Tim Masters Gets $4.1 Million for Wrongful Conviction

Larimer County, Colorado has agreed to pay Tim Masters $4.1 million for the ten years he spent in prison, wrongfully accused and convicted of murder.

Masters was 15 when Fort Collins, Colorado, police began investigating him in the murder of 37-year-old Peggy Hettrick, who was found murdered and sexually mutilated in a field near Masters' family home. He was convicted largely on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of an expert witness who said he fit the profile of a sexual predator.

Two prosecutors, Terrence Gilmore and Jolene Blair, were found to have withheld exculpatory evidence. Both are now judges, and opposed the settlement, saying they didn't have a chance to defend themselves. [More...]

As for who's paying:

$3 million dollars will come from the county's insurance company. The remaining $1.1 million will come out if the county's Risk Management Fund.

In a statement released through his attorney, Masters said:

I would gladly have paid $10 million, or whatever it took, if I could get those years of my life back. Unfortunately, that can never happen,"

His lawsuit against the City of Fort Collins is still pending. DNA cleared Masters in 2008 and a judge ordered his release. Masters is the first person in Colorado freed through DNA evidence.

The testing showed skin-cell DNA in the victim's underwear matched the genetic profile of an "alternate suspect."

Masters is attempting to rebuild his broken life.

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  • Display: Sort:
    No enough (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by TomStewart on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 01:53:35 AM EST
    Not nearly enough. Money won't give him back the years, and a payout won't punish those responsible, all of whom seem to think they did nothing wrong.

    Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (none / 0) (#1)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 06:16:11 PM EST
    sure looks pretty shaky.....

    2nd to last link (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 06:58:01 PM EST
    mind bending.

    What the cop considered "evidence/proof" in this case leaves me speechless.

    Ken Starr is on my TV (none / 0) (#3)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 09:50:07 PM EST
    saying, "I wish the impeachment trial hadn't taken so long."

    I'm speechless.

    If nothing shady went down... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:03:05 PM EST
    he wouldn't have gotten a damn thing...and the perps will not be held accountable.  This will not upset the law-n-order crowd, these "mistakes" are acceptable and to be forgiven...but nobody elses.

    As far as I'm concerned (none / 0) (#5)
    by nycstray on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 10:57:41 PM EST
    if these 'mistakes' are going to happen and be accepted by the law and order crowd, please let it happen to them.

    There was just so much wrong with what went down, it's scary.


    prosecute the "perps" (none / 0) (#17)
    by diogenes on Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 01:20:09 PM EST
    The law and order crowd is delighted to prosecute the RARE case of withheld evidence, if only to show how rare it is compared to such things as defendants withholding evidence/lying.  
    I hope that the money goes into a trust fund.  Prosecutors who manipulate evidence usually do it when the suspect is a known troubled person with past priors or a street reputation. The history of the lives of big lottery winners who were formerly poor is littered with rapid rises and falls.

    so the prosecuters (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 04:52:51 AM EST
    get off scott free as well as the murderer they let go free?

    They become judges that will allow the same (none / 0) (#9)
    by republicratitarian on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 08:35:58 AM EST
    injustices to occur.

    Was this person (none / 0) (#10)
    by Makarov on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:31:47 PM EST
    covered in a Frontline/other PBS documentary about juveniles being sentenced to life without parole?


    Apparently not, but I'm almost sure I saw some PBS or other tv show on this case.

    48 Hours (none / 0) (#15)
    by daring grace on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 03:14:09 PM EST
    They have a video of some of the original police interrogation of young Masters on their web site.

    People found to have (none / 0) (#11)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:47:51 PM EST
    willfully withheld exculpatory evidence are still allowed to be judges in this country?

    How is that not a crime?

    Someone explain how that works.

    Google says: (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 12:59:23 PM EST
    A separate investigation of police and prosecutor conduct by a special prosecutor found no criminal wrongdoing.

    Never a good recipe for transparency and accountability.

    Or democracy (none / 0) (#14)
    by jondee on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 02:14:14 PM EST
    or positive change..or any change at all.

    not great (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jen M on Wed Feb 17, 2010 at 04:22:17 PM EST
    PR either. Even if the powers that investigate the powers put forth their best most honest effort, it will not be seen as legitimate by many. (including me)