himself at the crime scene, at the time the crime occurred. He even offers evidence that his DNA would be found near the body, as in one version he was standing next to Kent's car. The other versions he admits to pulling up along side Kent's car in his own car. He admits in 4 of the versions that he waited in his car and approached Kent. Did he see or even do more than he is admitting to?


(I have linked to my google+, I go by MJ, my name clearly is Sherrie. I have the same problem as Jen, I can't use my nickname, so that's the name deal. I know how worked up some people can be about posting under different names, and I wanted to be transparent! :)

Unknown said...

Ryan Ferguson speaks to crowd of cheering supporters after release: (transcribed from HLN clip)

Ferguson: "To get arrested, and to get charged for a crime you didn't commit, it's incredibly easy, and you can lose your life very fast..but, to get out of prison it takes an army, as you can see, and an incredible group of individuals, family, friends...ah..attorneys, who are willing to sacrifice so much" (clip cut off)

Anchor Christy Paul then reports that Ferguson has said he is taking his new freedom one day at a time, and that he is happier for his parents, than he is for himself.

Unknown said...

Hi MJ-

I thought it was maybe because I'm using my phone, and maybe couldn't access what I needed to on the mobile version? Are you using a smart phone too?

My DBT Life said...

I am on a notebook right now, but usually post with my tablet. However, if I understand correctly, it isn't the device that is limiting that field.

What is happening is the name we used to sign up for our Google accounts is the name that is visible and you cannot change that. When we signed up for those accounts we needed a first and last name, I couldn't just be MJ - and you couldn't just be Jen. It is unknown to me if there is a setting within our Google accounts that you can change your "display" name.

It's silly, and it doesn't much matter, but I run an online peer support group for mental health and when I linked my Google account to the blog, the name thing was a little shocking for everyone who knows me as MJ. :)

Unknown said...

Ok-thanks for the help. That makes sense that the sign up is determining the name. Too bad it can't be changed, how silly!

You are right, it doesn't really matter, I was just trying to stick with the name I have been using here to avoid confusion. Oh well :-)

Sus said...

It is difficult to find unbiased material on this case. There are so many sites that only give bits and pieces.

Mallory's testimony has always bothered me. He said at first that it happened like Erickson said. He then changed his mind (another one!) and said he was "afraid" of LE. Yes, Mallory said he could not have seen them because he lost his license. Yet, he also says he's pretty sure he drove to the party earlier that evening.

The public relations team makes it sound as if Chuck Erickso suddenly had a dream one day. Not so. By Erickson's testimony, he told Mallory that night; mentioned it to Ryan twice; told two friends; then of course LE. That's SIX times that we know of that Erickson tried to tell about the murder.

Ryan Ferguson has done numerous interviews. He testified at his first trial and made a statement before sentencing. Not once did he say, " I did not kill Kent Heitbolt." That bothers me.

In the trial transcripts, Ryan's attorney makes a motion to NOT allow the polygraph evidence. It has been assumed from that, Ryan failed a polygraph.

Last, I put no stock in the unknown DNA in the car. A car is full of other people's DNA and fingerprints. One set was found to be his daughter's. The perps had no reason to be in his car.

My DBT Life said...


Agreed. I noticed that the Free Ryan site had a plethora of documents, but it is missing Mr. Henry's police report, clearly there had to have been one because he was later questioned about his sighting of two college age guys.

Also, there didn't seem to be any follow-up on the K9 tracking to the dorm and the two students that ran away from the police after they had been asked to stop.

Mallory's comments, Erickson's continual fear that he had done something and that leading to his confession, and the lack of follow through with Boyd are my biggest reasons to think that the whole truth has not been told from what Ryan did that night. (As it relates to Erickson, I understand he didn't come to the police with a "I had a dream" - I also understand that he had mentioned his fear several times, so the fact that he didn't have detailed memories of it and had to be told how Kent was murdered, doesn't surprise me. He has also maintained that he didn't remember that night. He clearly was "helped" to remember by someone, and I doubt it was the defense team, so his now claims that the prosecution bullied him a bit and given his past drug charges, his fear because he had missing memories, it was a recipe for disaster.

