Court to rule on appeal of man convicted by 'dream'
Supporters of a man convicted of murder in large part based on the dreams of a witness at trial are nursing fragile hopes that a hearing in a US court today will be a step towards his eventual exoneration.
Little has moved in the Missouri justice system even to allow Ryan Ferguson, 26, a new trial in the 2001 murder of Kent Heitholt in the parking lot of the Columbia Daily Tribune, where he worked as sports editor, even though two key witnesses, including the man who had the dreams and who eventually was convicted with him, have recanted their stories.
The key to his regaining his freedom may be the changing recollections of what happened by Ferguson's erstwhile friend Charles Erickson. Both men were arrested in 2005 and charged with murder and robbery after Erickson began telling friends that he had been having disturbing dreams in which he and Ferguson committed the murder on Hallowe'en night in 2001.
But in a deposition last year, Erickson said that he killed the editor on his own. Erickson said in the deposition: "I made up what I said about Ryan being on top of the victim." Later he admits: "I lied about him strangling the victim." A second witness, Jerry Trump, has also since changed his tune.
The hearing today will hear arguments from Kathleen Zellner, a high-profile Chicago lawyer who recently took Ferguson's case on a pro bono basis, that he should be released on the basis of the witness recantations as well as new witness testimony and suggestions that the jury-selection process in the 2005 trial had been unconstitutional. "I think it's going to take a higher court to untangle this case," the lawyer said.
Pressure for Ferguson, who is serving 40 years, at least to win a fresh trial has been kept up by a vigorous public-relations campaign led by his father, Bill Ferguson.
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 3 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...