Tim Masters Freed

Bump and Update: Tim Masters was freed from prison today, 9 1/2 years after his conviction for a murder he did not commit.

Lots more below.

Bump and Update: The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News are live-blogging the hearing on the release of Tim Masters which just got underway in Fort Collins, Colorado. 9News is streaming the hearing live here. [Update: Hearing now over.]

Original Post 1/21/08
Tim Masters to be Freed Tomorrow

Masters will be freed from prison tomorrow after serving 9 1/2 years for a murder he didn't commit. [More...]

On Friday, the special prosecutor in the case dropped a bombshell when he announced that skin-cell DNA on the victim's clothes matched the genetic profile of an "alternate suspect." Sources said the DNA matched that of one of the victim's boyfriends.

Contrats to former public defender and DNA expert David Wymore, who joined Masters' defense in 2004 and Maria Liu and the rest of the defense team.

Here's the story of the sketchy evidence in the case. Here's a video of an interview with Masters asking what he intends to do when he's freed.

9 1/2 years for a crime he didn't commit. Shameful.

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  • Display: Sort:
    What a horrible story (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by DA in LA on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 11:17:17 AM EST
    This detective with the bizarre fixation should be punished, in some way.

    That article reads like a screenplay.

    I was wondering when you'd blog this (none / 0) (#1)
    by magster on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:21:42 PM EST
    This story is another stark reminder of the need to abolish the death penalty (even though this was not a death penalty case).

    I'm at least glad that the DA quickly confirmed the DNA results with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to end this injustice.

    Why was the DNA not tested for (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:26:31 PM EST
    purposes of the trial?

    27 ?!? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:45:46 PM EST
    That man is 27? He looks like he's over 40. Prison apparently ages one dramatically.

    And that's just the outside..... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:49:00 PM EST
    can't imagine what is does to the soul...especially an innocent one.

    especially a 15 year old one (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:22:21 PM EST
    Hey Kdog, will be in NY this week with my daughter and wife, will email to see if we can meet for cofee..

    Do it up bro..... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 08:48:38 AM EST
    That would be really cool.

    dates (none / 0) (#5)
    by eric on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:53:46 PM EST
    The dates and photos don't match up.  He was 15 when the crime was committed in 1987.  That would make him 36 or so now.  I think the confusion is that he wasn't convicted of the crime until 1999.  It was a cold case for some time.

    Yes, according to the AP: (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 03:23:41 PM EST
    Masters, 35, is expected to be set free on a personal recognizance bond on Tuesday.

    Yes, they didn't charge him (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:52:55 AM EST
    for years.

    This makes me feel sick to my stomach: (none / 0) (#7)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 03:30:24 PM EST
    As a result of hearings over the past year and the special prosecutor's new investigation, authorities have already admitted the original prosecutors and investigators failed to turn over key evidence to Masters' defense team during the trial as required by standard court procedure.

    Thin Blue Line II (none / 0) (#8)
    by jondee on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 03:52:55 PM EST
    And, as the feller said: "Meanwhile all the criminals in their coats and their ties are free to drink martinis and watch the sunrise."

    getting the right guy (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jen M on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 05:41:35 PM EST
    is completely irrelevant

    You only have to get someone you can convict, that way you can be 'tough on crime' finding the person who actually did the crime just too hard. why bother.


    "Prosecution 101" (none / 0) (#18)
    by Rojas on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 06:40:58 PM EST
    Is how the clintons refered to it.

    piltdown (none / 0) (#9)
    by chemoelectric on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:04:58 PM EST
    So much of our justice is Piltdown justice, if you know what I mean.

    Idiots (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:06:29 PM EST
    Par for the course. Another case where personal ambition trumps justice. There should be a check for this sort of stuff, loss of pension, jail time, exclusion from police work for life?

    42 U.S.C. section 1983 (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:18:40 PM EST
    I hope (none / 0) (#13)
    by Nowonmai on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:31:46 PM EST
    He nails their monetary hides to the wall. This isn't being mercenary. It seems to be the only sort of punishment these miscreants who manipulate and abuse the law understand.

    Civil Liabilities (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:47:29 PM EST
    How often do these cases result in a guilty verdict? Are there criminal liabilities as well? Somehow I doubt that this kind of blatant misconduct ever gets punished. Blue wall and all.

    Possibility of civil monetary (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:58:07 PM EST
    judgment against law enforcement officers and their public entity employer, and individual liability exposure for punitive damages.

    yeah, (none / 0) (#22)
    by cpinva on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 12:02:42 AM EST
    good luck with that. he'll be old and gray, before he ever sees a dime, if he ever does. most likely, all attempts to sue will be dismissed by the state courts, citing immunity.

    the state has a compelling interest, both fiscal and judicial, in quashing any and all suits of this nature: they would otherwise be bankrupted, and have much greater difficulty hiring people.


    Rewards For Incompetence (none / 0) (#15)
    by grandmaj on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:51:56 PM EST
    An article in the Denver Post says the two prosecutors, Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair are now judges.  So I guess crime does pay.

    This post got me googling... (none / 0) (#21)
    by garyb50 on Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 01:58:59 PM EST
    ... and I found this: "Between 1973 and May 2007, 124 inmates on death row have been exonerated and freed." (in the USA) I thought it was interesting that only 12 were due to DNA evidence.

    Does anyone know a site that gives statistics for exonerations for all crimes? I obviously kept using the wrong search terms and couldn't find anything.


    It's over 200 (none / 0) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 01:55:06 AM EST
    that have been freed by DNA Testing. See the Innocence Project's press release from last April.

    In a way, he was one of the lucky ones (none / 0) (#25)
    by Nowonmai on Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 06:17:13 AM EST
    Have you read how many didn't have the good fortune to be able to have their cases reopened, or DNA evidence tested whether due to money, not enough publicity, or following the exact letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it? (one man executed because his last appeal was filed a few days before the DNA evidence was discovered)

    Equal Justice USA is a grassroots project of the Quixote Center that mobilizes and educates ordinary citizens around issues of crime and punishment in the U.S. Our work brings into public focus the racial, economic and political biases that permeate our legal system.


    DNA data bases (none / 0) (#26)
    by diogenes on Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 08:06:14 PM EST
    All the more reason for ALL of us to submit our DNA to a data base-so that the guilty can be caught and the innocent freed.