However, due to DNA evidence not being able to place Ryan or Erickson at the crime scene, it makes me seriously doubt their guilt to murder, but I do believe they were up to things that it would have damaged Ryan's character if he came clean about (perhaps Erickson was not the only one using cocaine and Adderall?? Maybe they were involved in a bar fight??).

I would love to have been able to see an unedited version of Ryan being interrogated in March of 2004. At the beginning of first being accused what was his response? Did he issue a reliable denial? As late in the game as his trial was, everything was so convoluted and messy.

There is certainly enough to question.


dadgum said...

Jen, MJ..what happens when you log into a wordpress account, or you could just post as Jen or MJ under the name on the post thingie..

dadgum said...

Anything on google+ settings? I know you can opt out of the shared endorsements where they send adverts to your friends like you actually endorse an item or page you 'liked' once. I keep declining the google+ thing..one of my sons has been fighting google (to no avail) because it lost his long held identity online..he does not wish to use his real name (as none of us really do unless warranted).

Anonymous said...

Sus Sherrie - if you find a good site with documentatin and transcripts let me know. A Columbian through and through I am. I'm curious to see the unedited interrogation tapes AND the tape in the police car from Kansas City to Columbia when they arrested Ryan.

This whole case stinks - prosecution, investigation and Erickson and Ferguson.

Knowing the bar they partied at, the area of the bar to the tribune building always made me wonder if the boys came upon the incident and did nothing... ra

My DBT Life said...


This site has many of the documentation, yet, as mentioned above, certain police reports are missing. Although, if one had the time, reading through the entire trial transcript would be an option!

Happy hunting :)


Unknown said...

Hi Dadgum-

That's what I have been doing since I started posting, just choosing the name option and entering Jen...but I like the option of being able to delete double posts, (which seems to happen to me often when I'm using my phone). I have tried everything I can think of to change my profile name, google +, settings, nickname, etc... but I think MJ is right, and the name was determined by my email.

Copy said...

Here is Kaaryn Gough's view from Feb 2013

As many are pointing out, this does not show the complete interrogation and therefore, we must be very careful in our analysis and commenting on whether his denials are "reliable" or "unreliable".

Also, this is not an "open statement" for the subject. From the officer's words, it is likely the subject has already been accused by this point making this more a statement of defense. His language is influenced by what has been said to him previously and by what he has said. It is quite likely he has already answered the question of whether he killed the guy by this point. (He was picked up by police shortly after 12 noon on Mar 10th and it is around 10 pm in this interrogation) I would expect the questioning has been going on for hours.

Recalling the efficiency of language, if the subject says initially, "I didn't kill so-and-so", then one would likely shift to saying, "I didn't kill him", substituting the pronoun "him" for the name in subsequent denials, especially if talking to the same person/group. If a subject is being accused of several actions within a murder scenario, then one might shorten his language to say, "I didn't do it" or "I didn't do anything"--if at some point earlier he had addresses each individual action.

It is true, the subject does not say the exact words, "I didn't kill the guy" in the clips shown. However, we do not know if he didn't say it earlier in the interrogation or during the edited out portions (where screen goes to black and the timecode jumps ahead).

The subject likely did not commit the crime given he is relying on the "truth" as what will set him free...

Q: "but if there's a way that you could help yourself, you'd do it."

A: "I'm doing it. I'm telling the truth. I'm doing what I can."

A truthful person can rely on 'I'm telling the truth.' as their defense because the truth are the facts. The truth is evidence to them.

A deceptive person cannot rely upon the truth and will therefore not put the emphasis on it. They will include other reasons as to why they shouldn't be found guilty. "I'm not that kind of person" "I would never hurt anybody", "I was no where near the place"

On a side note: His body language is very open and more in line with someone who is telling the truth. The crossed leg is his way of defining his space given the close proximity and positioning of the officer.

Copy said...

I forgot the link


Copy said...

Here is an additional link on this blog about Ryan Ferguson. I used the search bar in the upper left hand corner. ;)


Peter also wrote Statement analysis articles on this case several years ago, but the articles from Peters prev blog address are no longer available for us to read.


Sus said...

Thanks. Agreed we have not seen the full police interview to know if he issued a denial.

Ryan did not during his first trial nor in any interview ive seen.

But the place I really expected to hear a denial...the perfect place...was Ryan's sentencing statement. Ryan could not say it.

