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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed the city of Columbia from a lawsuit filed by a man who spent more than 10 years in prison for murder before his convictions were vacated.
 
U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued an order last week dismissing the city from a lawsuit filed by Ryan Ferguson. The city was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be added to the lawsuit again in the future.
 
The city was one of 13 defendants in the lawsuit filed by Ferguson, who was convicted in the 2001 killing Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. He was released in November after his convictions were vacated.
 
The Tribune reports the dismissal is contingent upon it having no effect on Ferguson's remaining claims against the other defendants.
Published in Local News

   Prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether to retry a man convicted in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.  

   A state appeals court panel Tuesday overturned Ryan Ferguson's 2005 conviction.  The court ruled 3-0 that he didn't get a fair trial because prosecutors withheld evidence from Ferguson's defense team.  

   The case had garnered national attention because Ferguson's friend Chuck Erickson had testified that he had remembered in a dream that he and Ferguson had been involved in Heitholt's death after a night of heavy partying.  

   Erickson is serving a 25 year sentence as part of a plea agreement, but later recanted his testimony.  So did a security guard who had testified that he saw Erickson and Ferguson at the newspaper offices the night Heitholt was robbed, beaten and strangled to death. 

   Ferguson's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she has petitioned for her client's release on bail while prosecutors decide whether or not to retry him.

Published in Local News
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 17:25

Columbia man sentenced to 20 years for murder

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - One of two suspects in a central Missouri homicide has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges in the case.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 21-year-old Durantrae D. Logan of Columbia was sentenced Tuesday to two 20-year sentences, to be served concurrently.

Logan pleaded guilty in Boone County Circuit Court to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the March 2012 shooting death of 39-year-old Lamont Sargent.

Prosecutors said the shooting occurred during a drug deal.

A co-defendant in the case, Larrell M. Banks of Fulton, is also charged with second-degree murder and attempted distribution of a controlled substance. He has a hearing scheduled for Sept. 30 and a jury trial Oct. 9 in Boone County Circuit Court.

 
Published in Local News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A Columbia lawyer says a local ordinance that treats marijuana possession as a municipal violation isn't being followed by Boone County sheriff's deputies patrolling within city limits.

The Columbia-based Missouri Civil Liberties Association says the sheriff and the county prosecutor are disregarding the intent of city voters who approved the change in 2004.

Columbia's ordinance treats possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana as a misdemeanor. Violators are usually released with a summons to appear in court rather than placed under arrest.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets says sheriff's officers are instead arresting pot users in the city under more stringent state laws, and Knight is not downgrading those cases to municipal status.

The sheriff and prosecutor did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

 

Published in Local News
The all clear was given to staff at KOMU-TV to return to the station after there was a threat of its tower toppling from heavy snow.

Heavy snow and high winds were considered dangerous by station engineers on its nearby tower. Staff members were cleared from the building around 10am Sunday as a precaution.

This interrupted their coverage of he storm that is blanketing the area.
Published in Local News

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