A Fort Collins Police Detective accused of perjury in a case that led to the wrongful conviction of Tim Masters has resigned.
An Associated Press report says that Lt. James Broderick resigned to pursue other opportunities and that the resignation was not forced. Police Chief John Hutto also added that the internal investigation into Broderick's actions has been suspended.
Broderick was accused of lying in court in order to secure a murder conviction against Masters for the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick, whose case still remains unsolved today.
Thirty-seven-year-old Hettrick had been murdered near Masters' home in Fort Collins and despite the lack of any physical evidence linking him to the crime, he emerged as the only suspect and was charged with first-degree murder in 1998.
Masters spent almost a decade in prison and lost two appeals before his defense team was granted hearings for a new trial in 2007. The hearings found that DNA found on Hettrick's body did not match Masters' DNA.
Unknown fingerprints had been found in Hettrick's purse, as well as unidentifiable hair, evidence that is now unaccountable for and Masters said had been withheld.
The Masters case became the most famous wrongful conviction case in Colorado, resulted in the removal of judges Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair from the bench, formally prosecutors on the case, 9-charges of perjury for Fort Collins Police official Lt. Jim Broderick, and a $10 million settlement for Masters. The case also won five of Masters's attorneys the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Case of the Year award this year, shortly before Masters was officially exonerated.
What made the case particularly difficult, was that after his conviction Masters's attorneys found that police had not given his original defense team all of the documents from the investigation, known as discovery. The missing discovery plus new DNA evidence resulted in a judge's conclusion that Masters had not been given a fair trial and overturned his conviction.
"This case wasn't that hard," post-conviction attorney Wymore said. "If you would have turned over that 8,000 pages of discovery...That's a problem. When the prosecution and the court do not issue enough sanction to have a reliable trial process."
Masters told the room that today he continues his favorite hobby, working on cars, and he will release a book sometime next year detailing the case, but that he is just happy to get on with his life.
"I had years in prison to be bitter and angry over what they had done to me," Masters said. "And when I got out, the best revenge is to try and live as good a life as I can now. Not let them have any more of my life than they already have, you know. "
In 2011, a Weld County district judge dismissed an indictment against Broderick saying the statute of limitations had expired.
Fort Collins and Larimer County agreed to pay Masters $10 million to settle lawsuits alleging officials ignored, withheld or destroyed evidence pointing to his innocence. Last year a documentary titled "Blackstone's Equation," for the English jurist William Blackstone who said, "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," chronicled the Masters case.
Broderick has been on paid administrative leave since 2010.