GREELEY – The Weld County district attorney is asking a judge to drop all charges against a Fort Collins police detective who was accused of lying during a trial to secure a murder conviction of a man who spent almost 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
District Attorney Ken Buck filed a motion asking a Larimer County judge to drop all charges Friday. The request came after the Colorado Supreme Court this week turned down Buck’s request to review a ruling that threw out some of the charges against Lt. James Broderick.
Broderick was originally charged with nine counts of perjury in the case against Timothy Masters, who was convicted in 1999 of the 1987 murder of Fort Collins resident Peggy Hettrick. Masters was exonerated in 2008 after DNA evidence pointed to a different culprit.
Masters declined to comment about the district attorney’s decision.
In Friday’s motion, Buck said evidence thrown out by a lower court was crucial to his case.
“As a result, it is the conclusion of the district attorney’s office that there no longer exists a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial on the counts which remain in the indictment,” Buck told the court.
Meanwhile, Hettrick’s death remains unsolved.
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled last year there was no conclusive evidence Broderick lied about orange paint near the crime scene because he relied on notes taken during his investigation that noted the paint with a question mark beside it.
Prosecutors had claimed the question mark was evidence Broderick did not believe the paint was orange.
The court also ruled that there was insufficient evidence of perjury over a shoeprint found at the scene just because investigators could not agree on the type of shoeprint.
Masters, who was 15 when Hettrick died, had walked by her body but didn’t immediately tell police. He was convicted in 1999 of killing her despite a lack of physical evidence. Prosecutors cited violent pictures Masters had drawn as evidence against him.
Fort Collins and Larimer County paid Masters a total of $10 million to settle lawsuits claiming that officials mishandled evidence supporting his innocence.
Broderick has been on paid administrative leave since 2010. Fort Collins police spokeswoman Rita Davis says an internal investigation into Broderick’s work is continuing.