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As of yesterday, Timothy Masters, who was wrongfully convicted in 1999 of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick, is a multi-millionaire. The city of Fort Collins has settled Masters’ civil rights lawsuit, paying him $5.9 million but also admitting no wrongdoing. And despite the money, including millions more from Larimer County, Masters remains angry about all those years he spent in jail, until DNA evidence overturned his conviction in 2008. “They’re just trying to cover their ass,” Masters tells the Fort Collins Coloradoan. “It frustrates me they won’t admit they screwed up.” City Manager Darin Atteberry (pictured), who points out that $1.575 million will come from city reserves and the remainder from the city’s insurance carrier, is adamant that the settlement is not intended as a recognition that the city did anything wrong in Masters’ case (via 7News).
Atteberry says local officials investigated the Hettrick murder in “good faith,” and that the “decision to settle the case is strictly a business decision that reflects the financial realities and risks of proceeding to trial.” David Lane, Masters’ attorney, feels otherwise. He’d like to see district judges Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair, both censured in connection to the case, along with Lieutenant Jim Broderick, investigated for perjury, reports Westword. “I hope that the wrongdoers in this case–and I refer to judges Gilmore and Blair, as well as Detective Broderick—receive justice,” Lane says.
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