fter spending nearly a decade in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Timothy Masters walked out of the Larimer County courtroom a free man on Jan. 22, 2008. It’s a story that many in Northern Colorado have become quite familiar with.
On Saturday, the CBS news magazine "48 Hours" will air a special program on the Masters case.
Now, 10 months later, Masters has adjusted to his new life in Greeley. But pieces of his case are still being untangled in Larimer County. Civil suits against current and former Fort Collins police officers and Larimer County prosecutors for wrongful arrest, conviction and imprisonment are pending.
After Masters’ conviction was thrown out, several investigations, including a special investigation by Weld District Attorney Ken Buck, were launched. Most recently, an internal investigation by Fort Collins police cleared Lt. Jim Broderick, the lead investigator on the case, of violating any policies or procedures.
Peggy Hettrick, 37, was stabbed and dumped in a south Fort Collins field on Feb. 11, 1987.
Within hours, police investigators focused on Masters, a 15-year-old high school student who lived in a mobile home next to the field. But it wasn't until 1998 that police arrested him—relying largely on a forensic psychologist's interpretations of his drawings and writings.
The case went to a jury in 1999, and Masters was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But attorneys David Wymore and Maria Liu, in a series of hearings in 2007 and early 2008, unearthed documents that were never turned over to the attorneys who defended Masters at his trial. Those included reports that showed problems with the circumstantial case against Masters.
Those hearings led to the eventual release of Masters.
Fort Collins Now