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.
There's more fallout from the St. Clair County Courts scandal.
A metro-east man who was supposed to be sentenced on a murder conviction yesterday is instead getting a new trial.
Twenty-nine-year-old William Cosby had been convicted in April of shooting a man to death outside an East St. Louis nightclub.
Yesterday, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida ordered a new trial. The problem? Cosby's trial judge had been Michael Cook, who is now facing drug and weapons charges.
Cosby's attorneys argued that it had been unfair that prosecutors had known Cook was being investigated and the defense had not. Judge Haida agreed.
Cosby remains in the St. Clair County Jail on a million dollar bond while he awaits that new trial.