Testimony Of Key Witness Calls Murder Conviction Into Question

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A convicted killer in jail for 20 years argued on Wednesday that she deserved a new trial after the man who served as Franklin County's chief toxicologist was accused of lying on the stand.

Defense attorneys argue that in 1990, James Ferguson lied in court, 10TV's Maureen Kocot reported.

Ferguson was a key witness when a Licking County jury convicted Virginia LeFever of poisoning her husband, William LeFever.

LeFever has always maintained her innocence, and her lawyers filed a motion seeking a new trial claiming that Ferguson, who served as Franklin County's head toxicologist for 26 years, lied about his qualifications hundreds of times, Kocot reported.

Licking County Prosecutor Ken Oswalt said that Ferguson had barely completed his Bachelor's degree before he testified in LeFever's case.

"My first impression was it was probably some error in the paperwork," Oswalt said. "It pains me even having to deal with this."

Ferguson told jurors he graduated from The Ohio State University in 1972, but university records reveal he did not earn his degree until 1988, Kocot reported.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are reviewing the LeFever murder conviction, but a new trial has not yet been granted.

Ferguson pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of falsification and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Ferguson did not want to speak to 10TV News.

Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he did not believe any Franklin County cases would be impacted.

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