I'll copy that to here.

Sus said...

Since I promised to put this here, I will. But Ryan F. is free and will not be retried. This is Ryan's pre-sentencing statement ...the perfect place to say "I did not kill Kent Heitholt. " He does not. There is just something underlying about this statement that sends red flags up for me.

Mr. Rogers: Your Honor, before you pronounce sentence, Mr. Ferguson would like to address the Court.
The Court: All right.
RF: May I stand?
The Court: You may.
RF: Thank you. Appreciate the time to speak. I really just wanted to say that today is a sad day because the justice system has failed not only my family and I, but the Heitholts and the community. It has failed because they're sending an innocent man to jail. Because they're letting a horrible person run free, without a care. They don't have to worry about the police looking for them. I can't understand that.
But someday the truth will come out and everyone will see that I am innocent, and I will be free. And that will be a great day, because on that day the justice system will finally have done justice. That's it.
Thank you, Your Honor.

Sus said...

Edit: in first paragraph, add as last sentence, "I don't see how Crane can live with himself with that."

elf said...

I was wrong. Peter didn't analyze Erickson confession. I guess I was thinking about his article on false confessions 11/20/12. Someone posted an excerpt of ericksons confession but I can't find any analysis of it on this blog.

audpaud said...

I remember always wanting to believe him. And always feeling so bad for the Sister who got him and his underage friend into the bar. I just can't remember WHY I didn't believe him and ultimately feeling that he was guilty.

Will re-read Peter's analysis - something was off with this one.

Copy said...

Audpaud, research the facts of the case and you will see what "was off with this one."

The trial transcripts and other case documents are on this link. Try to consider ... "What was the motive? 11 angry blows to Kent Heitholt’s head with an object. Kents Belt was stripped off of the large body of Kent (quickly?) and used on him to suffocate him with force. WHO was angry with Kent and why?


Sus said...

I know, I know...no evidence to prove Ryan was at the crime scene. Ryan was home, sitting on the curb making phone calls.

Why didn't his parents testify to that at trial? Ryan was a high-school junior! His parents weren't watching for him to come home that night? See his car in the drive?

That little fact has always bothered me. I don't think his parents could say he was home at 2:00 am because he was not.

My DBT Life said...

Sus, your point is solidly based, it is quite possible that his parents cannot verify he was there. Also, I read not only did Ryan not go to school the next day but that Chuck's family claims he didn't come home, I wonder how true that is.

After reading many documents, I too believe that Ryan is dishonest about that night. While I do not believe him to be guilty of murder, more importantly, I do not believe the State met their burden of proof - beyond a reasonable doubt - it would not surprise me in the least to learn that Ryan and Chuck got into their car and drove around, instead of going home. Even possibly discussing the idea to rob someone as has been claimed, and further parked their car and got out looking for someone to rob, came upon the murdered Mr. Heitholt and was in fact on the scene in that capacity. That would explain away a lot of the discrepancies.

Chuck admittedly was using drugs, Ryan may or may not have been, as he has not admitted to it, but I have not read anywhere where he has denied it either. Two young men with their size and under the influence, their age, I believe would have left physical evidence behind to bring down such a big man as Heitholt was. The large bloody foot print heading away from the scene is proof someone other than Ryan and Chuck were there. Heitholt didn't walk away, so it couldn't be his.

Plus, this would account for Chuck not remembering and being fearful they did something with possible memories, because he would have in fact seen the body. He could have seen the dumpsters, even walked past them. Ryan had blonde hair at the time, so while the cleaning lady could positively say Ryan was NOT the one she saw that night based on how he looked by the time he was arrested, I wonder, would her answer have been the same had she seen Ryan 2 years earlier?

This is all intriguing to say the least. I read a statement from a Meagan, who later said the police embellished her account, but she openly admitted that Ryan was a cocaine user. Even later she did not deny this to be true, so obviously there are many things that we do not know for sure about the case.


Ivy said...

