Dateline | November 30, 2012
for always. toy sfx: more you know. old buildings where it's quivering news which is how it was in 2012 in the county courthouse in jefferson city , missouri.3 f2 sentencia y el veredicto cambie
>> reporter: to prove ryan was gone from the neighborhood where the murder occurred, his attorney called this new witness who said she remembered seeing ryan and chuck leave the by george bar in ryan 's car at closing time , 1:30, just as ryan had always claimed.
>> after they said good-bye, they walked straight to the car and got in it and drove away.
>> reporter: zellner also called that reporter, michael boyd . she didn't exactly accuse boud of anything but wanted to get him on the record of two things, that police failed to investigate him and that his own story put him with heitholt exactly at or very near the time of the murder.
>> and at no point do you submit dna?
>> no, ma'am.
>> okay. and no one checks either of your cars, is that right?
>> that's right, no one.
>> reporter: boyd never was and is not now a suspect and told "dateline" he did not commit the crime. but boyd wasn't the centerpiece of the hearing. this man was. chuck erickson who here in this room for the first time since the trial came face to face with the man he put in prison.
>> this testimony that he made up during the trial took my life and, you know, is crazy to believe that, you know, his testimony now could give my life back.
>> reporter: in his most recent videotaped statement, remember chuck took responsibility for the murder but still said ryan had been there. what will he say this time?
>> do you remember killing mr. heitholt?
>> no. i never have.
>> reporter: as he spoke, it became perfectly clear , his story had changed. again. now chuck was saying he has no memory at all of what he and ryan did halloween night after they left the bar. and more important, he never did remember.
>> i lied and said i remembered things i didn't remember and said he did stuff that i don't remember him doing or me doing.
>> reporter: how can he not know?
>> reporter: committing a murder, how can you not know?
>> that is a very baffling thing to myself and everyone, i think. he was asleep that night, and i dropped him off at home.
>> reporter: why should anybody believe chuck now versus then?
>> that is a good question. i think to believe chuck erickson now or at any point in time, you need to look at the evolution of this story.
>> reporter: in fact, in court, attorney zellner replayed the interrogation video to prove chuck 's new story really wasn't new at all. it was exactly what chuck told those policemen the very first time he talked to them.
>> it's just so foggy. like i could just be sitting here fabricating all this and not know. like i don't know.
>> reporter: so chuck 's confession, said zellner, was pure fiction. a confused young man parroting back information an overzealous interrogator fed him. just one example, the murder weapon.
>> and he was pulling up on the belt.
>> reporter: so confident during the trial it was a belt. but during his interrogation, he seemed to have no idea. so they told him.
>> no, i think it was a shirt or something.
>> well, i know it wasn't a shirt.
>> like maybe a bungee cord , something from his car. i don't see why he'd have a rope in his car.
>> well, we know for a fact that his belt was ripped off of his pants.
>> did you see a belt in ryan 's hand, something that looked like a rope or a bungee cord ?
>> i don't know.
>> reporter: and when his memory continued to be foggy --
>> now, you'd better start thinking very clearly.
>> because it's you that is on this chopping block .
>> am i clear?
>> to you?
>> reporter: why did you play that little piece of interrogation?
>> because it shows the tremendous pressure he was under. when charles erickson has explained, i don't have a memory of this, i don't want to hear any of that, it's basically you're going to have a memory of it. i'm going to tell you what the memory is. i mean, he's right in his face.
>> reporter: so, said zellner, the story chuck is telling now that his memory is and was blank is the only one that makes any sense.
>> if you had not been involved in the murder, why did you want to interject yourself into the murder?
>> i -- i mean, at the time, i was thinking that, you know, i was blacked out, you know. i was a couple blocks away. the picture in the paper looks like me. somebody's saying i'm a murderer.
>> reporter: she told the judge she didn't want his mistake to take away ryan 's life, too.
>> i don't want to die, you know, knowing that i did the
>> reporter: but would the judge believe chuck 's latest story? attorney zellner knew chuck was not exactly credible. so she had one more card ready to play. quite literally, the trump card . remember that night janitor at the newspaper, the man who pointed an accusing finger at ryan during his 2005 trial, jerry trump?
>> reporter: now zellner asks trump a simple question. how in heaven's name was he able to conclusively identify ryan as the young man he saw in an unlit parking lot years earlier? here it came, a startling accusation. jerry trump said he was just doing what he thought the prosecutor wanted.
>> he said, we're fairly sure we have the two guys that killed mr. heitholt, and we need you to identify them. and he was pointing to a newspaper at that time.
>> reporter: and so when trump pointed at ryan , said "he's the guy," it was a lie.
>> and when you pointed to ryan ferguson in the courtroom and you said, that's the person you saw at the columbia tribune parking lot , was that true or false?
>> so are you testifying with the understanding that by telling this testimony, you could be charged with perjury?
>> yes, i am.
>> do you anticipate or want anything for doing this?
>> yes. i'd like to have forgiveness from ryan . and his family.
>> reporter: the prosecutor in question creaategorically denied his trump. said he didn't want anyone else to lie, but the moment was so compelling that ryan 's attorney said she had no further questions, let the emotion hang in the air for a moment while the state waited patiently to tear the latest version of chuck erickson 's story apart.
>>> coming up --
>> i'm sorry, what was that? you didn't remember it being a murder?
>> stirring arguments from the prosecutor. and then --
>> this could be it.
>> this could be it, yeah.
>> a dramatic ruling from the