One of the men, Charles Erickson, confessed to the crime, and, likely in exchange for a lighter sentence, implicated a friend, Ryan Ferguson. Ferguson, who maintained his innocence, was sentenced in 2005 to 40 years in prison. Erickson got 25 years.
Part of the case against Ferguson was based on testimony from alleged eyewitness, Jerry Trump. Trump was in prison at the time he identified Ferguson:
At the evidentiary hearing, Trump said Kevin Crane, then chief prosecutor and now a 13th Circuit Judge, called him while in prison and said it would be "helpful" for him to identify Ferguson and Erickson.
Crane's investigator Bill Haws talked to Trump while he was still in prison and also interviewed Barbara Trump. The prosecution is legally obligated to disclose all interviews to the defense attorneys. Haws did not file a report on these interviews and therefore Crane didn't necessarily know they took place, according to the opinion.
I would guarantee Crane knew all about it. As prosecutor, Crane was quite ambitious and wanted convictions at any cost. I had a little personal experience with Crane's office, so maybe I'm not too objective. I come near to hating those bastards. Because of the misconduct by Crane and his team and because there was no real evidence to link Ferguson to the killing, his conviction has, at long last, been overturned. This sounds fairly typical:
Chuck Erickson and Jerry Trump are the two witnesses who recanted their testimonies.
Erickson had been partying with Ryan Ferguson the night of the murder and in 2004 started having dreams that the two committed the killing. They were underage but had been drinking at a local club. Erickson also admitted to using cocaine, Adderall and marijuana that night.
Erickson received a 25-year sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.
In 2009, Erickson taped a sworn statement that he committed the robbery and murder alone. Erickson testified at the 2012 evidentiary hearing that he had no memory of the killing whatsoever.
Trump, a janitor at the Columbia Daily Tribune at the time, saw two men the night of the killing and testified at the original trial that one of them was Ryan Ferguson. He recanted his testimony at the evidentiary hearing, stating he only identified Ryan Ferguson because he thought it was what the prosecutor, Kevin Crane, wanted. (Links are from the original. Emphasis added by me.)
I suspect that is what Kevin Crane wanted, maybe because he is a despicable SOB.
An innocent man -- a kid, really -- has lost nearly a decade of his life to a prosecutor who just wanted one more scalp on his belt. I am confident that Kevin Crane and the other attorneys in his office at the time will never suffer much in this world for what they have done. I am also confident that some bright day all these creeps who think nothing of ruining a few innocent lives in their quest for position and power will have to face a righteous Judge who has all the evidence in hand.