A lot of things bother me about this case. As others have noted, they only published a very small heavily edited snippet of Ryan Ferguson's police interrogation. No police reports on his interrogation. The reference to the (presumably failed) stress test during trial. The abandoned strategy of suggesting Boyd was an alternative suspect -- Ferguson's excellent habeas lawyer completely dropped that, though people are really preoccupied with it. Erickson's latest recantation is basically that he alone killed Heithold and that Ferguson didn't participate -- Ferguson's story is they weren't there at all. The stories don't mesh. I don't think anyone believes Erickson and Ferguson were both at the scene and only Erickson killed Heitholt. So either they were both guilty or neither of them was there. For Ryan not to have been involved, Erickson must be someone who is totally crazy, who, even though there are all these people out there who truly don't believe he or Ferguson had anything to do with it, just wants to stay in prison for a murder he didn't commit, rather than say the police coerced him into confessing as many currently believe. He had problems with drugs or whatever, but I have never seen anything indicating that Erickson is certifiable - if he was that nuts they would not have let him plead guilty. Or sign an affidavit or whatever. The latest affidavit doesn't even say he falsely confessed -- as I said, it just says Ferguson wasn't involved -- he doesn't say he was coerced by the police, at a time where it would be to his advantage to do so.

I read the trial transcripts. Dallas Mallory was interviewed by police and the police reports indicate that initially he at the very least did not deny seeing Erickson and Ferguson and that Erickson told him they had beaten someone down. He signed a subsequent affidavit denying that. I can't recall if he testified at trial. It's hard to prove or disprove things 2+ years after the fact. A lot of people came back 2 + years later remembering exactly what time they left a bar on Halloween. Amazing. Though as others pointed out Ferguson's parents and sister did not testify that they saw him at home that night or the following morning. Erickson's inconsistencies and the fact he was (very) improperly fed information means you can't point to his statements about certain specifics of the crime as proof that he was there (though I haven't seen anything definitive indicating Erickson's statement that he told the cleaning lady to call for help -- which he told friends before he told police-- was in the papers). It is also possible, however, that he participated in the murder AND that he was improperly fed details he couldn't remember because he was drunk at the time, it was traumatic, two years had passed, and he hadn't exactly turned himself in -- he had started spilling to friends, one of whom turned him in, and was not being completely forthcoming with the police.

Ivy said...

Ferguson was just so reasonable in media interviews while in prison, commending people for doing the right thing etc. Identifies with Amanda Knox. Golly Gee, why would anyone keep me in prison. I understand that you have to put on your best face when you're waging this kind of campaign, innocent or not, but not an ounce of ill feeling at the injustice -- on message, always. Handsome, well spoken, very likable. Who wants to believe someone like that could be a murderer? That's when they focus on motive -- also happens with Amanda Knox, forgetting young people do stupid and horrible things. People would rather believe that Erickson is certifiable than to believe someone like Ferguson could do something this horrible. Or they focus on the fact that the changing stories mean there would now be reasonable doubt, so it's just not fair to keep him in prison based on the word of someone who is so unreliable. A lot of people would be let out if that were the standard. Unsurprisingly, it is harder to definitively prove a case they couldn't solve at the time two years after the fact, never mind 10 years later.

Ivy said...

The problematic in court ID by the janitor or whatever -- the witness is not saying it wasn't Ferguson he saw at the scene -- he's just saying he felt pressure to say it was him when he wasn't sure one way or the other. I'm not saying his in court ID is not problematic based on some of the information that has come out and that they might call into question the sufficiency of the evidence for his conviction -- I'm not sure on that one. I don't have an opinion on the court ruling -- I haven't read it but the oral arguments were really focused on Brady violations (the witness's wife's statement to police about not sending the paper, etc.), and I wouldn't be surprised if that was the focus of the court ruling as well. Recantations are very common, though, so they'd be letting people out all the time if that was all it took. With some exceptions, evidence gets weaker over time. People forget and become even more susceptible to being convinced things they don't remember happened a certain way.

Two guys were seen matching Erickson and Ferguson's description at the scene, and two years after the fact, Erickson independently started telling people they did it, testified and went to prison for the murder. Ferguson's jury saw Erickson's police interrogation, and the problems were pointed out to them by defense attorneys. I think because people want to believe Ferguson is innocent, and they assume based on TV shows that crime scenes are riddled with perpetrator DNA, they are willing to completely write off Erickson because of the inconsistencies in his story. One reading of the latest change, however, is that Erickson feels bad his friend got 40 years because he (Erickson) got a guilty conscience, spilled and got a better deal when his friend would have otherwise completely gotten away with a crime they committed when they were very young. Erickson's willingness to confess, plead, testify, and his continuing insistence that he committed this horrific crime, when he has every reason and incentive to say he was coerced to confess, is powerful evidence, despite the improper police interrogation, his history with drugs and the changes in his story. People are entitled to think Ferguson's conviction shouldn't hang on it, but it is powerful nonetheless.

