The lead detective in a botched Fort Collins murder investigation has acknowledged that police knew about evidence that pointed away from the man who was convicted but later exonerated.
In documents filed this week in U.S. District Court, police Lt. James Broderick said hair, clothing of the victim and fingerprints found on her purse didn't belong to Tim Masters.
Masters was convicted of murder in the 1987 death of Peggy Hettrick and served 10 years in prison before he was cleared by advanced DNA testing. Hettrick's slaying remains unsolved.
Broderick denied allegations in a lawsuit filed by Masters that prosecutors or investigators destroyed the evidence.
"Mr. Broderick admits workable latent fingerprints were found in Hettrick's purse that were not plaintiff's," said the document filed in response to Masters' lawsuit, which claims the physical evidence did not belong to either Hettrick or Masters. "Mr. Broderick admits the hair (on her clothing) could not be determined to have come from plaintiff."
Broderick's response was one of five filed since Friday in Masters' lawsuit, which claims prosecutors and investigators ignored, withheld or destroyed evidence that pointed to his innocence.
"I was surprised that they admitted that much," said Masters' attorney, David Lane. "We always believed that that was true."