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Ex-prosecutor denies telling witnesses what to say

Joe Gratz


A Missouri judge denies telling witnesses what they needed to say when he was a prosecutor pursuing a conviction in the 2001 murder of a newspaper editor.

Boone County Circuit Judge Kevin Crane was testifying Thursday in Cole County court during a hearing about whether to set aside the conviction and 40-year sentence of Ryan Ferguson in the slaying of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt.

Earlier this week, former newspaper janitor Jerry Trump testified that Crane and a Boone County investigator coached him on how to identify Ferguson and classmate Chuck Erickson as the two men he saw on the night of Heitholt's slaying. Trump now says original testimony was a lie.

Crane said he never told Trump, or any witness, what to say.

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