Since this is a statement analysis site, though, I'll offer this statement from Ferguson about the events of that night (I believe it's from his interrogation): "We had a few drinks, hung out and then when the bar closed, you know, I took Erickson home and that was pretty much the night, like any other Halloween," Yikes. "pretty much" "like any other" "and then". Missing information could be other bad things, like other posters are suggesting but wouldn't you admit to doing those other things (alibi?) to not get falsely convicted of a senseless murder?

Ivy said...

Sorry for the long posts. Haven't commented in ages, but still reading regularly.

Sus said...

A couple of things:
Trump's wife said she did not REMEMBER sending a paper with the suspects picture to him, not that she definitively did not.

Two, Chuck Erickson's recent and third story is that he doesn't remember anything. He now says Ryan wasn't at the crime scene and he doesn't think he himself was.

In the latest court proceedings, prosecutors tried to enter the phone calls between Chuck and his parents, but weren't allowed. In the calls, Chuck says he has been promised representation by the Innocence Project. And that Zellner.says there's a good chance he can be exonerated. That might explain the third version.

BostonLady said...

I believe Ryan Ferguson. I've watched all of the Dateline shows and he seems honest and straightforward. I think on one of the earlier shows, there was an employee who worked with the victim and when he was interviewed he came across very suspect. I don't know if that person was every followed up on.

I hope Ryan can now have a good, happy and productive life, now that he is free.

Anonymous said...

Columbia Police Reviewing Heitholt case. Deem it active.


Anonymous said...


Using police videos of Erickson’s first discussions with investigators more than a year ago, Rogers yesterday pointed out that Erickson first told police he only hit Heitholt once with a tire tool. In contrast, earlier in the day, Erickson said as a state witness that he hit Heitholt multiple times before the 6-foot-3-inch, 315-pound editor fell to the ground.

"You were, in fact, uncertain, weren’t you?" Rogers asked.

"I was uncertain on a level," Erickson replied. "But on another level, I knew I’d done it."


In his interview with Short, Erickson is seen several times telling the detective that he only struck Heitholt once with a tire tool. Erickson also told Short that he remembered hearing Heitholt groan and that the sound made him feel sick.

"That fact that he groaned stood out in my mind," Erickson said.

Erickson told Rogers that when he first talked to Short, he hoped he hadn’t participated in the murder. "But deep down, I knew I had done it," Erickson said. "I was too much of a coward to admit it. … It was a hard thing to do, and I didn’t want to do it. I hesitated."

Questioned yesterday by Crane, Erickson in front of the jury box acted out some of his gestures during the attack. He told how he had walked up behind Heitholt and hit him repeatedly with the tire tool. He said he dropped the tool after hearing Heitholt groan.

Then, Erickson recalled, he leaned against a rock wall near Heitholt’s car and put his head between his knees. When he looked up, he said, he saw Ferguson leaning over the victim. Moving closer, Erickson said he saw Ferguson was strangling Heitholt with a belt.

"I pulled him away," Erickson said. "I ripped the belt off the victim’s neck. I just pulled it."

Crane wound up his direct examination, asking, "If you didn’t do it, why would you plead guilty? … Tell us, was it all a dream?"

"I did this. He did this," Erickson said, pointing at Ferguson. "I didn’t dream this."

Anonymous said...

Another old newspaper article 2005


They had a closer relationship than RF wants to admit.

Heitholt defendant in court
Pretrial hearing offers new details in homicide.

Published Tuesday, August 30, 2005
A month before the murder of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt, the two teens who became suspects in the slaying were stopped in a car by Columbia police.

