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.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New DNA evidence found in Hettrick case - The Denver Post

New DNA evidence found in Hettrick case - The Denver Post

Investigators have found new DNA evidence in the murder of Peggy Hettrick, a case that was considered closed until genetic evidence freed a man who spent 10 years in prison, according to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

The "touch DNA" tests weren't available in the late 1990s. Timothy Masters was convicted of murder in Hettrick's death in 1999, but his conviction was overturned in 2008 after defense lawyers used advanced DNA testing to uncover evidence suggesting a different suspect.

The new evidence was taken from Hettrick's clothing.

"We have done 'touch DNA,' and I think it has moved the ball forward. We will know more in the future," Suthers said.

He wouldn't say whose DNA was found or identify

Masters has not been exonerated in the case and remains a suspect.

"While we are not in a position to exonerate Tim at this time, I emphasize that he is presumed innocent and is no more a suspect than a variety of other people," Suthers said.

Masters, who was 15 when Het trick's mutilated body was found in a Fort Collins field in 1987, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

Masters told the Coloradoan on Friday that he is waiting to be formally exonerated by the investigation.

"Until they come out and exonerate me, I flat-out won't talk to the guys," he told the newspaper, which published a story Sunday.

Suthers said he has no timetable for the case.

"We are moving as quickly as we can," he said. "We have interviewed dozens of people."

The attorney general's office has spent about $100,000 on the DNA work, done by a Dutch company, Independent Forensic Services, Suthers said. The company also found the touch-DNA evidence that freed Masters.

Masters' attorneys discovered that prosecutors and Detective Jim Broderick concealed evidence that would have aided Masters at his trial.

At the request of District Attorney Larry Abrahamson, Gov. Bill Ritter asked the attorney general to take over the Hettrick investigation.

Larimer County and the city of Fort Collins agreed earlier this year to pay $10 million to settle a federal civil-rights suit filed by Masters, who alleged detectives and prosecutors maliciously targeted him and destroyed or withheld evidence that could have cleared him.

Broderick has been indicted on eight felony perjury counts. He has denied wrongdoing.

The two lead prosecutors who tried Masters, Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore, agreed in 2008 to censures by the state Supreme Court, which said they "failed to act with reasonable diligence" in carrying out their duties. Both are now district court judges up for retention elections in November.

Read more: New DNA evidence found in Hettrick case - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16119844#ixzz104iBbviu

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