Judge Denies New Trial in Missouri Murder Case

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri judge has refused to grant a new trial for a Columbia man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2001 killing of a newspaper sports editor.

Ryan Ferguson was one of two teenagers accused in the beating and strangulation of Kent Heithold outside the Columbia Daily Tribune early on the morning of Nov. 1, 2001.

Ferguson based his bid for a new trial partly on recanted testimony from two key witnesses, including co-defendant Chuck Erickson. Ferguson received a 40-year sentence. Erickson received a 25-year sentence as part of a plea agreement for testifying against Ferguson.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled Wednesday against Ferguson’s request. The judge said he doubted that Erickson and a janitor who had implicated Ferguson were truthful when they recanted their earlier testimony.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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