A YOUNG MAN CONFESSES HE AND HIS FRIEND COMMITTED MURDER, BUT WAS IT JUST A DREAM? -- "48 HOURS MYSTERY," SATURDAY, FEB. 18
Kent Heitholt, the popular sports editor of The Daily Tribune in Columbia, Mo., was found bludgeoned and strangled near his car on Halloween night 2001. Two years later, police received the tip they longed for in the notorious unsolved case: 19-year-old Charles "Chuck" Erickson was overheard admitting that he and his friend committed the crime. A close friend says Erickson told him he had a dream about the crime and his involvement. Did they really do it, or did Erickson just have a bad dream? Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports for 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Dream Killer," to be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 18 (10:00 -- 11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Erickson admits killing Heitholt, but says he had no memory of it for two years. What's more, one of Erickson's friends says Erickson told him that his role in the murder came back to him in a dream.
Erickson tells police about the crime and that he had an accomplice: his high school friend, Ryan Ferguson. He explains that he and Ferguson were out drinking the night of the murder and, when they ran out of money, they decided to rob someone. The two young men approached Heitholt, Erickson says, and things quickly got out of hand.
Police have Erickson's videotaped confession, but what's troubling is that Erickson seems confused about some of the details of the murder: he doesn't know where the crime took place until police show him and he doesn't remember how Heitholt was strangled until the police tell him. As Erickson hesitates and falters during questioning, the police appear to feed him more and more information about the murder.
Prosecutor Kevin Crane believes the case was difficult to solve because no one was looking for two upper-middle-class high school students. Both Erickson and Ferguson are taken into custody and charged with murder. Ferguson adamantly denies having anything to do with the murder and there is no physical evidence to tie him -- or Erickson -- to the crime.
Four years after Heitholt's death, Ferguson stands trial for first-degree murder. The state's star witness is Ferguson's former friend, Erickson, whose memory of that night is now quite improved. Will the jurors believe Erickson's memories of the crime are real or something implanted by the police?
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Dream Killer" is produced by Gail Zimmerman and Chuck Stevenson. The senior producer is Judy Tygard and the executive producer is Susan Zirinsky.