Prosecutors: Evidence in Masters case withheld unintentionally |

Prosecutors: Evidence in Masters case withheld unintentionally

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) ” Special prosecutors have concluded police and trial prosecutors did not deliberately withhold evidence that could have helped Timothy Masters’ defense in his murder trial.

Special prosecutor Don Quick, the district attorney from Adams County, filed a report with his findings Friday in Larimer County Court. The report wasn’t required, but Quick said he filed it because a number of issues raised during his investigation remain unaddressed.

Masters was convicted in 1999 in the stabbing and sexual mutilation of Fort Collins resident Peggy Hettrick in 1987, though no physical evidence tied him to the scene. He was freed last month after new DNA test results pointed to another possible suspect, who has not been publicly identified.

State Attorney General John Suthers is now investigating Hettrick’s death at the request of Larimer County District Attorney Larry Abrahamson.

Special prosecutors previously said some information was not turned over to Masters’ defense team during his 1999 trial. Their report said Fort Collins Police Lt. Jim Broderick, who was the lead investigator on the case when it went to trial, did not intentionally hide evidence.

“Openly referring to these items in police reports made available to the defense is not consistent with any intent or attempt to hide them,” the report said.

The law requires prosecutors to turn over evidence even if they are not aware of it, but from a practical standpoint, that can’t be done, said Tom Quammen, an Adams County prosecutor assigned to the case.

Broderick, trial prosecutors Terence Gilmore and Jolene Blair, and Masters’ defense attorneys could not be reached Friday for comment on the report.

Other agencies are still investigating allegations of ethics conflicts and professional misconduct by the prosecutors and Broderick.

The special prosecutors said professional conduct standards prevented Blair and Gilmore from discussing the case.

In fighting for a new trial, Masters’ attorneys had said a surgeon who lived within sight of where Hettrick’s body was found should have been considered an alternate suspect. Quammen said special prosecutors found no evidence to connect Dr. Richard Hammond to the crime.

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