Tim Masters was freed today after spending nine years in prison when DNA evidence was found that pointed to other suspects in the murder of Peggy Hettrick. Masters was 15 at the time Hettrick’s mutilated body was found in a field in Fort Collins, Colorado, February 1987. He was jailed in 1998 and convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1999.
But possible misconduct by police and prosecutors meant evidence that could have exonerated Masters was withheld from his defense attorneys. Now, that evidence, along with DNA that points to three other possible suspects, has moved the court to vacate the conviction. That doesn’t mean Masters has been declared not guilty, but it does get him out of prison, freed on his own recognizance, and back with his family. While it’s possible the courts could order a new trial, District Attorney Larry Abrahamson says it may be unnecessary to try Masters again and that he’ll decide as quickly as possible whether all charges against Masters will be dismissed.
In a television interview, Masters said he was convicted because of some very big egos. One of his lawyers was more blunt; she said that Masters was framed, plain and simple.
The question remains, if Masters didn’t kill and mutilate Hettrick, who did? And what has that person been doing for the past twenty one years?