Don Shrubshell photo
Ryan Ferguson, 20, smiles during a pretrial hearing yesterday in the Boone County Courthouse. Ferguson is one of two people who were charged with murder in the Nov. 1, 2001, slaying of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt.
The driver was 16-year-old Ryan Ferguson, and next to him sat his friend, Charles Erickson, 17. In the back seat were two other friends, ages 16 and 17. Open cans of beer were in the car, along with 17 unopened cans in a 30-can package in the car trunk. In his pocket, Ferguson carried a small amount of marijuana.
The 16-year-olds were turned over to a juvenile officer, and the older teens were issued municipal summonses.

Yesterday, attorneys for murder defendant Ferguson, now 20, asked Boone County Circuit Judge Ellen Roper to prevent prosecutors from talking about the traffic stop during his trial, set for October.

Kansas City lawyers Charles Rogers and Jeremy Weis also asked Roper to limit the prosecution’s discussion of a mysterious hair found in Heitholt’s bloody hand. In addition, they asked to exclude identifications of Ferguson by a janitor who saw two men standing over the victim’s body in the Tribune parking lot when he stepped outdoors for a cigarette.

Heitholt was bludgeoned and strangled early Nov. 1, 2001. Three years later, Ferguson and Erickson were arrested after witnesses told police that Erickson had bragged about the crime.

Erickson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree robbery Nov. 4 and led police to Ferguson.

Charged with first-degree murder and robbery, Ferguson remains in the Boone County Jail, with bond set at $20 million. Wearing a bright orange jumpsuit and shackled at the wrists and ankles, Ferguson smiled at his parents, seated in court next to his local attorney, Kathryn Benson.

During a break in the hearing, Rogers told Ferguson’s parents that their son should be dressed like a "nice high school boy" for the trial, suggesting a sweater and slacks. "We’re going for the Wally Cleaver look," he told them. "We don’t want him looking like Eddie Haskel."

Rogers told Roper his client’s 4-year-old traffic stop should be excluded from the trial because it didn’t result in an arrest. "These are acts of misconduct that didn’t result in charges," he said.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this case closely for a long time. I first learned of it from 48 Hours or Dateline, and I was skeptical. I figured they were just dramatizing for effect, and there had to be more to it. So I read through the trial transcripts, police reports, etc., and I was shocked to find that there wasn't. If anything, the TV shows undersold how outrageous this case is on every level.

I understand this is a statement analysis blog but as the saying goes: people lie, evidence doesn't. And the evidence excludes Ferguson and Erickson.

There was a treasure trove of evidence at the scene. None of it matched either Ferguson or Erickson, and some of it didn't match the victim either. So who's was it?

Another fact is the impossible timeline, which Ferguson's lawyers should have been all over but weren't. According to Erickson's trial testimony, Ryan left his phone in his car several blocks away from the scene. But phone records show him making calls up until 2:10, when they were supposedly hiding behind the dumpster waiting to attack.

And even putting all that aside, basic common sense rules them out. You're going to tell me that two high school juniors beat down and strangled a guy twice their size while leaving no trace of themselves, but somehow managing to plant forensic evidence of an unknown third person, because they wanted to rob him of money to buy drinks at a bar that had been closed for an hour? Please. I wouldn't trust a couple of drunk 17 year-olds to go into my kitchen and make a sandwich without making a mess.

The victim's car door was found closed. His broken glasses had been placed on the front seat, where his laptop and wallet were in plain view. Yet the police assumed early on in the investigation that this was a random robbery. What kind of robber puts things into the car, but does not take things out of the car?

Homicide by strangulation is a very personal crime. Whoever did this wanted Kent Heitholt dead.

Another flawed assumption made by the police: that the two kids spotted by the janitors were the killers. I don't think they were. According to the janitors, they had no blood on them and were not carrying anything, which seems impossible given how bloody the crime scene was and that the murder weapon was never found. Second, to get into some statement analysis stuff, their actions suggest otherwise. Look at the layout of the scene. They were behind the vehicle when the janitors spotted them from the loading dock, facing north. But instead of RUNNING north out of the lot AWAY from the janitors, they WALKED south around the vehicle TOWARDS the janitors, calmly told them "someone's hurt here, man", then headed east out of the alley (which, incidentally, was in the opposite direction of where Ferguson's car was parked.) Does that sound like the natural reaction of a couple of killers caught standing over their victim's body? Not to me. I think those two were a couple of drunk frat boys who stumbled onto the scene after the fact, thought it was a Halloween prank, went to look at it, then realized it was the real thing.