Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Revisiting a Conviction - Tim Masters

The evidence doesn't add up to the conviction of Tim Masters. Read the story, watch the video.
DNA unravels the prosecutions story. Doodles made by a 15 year old shouldn't convict him of murder.

Somewhere between the spot where Peggy Hettrick was abducted and the Fort Collins field where her partially clad body was dumped, her killer would have shed pieces of himself, mothlike.

As he pulled her through the grass that dark morning on Feb. 11, 1987, his skin cells could have sloughed off onto her black coat. A strand of his hair could have hooked onto her shoes. A sneeze could have dampened her blouse.

This is the law of forensic science: When two people come into contact, they leave cells on each other.

But in the Hettrick murder case, authorities strayed from this law by losing some of these biological relics and destroying evidence linked to a prominent doctor they never investigated for the

Sketchy Evidence

  • Watch video of what jurors and the public didn't know at the time of the Tim Masters trial.
crime. In doing so, they may have covered the killer's genetic tracks.

This happened in Fort Collins, where a detective clung to his belief that a 15-year-old boy committed the crime, despite no physical evidence. In a county where prosecutors opposed saving DNA, let alone testing it. In a state where the law doesn't create a duty to preserve forensic evidence.

The result, as believed by three former Fort Collins police detectives and a former Colorado Bureau of Investigation director: An innocent man goes to prison for life, and the real killer moves on.

"It eats me up," says Linda Wheeler, one of the officers. "I've put people in prison for murder. I make people accountable for crimes they've committed. But I've felt we have two victims here. One is in a jail cell in Buena Vista

Denver Post