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Unjust & Unsolved Episode 6: Charles Erickson

From journalist Maggie Freleng and the Obsessed Network

On Halloween night in 2001, Columbia Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt was brutally murdered in the Tribune parking lot. Two years later, Charles Erickson read a memorial in the paper about Heitholt and was convinced he and classmate Ryan Ferguson committed the murder. Despite blacking out from partying that night and having no memory of the murder, besides what he called “snapshots,” Charles took a plea deal to testify against Ryan. Ryan’s conviction was overturned in 2012 based on a Brady violation and recanted witness statements, including Charles’s. Ryan now sits on the board of the Innocence Project. Even though his co-defendant is free, Charles has been in prison for sixteen years.