The Denver Post reported today that Colorado prosecutors are planning to drop murder charges against Tim Masters, who was released on Tuesday due to DNA evidence of his innocence. Masters was convicted in 1989 of a murder 12 years earlier near his teenage home. He was 15 at the time of the murder and was questioned vigorously by detectives but not charged at the time. He would be charged and convicted a dozen years later partly based on his violent high school drawings.
The news follows a week of "round-the-clock" meetings between the DA and law-enforcement officials, including Adams County special prosecutor Don Quick, in which Abrahamson and his advisers have determined that not enough viable evidence exists to prove Masters killed Peggy Hettrick in 1987.
The DA also is considering whether to ask state Attorney General John Suthers to take over directing the criminal investigation to find Hettrick's killer, a process that has delayed an announcement.
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. (Denver Post, 01/25/08)
The Innocence Project has worked with Colorado officials during recent months on legislation aimed at improving evidence preservation in the state. If evidence from the crime scene in Masters’ case was not preserved, he would still be in prison today, and in dozens of other Colorado cases, potentially exculpatory evidence has already been destroyed.
Several Colorado lawmakers have announced plans to introduce preservation legislation this year