Peggy Hettrick's killer has enjoyed 21 years of freedom since that February night when he - and possibly an accomplice - murdered and mutilated her, leaving her body in a field. At times he must have marveled at his good fortune, and yet he never truly realized how lucky he was.
The killer couldn't know, for example, that police and prosecutors focused from the outset on a boy living near the crime scene who had a disturbing fascination with violent imagery; that they would give short shrift to other murder theories and continue to pursue that suspect after he'd grown; that they'd team with a forensic psychologist whose arrogant confidence in his ability to identify a probable murderer would propel them into the final mistake of arresting and charging Tim Masters with the crime.
The killer would almost certainly have heard of Masters' trial, but even then he could not have appreciated the full extent of his luck. Among other things, he wouldn't realize that Masters' defense was crippled by prosecutorial misconduct - its failure to share information that might have been used on the defendant's behalf.
Rocky Mountain News