Why Timothy Masters Is Back in the Courtroom

August 2009

masters-thenTimothy Masters was back in court on Tuesday for the first time since he gained his freedom last year, after spending nine years behind bars for the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick, which he didn't commit. "It was good to walk through this door instead of a dungeon basement like I did in county," Masters tells CBS4. "It also brings back bad memories of sitting in a courtroom with handcuffs and shackles." Masters is suing the deputy district attorneys who prosecuted him---Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair, both now judges in Fort Collins: "I would like to see them accept responsibility for their mistakes." But it is unclear whether that will happen. Gilmore and Blair claim they are protected against lawsuits because of government immunity laws and say the case should be dismissed. But Masters argues in his suit that Gilmore and Blair fabricated evidence and withheld exculpatory information to win a conviction. U.S. Senior District Judge Lewis T. Babcock is expected to issue a written ruling at a later date, according to The Denver Post. A special judge concluded last year that Masters didn't receive a fair trial and overturned his conviction, based in part on DNA evidence pointing to another suspect, writes the Fort Collins Coloradoan. On Friday, Babcock dismissed a similar case against two other entities that Masters sued: Larimer County and the County Board of Commissioners (via the Loveland Reporter-Herald).