Erickson, 38, was convicted in 2005 for the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. He originally confessed to killing Heitholt, but later claimed he was coerced by Columbia Police investigators.
“I know I was coerced,” he told KOMU 8 News in 2019. “I was coerced by the police, by the prosecutor, by my own attorney.”
During the investigation, Erickson implicated his friend Ryan Ferguson. Ferguson always maintained his innocence, but a jury found him guilty in 2005, mainly based on Erickson’s testimony.
Erickson recanted his original plea that Ferguson was his accomplice and said he committed the murder alone. That conviction was overturned in 2013 and Ferguson was released.
“It’s sort of selfish to say it felt good just to know it wasn’t on my conscience anymore,” Erickson told KOMU 8 News in 2019. “It felt good to know that I didn’t have someone else like that because I lied and especially, by that time, I was starting to realize, we didn’t do this.”
Erickson filed three petitions to wave his guilty plea in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
All three times, Erickson’s lawyer, Landon Magnusson, filed a writ of habeas corpus, to show he was wrongfully detained. Read more >>