Charles's mom Marianne provides regular updates for supporters on the Free Charles Erickson Facebook page. Here she talks about Charles and a fellow inmate:
There is a man in his unit who lost his legs and relies on prostheses to walk. This man is at least 71, and was recently denied parole. Charlie is not his cell-mate, but they see a lot of each other because they walk outside to meals together. The weather in Missouri has been very wintry, with ice and snow. Charlie said that he walks with this man to meals frequently, and sometimes needs to save him from falling on the ice by grabbing his neckline (he weighs very little because he does not have feet or calves). All the inmates call this man, "Legs." Charlie and "Legs" have a special bond - Charlie shares his "The Week" news magazines with him, and they enjoy their meals together. Sometimes I think that relationships like these are in THE plan.
Charlie has always been concerned about the disadvantaged. When we lived in Ohio, he brought food to a homeless man who was living in the woods near our house (without our permission). He may have gained a sensitivity for needy people when he accompanied me on some home visits to elderly, disadvantaged people who were in poor health. And, he always had a close relationship with his Grandma Laura, who died suddenly when he was 18.
Marianne goes on to talk about Charles's studies:
Charlie just called again this afternoon and reported that he is finished with his 2 courses from LSU, and is awaiting his final exams to be sent for the proctor (caseworker) to administer. Charlie said that his cell-mate is going to quiz him on all the course facts and theories...so two are learning from one tuition fee! In the meantime, he was asked by a pen-pal if he would like to take a Bible study course and signed up for it. So, over this blessed holiday season, he will be busy studying for his finals and beginning the Bible course. He's always been a casual student of comparative religions and studied about many religions including Christianity in church religious education. In 2009, while at the Potosi Correctional Center, he wrote a 40 page paper on the topic of "Forbidden Fruit" and its meaning for modern people. His paper focused on the teachings within the Bible and their interpretation and meaning for the second millennium. He offered it for a summer lay-led service, so we used it from the pulpit as the centerpiece for a Sunday service about "only taking what you need" and remembering the "golden rule." Charlie was inspired to study this topic by religion authors, Rita Nakashima Brock and Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker.
Charles was identified as an intellectually gifted child early in elementary school. Charles played the viola in the school orchestra, sang in the elementary and junior high choirs, and was a Cub Scout and a Boy Scout. Charles also participated in many sports; AAU wrestling, USS swimming, United States diving, soccer, football, and American Heart Association sponsored jump rope competitions. Charles ran track in 8th grade where he and Ryan Ferguson participated in relays together.
While in high school, Charles excelled in marketing classes and did very well in a marketing club called "DECA." He competed on the state and national level for DECA and did very well, earning a partial college scholarship. Like many students his age, Charles occasionally partied too hard in his high school years. Unfortunately his drug and alcohol use as a teen would go on to haunt him.
Charles considered enlisting in the army, but instead decided to attend Moberly Community College to gather credits to later enter the University of Missouri. Charles lived at home while in college, concentrating on his studies and working at the local laundromat.
Charles had a job and was attending college at the time of his arrest. There was absolutely nothing in his past to suggest that he was capable of murder. Sadly, a false confession would change Charles’s life forever.
Letter from Charles to his Facebook supporters
First off, I must say, I'm pleasantly shocked, that so many of you care enough about me, to come on this page and fight for my freedom, I can't believe that you all would do that for a person you don't know. I want for everyone here to get to know who I am, and I want to also get to know as many of you as possible.
I desperately want to describe to all of you just what your support means to me, but I don't think words will adequately equate the hope that you all have given back to me. I am so appreciative of every single one of you, and genuinely grateful that you are willing to sacrifice some of your free time, so that I may once again be free like each of you, a lot sooner, than later.
I hope this first message didn't let you down, I'm already working on future messages to you, I have so much that I must explain, but they must be approved by my new attorney Laura O'Sullivan. As soon as they are, I'll send them to be posted right here on our page. Thank you once again from the depths of my heart, for every second you spend fighting for me, and my family I love so dearly.
To my family, I am so thankful for everything you've done to support me in every single possible way. They have so generously afforded me the opportunity of continuing my college education, most inmates unfortunately aren't blessed with that gift. I don't know how I could have made it thus far, through this gross miscarriage of justice, without the unconditional love and support, of my mother and father, thank you mom and dad for all that you've done, and continue to do.
In closing, I was so blessed to see Ryan Ferguson released on television. I'm so truly grateful for the forgiveness that Ryan's expressed, and I only wish him and his family all the best in the future.
I'll talk to you all again soon,