12-19-2011, 12:18 PM #1
CO - Peggy Hettrick, 37, Fort Collins, 11 February 1987
Sunday's Denver Post had an article with lots of details on this interesting cold case from the 1980s. It may be a classic case of investigator tunnel vision. The detectives focused on Tim Masters, a teenager who lived next to the empty field where the body was found. Masters was convicted in a trail that that focused almost entirely on his drawings. There was no physical evidence or a motive connecting him to the crime. After spending 9 years in jail, Masters was exonerated and released.
So who did kill Peggy Hettrick?
12-19-2011, 03:14 PM #2Registered User
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- Jun 2007
This is a pretty good example how the justice system can go astray and an innocent person be convicted. The police interviewed everyone who lived near where the body was found and a 17 year old high School kid named Tim Masters admitted that he saw the body in the morning on his way to school but thought it was a manikin and didn't report it. The police were suspicious of him and got a search warrant. There was absolutely no evidence linking him to the crime but there was a lot of "artwork" that Tim had done that that was of the "blood and gore" type. It included monsters attacking women; that sort of thing. Apparently none of the pictures resembled Hettrick or the types of injuries she suffered but they did indicate a certain "strange fascination" with violence against women even if there was no indication that he had ever "acted out" that interest.
From what I can tell, Tim was not seriously pursued as a suspect until; all the other leads had petered out. Over the years Colorado Dectives traveled to where ever Tim was serving in the Military to "re-question" him. They ran the "artwork" by the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit but no one from they ever testified. . After 10 years, they found a forensic psychologist in private practice who would testify that the "artwork" proved that Tim had some sort of "compulsion" to hurt women. During this period Tim had been living a normal life, first in the Navy then as a civilian aircraft mechanic. Still, he was brought to trial. The psychologist's testimony plus the unlikelihood of mistaking a body for a manikin was the only evidence introduced at the trial. He was convicted.
The appeals courts eventually found that serious errors were made in introducing the psychological evidence but it wasn't serious enough to overrule the conviction. Eventually a second round of appeals leads the courts to throw out the conviction based on the fact that exculpatory evidence was not given to defense attorneys. (An example was fingerprints were found in Hettricks purse that suggested that someone had been "pawing through it”. The investigators were unable to identify those prints. The defense was not informed that the prints existed)
The defense then arranged for "touch" DNA testing. DNA of a former boyfriend who had hugged and kissed her that night as well as some unidentified DNA was found, but Tim's was not found. This didn't exactly exonerate Tim but it hard to imagine that someone stabbed a woman, dragged he body 30' into the brush and then performed mutilation, would not have left some DNA. The ex-boyfriend had a pretty good alibi but one of the unidentified DNAs probably belonged to the killer.
A Judge threw out the conviction and the state choose to not retry (i.e. drop all charges) and Tim received settlements of $10 Million. One of the detectives is now charged with perjury in the case and is awaiting trial. Two DA's on the case, which later became judges, were censured for failing to turn over required evidence to the defense. The case became the major issue in their re-election bids and both lost.
The situation has become a big story in Colorado. It has become a huge expense to the city of Ft Collins Detectives involved in the case still insist that he is guilty
12-19-2011, 04:07 PM #3
Thanks for the response, kemo.
I think Masters was the prime suspect from the start. A few minutes from the interview of Tim Masters conducted shortly after the murder should make that clear.
Raw Video: Cop grills 15-year-old Tim Masters - YouTube
The blood on the curb and the drag marks are consistent with a dead or dying victim being pulled from a car and dumped. The lack of signs that she was attacked where the blood trail stars doesn't fit with the idea of Masters attacking her while she walked down the street.
The Denver Post mentioned serial killer Scott Lee Kimball as a possible suspect. He had mutilated a victim in a similar manner and was known to have been in Fort Collins around that time.
Last edited by OkieGranny; 04-16-2015 at 01:49 AM. Reason: fixed broken link
12-24-2011, 10:37 PM #4What can you do?
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- Dec 2011
Watching the 48 hour mystery, it is sickening what the police did here.
01-10-2012, 03:43 PM #5
Most heartbreaking. The police departments here in Colorado sure have a lousy track record.
02-17-2016, 03:36 AM #6Registered User
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- Oct 2014
29 years later: The cold case that haunts Fort Collins
Hettrick, an artistic redhead who worked at the nearby Fashion Bar ladies specialty store, was stabbed in the back one time — the wound that killed her — and sexually mutilated. Her body was dragged from the west curb at the 3700 block of Landings Drive through the prairie grass, staining it with her blood. Her purse still hung from her shoulder. Her jewelry was all in place, a wide gold bracelet around her wrist, her nails perfectly manicured with pink polish.
It was a gruesome crime — one that lingers in the shadows of Fort Collins history. And we still don't know who did it.Explore the unsolved 1987 homicide of Peggy Hettrick, and resulting wrongful conviction of Tim Masters, with the Coloradoan's four-episode podcast, "People v. Masters: Making a Murderer in Fort Collins.
The podcast's first episode is now available on Coloradoan.com, with the remaining episodes to be released each subsequent day. The series will also eventually be available on iTunes.
02-17-2016, 05:17 PM #7
Was just coming to post that JWBS. Thanks!Unless I provide a link, every one of my posts are to be considered rumor, Speculation, or simply MY OWN OPINION.
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