NBC Dateline: Under a Killing Moon, November 30, 2012
False Testimony - Charles Erickson
February 6, 2014: Erickson's New Lawyer Wants Him Released
COLUMBIA - In November 2013, Ryan Ferguson was released from prison after nearly a decade behind bars. He was 1 of 2 people serving time for the murder of Columbia Tribune Sports Editor, Kent Heitholt. The other man, Charles Erickson, remains in prison, but he has a new lawyer. Laura O'Sullivan, with the Midwest Innocence Project, took the case not long after Ferguson's release, and she hopes to get Erickson released from prison, as well.
November 19, 2013: Charles Erickson’s attorney says she’ll fight for his freedom
Now that Ryan Ferguson has been released from prison, attention has turned to Charles Erickson, who implicated Ferguson in the 2001 murder of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt, and the uphill battle to free him. Continue reading →
November 13, 2013: ABC News: Ryan Ferguson Freed After Spending Almost a Decade in Prison for Murder
After spending almost all of his 20s in prison for a murder he didn't commit, Ryan Ferguson is finally free. Continue reading →
November 13, 2013:USA Today: Ryan Ferguson freed after conviction in editor's death overturned
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man freed Tuesday after his murder conviction was overturned thanked what he described as "an army" of supporters who backed his claims of innocence through eight years in prison for the death of a newspaper sports editor. Continue reading →
It's Time For Missouri to Release Ryan Ferguson's Co-Defendant Charles Erickson
COLUMBIA — Twelve years ago Thursday, Charles Erickson told police that he and Ryan Ferguson were responsible for the death of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt, who was found beaten and strangled in the newspaper’s parking lot in the early hours of Nov. 1, 2001.
Now — after 12 years of incarceration, three recantations and the release of Ferguson from prison — Erickson will set out on the only remaining route to get out of prison before the end of his 25-year sentence or a parole date.
Erickson’s Columbia-based attorney, Gary Brotherton, said he will file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Pike County Circuit Court in the next few months. The petition will make the case that Erickson is being held illegally because he is innocent and because there were multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct during the investigation. Among other claims, Brotherton said the petition will challenge the techniques used by Columbia police to interview Erickson and obtain his confession in 2004.
Erickson pleaded guilty in November 2004 to second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action in exchange for a reduced sentence, contingent on his testimony against Ferguson.
“I feel like my due process rights were violated,” Erickson said Wednesday in a phone interview. “Like every other citizen, I have the same rights. I’d like to have my day in court.” Read More »
March 10, 2016: Charles Erickson to appeal conviction in 2001 killing
Supporters For The Wrongfully Convicted Gather At Columbia Missouri's Earth Day 2016 Festival
December 17, 2018: Charles Erickson seeks release from prison in Heitholt homicide
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Five years after Ryan Ferguson walked out of prison after winning a lengthy court battle for his freedom, Charles Erickson is now asking for his.
Erickson, 34, has filed a petition in Pike County, where his prison is located, that alleges Boone County prosecutors and Columbia police coerced him into confessing to the murder of Columbia Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt on Halloween night 2001.
In 2004, Erickson confessed and pleaded guilty to the crime, while Ferguson pleaded not guilty. Because of his confession and story, Erickson became a key witness for the prosecution's case against Ferguson in Dec. 2005. During the trial, Ferguson's defense attempted to poke holes in Erickson's then-recollection of the murder.
Kansas City-based attorney Landon Magnusson has taken the first legal steps for Erickson, who says he was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. Continue reading →